Prime Inc CDL Training Diary - Orientation, Local PSD, TNT Training

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J Johns's Comment
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2.14.2016, Sunday 7pm, Pre-trip with Mr.L.D. mostly in the shed rather than at the truck, except when quizzing us. I evaluated as test-ready on my 2nd, 3rd, & 4th portions of the Pre-trip: coupling, trailer & lights. I had been evaluated as test-ready on the engine compartment early the previous week. Then Mr.D.B. drove us to the Sim lab for more practice. This was mine & my partner's most difficult evening, hands-down. I hit & killed a mostly-concealed running kid while I was going 4mph through a psychotically busy 4-way stop. Knowing better than to be flippant, I soberly admitted my mistake to our instructor so he could reset me to another scenario. Then when busily surrounded by *maddeningly stupid* drivers on the freeway I missed a low-clearance sign and scalped myself. Next, when having trouble down-shifting correctly, I started going too fast and nearly slid off of an iced-over suspension bridge without railings. My partner seems to have done none of those awful things, managing to drive safely the whole time, then had a devil of a time completing four 45° backs in a row.

2.15.2016, Monday 7pm, we practiced backing with Mr.T.W. We practiced all the maneuvers we had already done, again & again. Next, my third time driving, again with The One Whose Name Rhymes With Leprechaun. I'd like to say that I did better than ever but actually, the things that used to be small problems had become bigger problems and were holding me back enough to frustrate rather a lot. Lastly, we did more backing but with Mr.D.W. who taught us how to do an alley-dock. I did it without a lot of trouble on pad A.

2.16.2016, Tuesday 7pm, more Pre-trip with Mr.L.D. I evaluated as test-ready on the in-cab inspection. He gave me more advice on backing and some information about how the CDL testing will happen. I don't recall doing much else on this day and if I did then it's not in my notes.

2.17.2016, Wednesday 7pm, I did a full Pre-trip evaluation for test-readiness. I passed all on the first try including in-cab though I had to restart 4 times to be sure. I'd become frustrated just previous to this portion for an unrelated reason and my head wasn't in the game. It was a rough day. I don't recommend having bad days. Then I practiced alley-docking with Mr.T.W. on pad B with very mixed success which seems to be a theme among my classmates. Next, I did my driving evaluation with Leprechaun, got bogged down, stressed over little things, & did NOT pass. My little problems had become big stumbling blocks, so I begged him to let me take it for another spin and he agreed (RELIEF!). At some point on our drive he started calling out orders a little like a drill sargeant to help me practice my down-shifting, skip-shifting, & braking for stop signs & lights. It didn't solve my problem but then only I can do that. What it DID do was to illustrate for me how quickly I CAN do these things, when I'm responding appropriately. That was like knocking a hole in the hateful little mental-block wall I'd built. I later found an apt quote for the phenomenon: "your problem isn't the problem; your reaction is the problem". He might have said that same thing at the time, I can't quite remember. I worked with him right up until the end of class & was very grateful for the extra time.

2.18.2016, Thursday 7pm, we did some backing practice with Mr.L.D. I nailed the alley-dock on pad B three times without problems. Then, another driving evaluation with Mr.Leprechaun AND PASSED! What an enormous load off my shoulders. Lastly, I went to do my backing evaluation with Mr.L.D. and did well on everything but alley-dock. I had just done that one 3 times!! Well it turns out the pad had become super slick with dew so that even he couldn't do it by the points. He called it good from the times I'd done it earlier. He sent us home, graduates of the program, to prepare ourselves for a Saturday morning test!

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

J Johns's Comment
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Friday, uneventful, just trying to flip our sleep schedule on it's head again. We also went to the Millenium building to pick up our Missouri hard-copy licenses but had to follow terrible directions from several people in a row to get there. I hope this isn't a recurring theme. Netflix & bed early.

