Prime Company Sponsored School

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PR aka Road Hog's Comment
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The Trip To School

And good day fellow truckers. Spirits are high here at trucking school. It all started Thursday when My recruiter gave me my schedule and bus information, and said I could go down early and pick it up. She even encouraged me to do so. I didn't go days early, but I did get there 2 hours early, and I am glad I did. At 8p there were only 4 people in line allowing a quick in and out.

One guy behind me, a 19 year truck driving vet, got there late and missed the last call for his bus. We chatted in line about trucking and he mentioned he was making .49 cpm. He was re-ticketing, and would be on the same bus I would be on. I look forward to talking with him about his experiences on the way.

The family and I went back to the house to refill our Drinks etc. when I got back to the bus station at 9p, there were 20+ people in line. As our bus was loading, I saw the same guy up ahead of me. He got stopped at the bus door, and sent back inside. Turns out, he didn't make that bus either. By the time I got in the bus, at least 1 person was in every seat, so I took a seat next to a friendly face sat down and got comfortable, and asked the guy next to me where he was heading.

Turns out he and I were going to the same place and the same company school. Not only that, but the guy across the isle was too. Soon we were all 3 chatting it up. The guy in my seat, Tom, was also a TT reader, and we shared many of the same experiences and thoughts. He was coming up from Fla and already had his permit. Antonio, the guy across the isle, hadn't even started studying yet.

By the time we reached our next stop, we found several other truckers going to several different schools, and even a few former drivers that were happy to share their thoughts and experiences.

Truck drivers, and students, are certainly friendly folks!!.

We met a 4th going to our same school in Nashville, and he didn't have his permit either, and had only just started studying the manual. Tom and I both sang the praises of TT's High Road CDL Training Course, and before long, had Antonio signed up. Tom and I quizzed the other two another along the way.

We all had each other's backs along the way, watching each others bags. This isn't the airlines, and when you get off the bus for a layover, chances are you will be changing buses, meaning you have to tote your bag back and forth. There are no dollies and no porters. Just you, so, pack as light and efficiently as possible.

Now, for the students getting ready, let me tell you a thing or 2 about the bus companies. They don't have a clue where you are supposed to be, so be proactive. When they make an announcement over the intercom, chances are, it isq correct. In Nashville, we got off the bus, and a bus company rep was there with information that did not match the itinerary on my ticket, so I asked at the desk. They didn't know either. Long story short, nobody knew and the majority of the riders switched buses. The four of us found a luggage loader and a dock supervisor that gave us the same answer, so we followed our schedules and got in the the bus we had gotten out of, showing our reboarding slip. Turns out, both buses were going to the same place. Our bus was the express, skipping several stops, getting us in 15 mins before the other bus. (They left 10 mins before we did)

Oh yea, and we lost a rider. Apparently he wasn't paying attention to the time change, and missed the bus. He wasn't one of our four, but pay attention to what time zone you are in.

Tom and I have our eye on one guy in our group, he has been argumentative in general, and even got into a verbal confrontation with a bus driver before loading!! The bus driver told him to find another ride. Oops.

In Little Rock, we stopped for another bus transfer and picked up 3 more student drivers bringing our group to 7.

We were given a number to call for a shuttle when we arrived in Missouri, and they were there within minutes. They took us to the hotel where we would be staying.

We filled out a slip and declared smoking or non, and we were given a room mate, a card key, and a packet to fill out. Oy. Barely in the door, and I already have a packet of paperwork to fill out.

Before sending us to our rooms, we were given a map of the hotel complex, where our rooms were, the cafe, and the location for orientation in the morning. We were told dinner was available until 7 and the wake up call would be at 5.30am. They also said the wake up calls don't always work, so set your own alarm.

True to there word, there was no wake up call.

Dinner was decent, baked chicken, heated up frozen veggies and a roll. Piece of cake and a bowl of fruit ****tail along with a drink set me back a whopping .60 cents. You are allotted so much for your meals, anything over is your responsibility.

Tom and I saw a Walmart around the corner and headed over to get some additional supplies, lunchmeat, water, snacks, etc. Since we didn't have ID cards for school, we couldn't ride the shuttle. Thankfully it was a short walk.

Back to the room, fill out paperwork, take a shower, call home, and hit the bunk by 10p. I was beat, unable to sleep in the bus that desperately needed an alignment and was way to cold. This from a guy that can, and has slept, anywhere.

More to follow.

P.S. one cool thing, walking to my room, through the parking lot, there were about 30 rigs, bobtails parked side by side. For a newbie like me, that was impressive.

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.

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Daniel B.'s Comment
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Very detailed about your adventures so far! Nothing but good news! Get your sleep and I wish you luck! It's wonderful to have a friend at the school isn't it?

PR aka Road Hog's Comment
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Prime Day 1 - Orientation

I know I slept well last night, because I awoke around 5.15am. That's 6.15am home time, and totally uncommon for me, unless I am well rested. The cafe opens at 6am, and I was there when doors opened. Scrambled eggs, another bowl of fruit ****tail and a bagel, cost to me .10 cents. I forgot to mention in the previous article that coffee, tea and water are free, which is good for me, as I love my morning coffee.

Orientation starts at 7, and I am there by a little after 6.30. We go over the packet we were given the night before, and then we are given even more. Afterwards, security came in and passed out fingerprinting cards.

Now, a word to the wise. Pay attention to the instructors! The first thing the instructor says is "do not fill anything out until after I give you the complete instructions on what to do. Then, fill in the blanks."

1st box, "sign you name like you would a contract. This will be the only space you use cursive." Immediately, a hand goes up, requesting another form. LOL. Man did the instructor give him some grief, let me tell you. "You screwed up your name?!?"

2nd box of instructions, another hand, third box 2 more hands, all in all about 15 people, out of 70, or nearly 20% of the class needed another form. Now, I can't prove it, and don't hold me to it, but I swear there was somebody taking note of faces of the ones that couldn't follow SIMPLE directions.

Seriously, pay attention.

We get fingerprinted on the spot, half the room at a time. Before that though, we are warned, if there is anything in your history that you did not include on your application, fill out a disclosure form. If something shows up that you did not include, you will be escorted off property and your career will be over before it starts. You will not be given a ride to to bus stop, and if you take too long to pack, you will be arrested for criminal trespass. Theses folks are serious. Do Not Lie on your application.

For the background check, security only wants your adult life, but the company wants a disclosure on any and all past discretions including your youth. Essentially, if you have ever been arrested or appeared before a judge, you better let them know. Period.

After that, the nurse comes in, and we work on another packet, sign here, print there, write your SSN number and the date. She just goes over the highlights leaving the rest for us to fill out later.

After all that we are split into 2 groups, those that have their CDL-A permit and those that do not. Our group was about 50/50, which, judging from the instructors reaction, is a lot of people with their permits, and uncommon. (Must be a lot of folks that went through Trucking Truths web site) Group A goes for drug screening, Group B to interview. Which wasn't much of an interview, but rather a viewing of the packet you filled out the night before, and the disclosure forms.

Some interviews seem more interactive than others, as I heard a bunch of chatter from other people. My interviewer was pretty dry. I wasn't even sure I passed until I talked to someone who had several issues that needed to be disclosed. He said they checked them all on the spot. I had a few issues I had to disclose, and I was concerned about dates, and honestly, that I had remembered everything.

That may sound weird, I mean, I was there, but trying to remember every interaction as a kid when you are almost 50 ... Well, I was concerned.

The drug screen was pretty simple, and I am willing to bet that anybody considering trucking has had to "p" in a cup, I won't go into detail, other than to say, when there are 35 people (in each of 2 groups) it can take an hour or more.

From there it was a quick medical test, height, lift a basket "properly" with 50lbs of weights, blood pressure, eyes and hearing. Come back in a few hours for the physicians medical.

You are told to go into the room when it is your turn and be barefooted and bare chested. (Women i think could keep on there bras, and maybe even their shirt.)

Fairly standard medical test, and, in no particular order, he has you stand feet together, eyes closed (balance), open, touch toes, stand back up, squat, duck walk, checks breathing with stethoscope, knee and elbow reflexes (little hammer thingy) scrapes bottom of feet and both sides of calves (for sensation) looks in ears and throat, checks pupil dilation, looks in mouth, hands above head, behind head, behind back turn head left and right, and asks if you've ever had or been suggested to be checked for sleep apnea. Drop trou, turn your head and cough (guys).

Assuming you have no issues, pre-permited people go to the sim room, non permitted is allotted self study time.

And that wraps up day 2. Except for dinner. Hours and cost allocation for meals here are as follows: Breakfast. 6-10:30. $4.25 Lunch 11-2:30. $5.75 Dinner 3-6.45 $6.50

Anything over that amount is the responsibility of the student.

Furthermore, the cafe is open from 6a-7p and you can stop in anytime for drinks or snacks. There is also a drivers lounge that is open until 10p that has a soda machine and free coffee.