Saturday, awake since 1am, ordered pizza from Dominoes. Goofed off, watched netflix, practiced our in-cab inspection, told ourselves it didn't matter so much if we passed this exam on the first try and earned the $250 bonuses just so long as we eventually did pass, then we napped briefly. We grabbed our high-viz vests & important documents & comdata/i.d.'s, waited for the 6am shuttle, then sat in a classroom of the Millenium building on the ground floor just off of the cafeteria until they locked the doors at 6:30am sharp. We filled out papers and handed over others as directed, took note of our place in the testing order, and listened carefully to directions. Soon we left, went back to that same shed next to the practice pad to wait for our turn, watched two classmates trifecta before us, then went on to perform the same feat ourselves! We passed! They took our 'trifecta pictures' then brought us into an office to explain our results and the things we could be doing better. We were sent to talk to Linda B. in the reefer operations center to get what was needed to get our CDL-A licenses. We caught a ride with the guy who passed the exam after us, and his PSD trainer. We arrived at the DMV with 30 seconds to spare before they locked the doors at noon sharp. Crowded, we had our paper licenses an hour & 72 dollars later. We went back to Linda with our ride, got hired on, and were given a free meal voucher. Hey there! She told us to come back on Monday to talk to to the man who would be finding us two trainers under the same fleet manager. We got & activated our new comdata i.d.'s, redeemed the meal voucher, got a couple of free 'prime' hats from the shop, bought a laminated motor-carrier's atlas, and went home to bed.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

Fleet Manager:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

PSD:

Prime Student Driver

Prime Inc has a CDL training program and the first phase is referred to as PSD. You'll get your permit and then 10,000 miles of on the road instruction.

The following is from Prime's website:

Prime’s PSD begins with you obtaining your CDL permit. Then you’ll go on the road with a certified CDL instructor for no less than 75 hours of one-on-one behind the wheel training. After training, you’ll return to Prime’s corporate headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, for final CDL state testing and your CDL license.

Obtain CDL Permit / 4 Days

  • Enter program, study and test for Missouri CDL permit.
  • Start driving/training at Prime Training Center in Springfield, Missouri.
  • Work toward 40,000 training dispatched miles (minimum) with food allowance while without CDL (Food allowance is paid back with future earnings).

On-the-Road Instruction / 10,000 Miles

  • Train with experienced certified CDL instructor for 3-4 weeks in a real world environment.
  • Get 75 hours of behind-the-wheel time with one-on-one student/instructor ratio.
  • Earn 10,000 miles toward total 40,000 miles needed.
J Johns's Comment
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2.21.2016, Sunday, goofed off, rented redbox & glutted ourselves on sleep.

2.22.2016, Monday, went to see The Man In Whose Hands Our Futures Rest, assured him that we're packed & ready whenever he can find those trainers, then went to the TWIC office to get those cards. I am once again dismayed at my recruiter's advice to leave my marriage certificate at home. I can't get a card, but my partner can. I'm told that if I had a passport the point would be moot, and that the post office does not ask for a marriage license. That's nice, but a passport takes 6+weeks to process. We got a meal & headed home for a nap. We ended up not catching the shuttle to the post office, so we'll try again tomorrow. Redbox & bed early again.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
J Johns's Comment
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2.23.2016, Tuesday, up very early, redbox movie before we fielded a call from our new fleet manager , then each of us got a call from our respective PROspective TNT trainers, we went to Panchos for some excellent 24hr/day mexican food, bought passport photos & goodies at wal*mart, caught a shuttle to the Millenium building & met our fleet manager. He invited us to watch him work for a few minutes, which was illuminating but also eventually a little awkward. He described our trainers to us & we went back to the Campus Inn to netflix & sleep at about 4pm. I will meet my trainer 2.24 Wednesday evening and probably depart with him 2.25 Thursday morning. My partner will likely depart 2.29 Monday, as it seems that his trainer is taking a spot of home time until then.

Fleet Manager:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14¢ per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

J Johns's Comment
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My days of waiting for a trainer have run together, but I can say that ...

2.24.2016, Wednesday, we took the green shuttle to the post office to get our passports & cards. We plan to keep the passport books locked up for international travel & our cards with us for work-related border crossings. There was a sign saying that they expected people to make appointments for this service. I checked the paper Prime had given me & it said nothing about that, so I dared to hope. Sure enough, we were told that Prime people are fast & easy so don't worry about the appointment times. One stupid thing I did which may come back to bite me is that the only government-issued photo I.D. I brought was my ink-poor printed paper copy of my CDL-A, & none of my recently-voided state licenses. Surprising they would want to see those, huh? Like I say, it may come back to bite me, but the Department of State will let me know what they need, when & how they need it. We left & walked toward the DMV where there's a lovely little place called Hurts Donut, a shop we found to be strangely crowded on Friday & Saturday evenings. We now understand why that is -- I'll let you learn for yourselves. We caught the shuttle back to the Campus Inn from the DMV.