For now, its off to dinner.

Oh, one last note, wifi is available, but is spotty at best, and can be difficulty getting access with everyone using at the same time. There is a McD's next door with excellent coverage, and also the Walmart mentioned in the last post.

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.

Sleep Apnea:

A physical disorder in which you have pauses in your breathing, or take shallow breaths, during sleep. These pauses can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. Normal breathing will usually resume, sometimes with a loud choking sound or snort.

In obstructive sleep apnea, your airways become blocked or collapse during sleep, causing the pauses and shallow breathing.

It is a chronic condition that will require ongoing management. It affects about 18 million people in the U.S.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
PR aka Road Hog's Comment
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Yea Daniel, like I said, earlier, it seems truckers, and student drivers are a friendly bunch, and I am making lots of friends every day. And I can see what Brett is talking about with some of these people. A few folks were complaining about waiting in line, and the warm stagnant environment while waiting. I can just tell these folks are going to have issues down the road. They are getting "irritated" waiting to see the doc, but they think they are going to be ok waiting at a shipper / receiver?

Seriously, chill out, its a process. One of the first things I read on here was, don't sweat the things you can't control. I can't control them being behind schedule, running out of paper, where I am in line, or the temperature. What I can control, is how I react to it. Instead of complaining, I made 2 new friends, and the time just scooted on by. Bet it took forever for the complainer.

Just saying

Oh yeah, where are the folks from the website?? I didn't see and 'funky hair'. I would really like to meet the other folks from the site that are also here at Prime this week.

smile.gif

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Philip F.'s Comment
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Haha, I remember those people with the fingerprint cards. Like Dad says, "There's never time to do it right but there's ALWAYS time to do it again!"

I'll make sure to be at breakfast tomorrow. I think I still have a black "FedEx" shirt, so look for that. Or you can just go noseing at people's IDs until you see "Philip Fowler". :P

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
PR aka Road Hog's Comment
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Ohhhh, I've passed you a few times. I've heard phillip fowler called, and I always think of Big Bang Theory ... Amy farrah fowler. I'll see you at breakfast... Go bulldogs. (:-)

Brett Aquila's Comment
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I can see what Brett is talking about with some of these people. A few folks were complaining about waiting in line, and the warm stagnant environment while waiting. I can just tell these folks are going to have issues down the road. They are getting "irritated" waiting to see the doc, but they think they are going to be ok waiting at a shipper / receiver?

Ya know, we should start a game out of it. See how many people you can find at truck driving school that will fail or be kicked out and wind up at TheTruckersReport within a few days blasting the company for being a scam.

It would be an easy game to play. The people with poor attitudes stick out like crazy. And believe me, just the same way an antelope is keenly aware of a lion being around, the instructors and staff at school are keenly aware of which people with poor attitudes. Trust me, they won't be around long.

I've always loved a challenge. I'm always looking for a new adventure. It always surprised me how sour some people can be even when you're getting an opportunity to learn to drive a big ole American big rig! I mean, how cool is that, right? You should be excited! You should be anxious! It's a tremendous challenge and an awesome opportunity at a new career and lifestyle.

Not to mention at the company-sponsored schools the company is paying for just about everything, giving you room and board, training you, and then giving you a job afterward!

And yet probably 25% of the people show up with sour, crabby dispositions.

Seriously, just avoid em like they have a disease. Because in a way, they do. Their attitude spreads. It's easy to get sucked into their misery pool. Not to mention, the instructors take note of who's talking to who. Usually you'll get "clicks" that form - good attitudes stick together, complainers stick together. You don't want to associate with the wrong people too often or you might mistakenly get categorized as one of them.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Philip F.'s Comment
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Had to change to a green shirt today. Realized my wife packed for me! rofl-3.gif

Aces-N-eights (Dale)'s Comment
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Had to change to a green shirt today. Realized my wife packed for me! rofl-3.gif

Can she come pack for me? I have a 900 mile drive this week to go test for my permit in Indiana, turn around drive home then leave for my real home in las vegas next Saturday then fly back to Connecticut for a few days then fly to Memphis for swift or to indy for Celadon. Lots of laundry and lots of packing.

Harry W.'s Comment
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Let me start by saying that your blog was very very good. Full of useful information for the ones of us that intend on following in your footsteps. So please by all means keep up the great work and please try and remember every detail. It has been eyeopening and can't wait for your next post. And how about the other ones that went there. Where is your or should I say what is your prospective on the adventure that I will simply call The Next Chapter. Regards, Harry

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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