2.25.2016, Thursday, I met my new trainer! His name is Greg & as his Million-mile dinner was scheduled for the evening of our meeting, he can be safely assumed to be a prolific turner of safe miles. He invited his latest student to vouch for him to my partner & I. He's getting repairs done, so a Friday morning or afternoon departure seems more likely. It looks like Prime is working hard to get us two of it's best fleet manager's best drivers to set us up for success & the effort is not lost on me. We got our first paycheck & I noticed that they didn't take the three $200 weekly advances that we didn't touch in our accounts, but instead took the $25 from our paycheck that we were told they would use to repay themselves for those advances. As it seems they're planning to do it that way, & our paycheck was put into that same comdata account rather than our bank account because direct deposit takes a bit to kick in, I got to work figuring out comcheks. It took some doing, but we managed, deposited the checks with our phones because we do our banking online, then paid our bills & were left with a rather satisfying amount left over. We've been sitting on our butts earning money somehow, & it boggles the mind. However easily money comes in the future, I hope I never forget the lessons of the value of work that I've been learning all these years. Prime is spoiling us rotten, folks.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

Fleet Manager:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Charlie Mac's Comment
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I love this thread! I hope you take time to update it on the road. Congratulations on your new career! good-luck.gif

J Johns's Comment
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Thanks :D I will try.

2.26.2016, Friday, I received a qualcomm message on my phone through the Prime Mobile app. I forgot to mention that the last time I spoke with my fleet manager he 'added' me to the truck using my driver code. So the message was asking my trainer & I to go to the safety meeting at the Millenium if available. Greg didn't respond so far as I know (I only see messages from Prime, not his replies), & I didn't get a text from him, so I went to the meeting alone. Breakfast is free but seating can be difficult to come by. Most of the meeting was about how we're switching out to automatics soon, & so they brought some 2 & 3 million milers out who have been driving them & can speak definitively on how they handle. I got a text message from my partner whose trainer had arrived for a drive, so that's where they were when I got back to the room & packed & goofed off for a few hours. At around 3pm my partner returned for some shared goofing time. At about 4pm repairs to Greg's tractor had been completed so he picked me up with all my things & took me to the Millenium to work some load magic. The load assigned gave us 5 days to get to Spokane WA, but he wanted to squeeze in a smaller load for the coming paycheck. He managed that at the fuel desk in the driver's line-up building next to Millenium. The plan became the folowing: drive about town so I can warm up & he can know where I need help, then drop me off back at the Campus Inn for the night, drive out at noon the following day, & begin our work. So the first time I drove after my test wasn't awful & I'm happy to spend another night with my favorite person.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

Fleet Manager:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Diver Driver's Comment
member avatar

Good luck to you ! My trainer was also at the banquet. Sorry I missed you at the safety meeting. Our truck was in the shop, but we're heading out in the AM. my trainer wants to get something heading to CA.

J Johns's Comment
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That's too bad, I've been keeping an eye out for the man who looks like my favorite singer/songwriter, Tony Kakko, haha! Maybe another time. Thanks for the luck :)

Saturday, 2.27.2016, shuttle to Millenium, breakfast, shuttle back to the Campus Inn, then I called my trainer who picked me up. He went into a flea market to kill time & I set up a little nest in the upper bunk. We picked up an empty trailer, waited in line for a wash, went to our first pick-up & I shadowed him while taking occasional notes. We dropped & hooked (the newly loaded trailer was inexplicably OFF), did our live loaded call and were about 10 minutes out of there before we learned that the trailer had an error code. Thankfully we were minutes from the Springfield terminal. We dropped it off, ate, fiddled with our phones, napped, and at about 10 or 11 we were able to drive out of there. We made it past St.Louis by 3am then stopped at a Pilot for the night. I need to start using military time, bleh.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Diver Driver's Comment
member avatar

That's too bad, I've been keeping an eye out for the man who looks like my favorite singer/songwriter, Tony Kakko, haha! Maybe another time. Thanks for the luck :)

Haha, I always knew I was a rock star. (In my own mind anyway)

Military (24 hr time) time is easy. If you need help let me know.

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