Husband N Wife Team.... Our Saga To Becoming Drivers For Werner Enterprises

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Asian Princess's Comment
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Hi everyone!! A little background before I launch into our orientation experience. My husband Norman has been driving regional for over 27 years and as a teamster retires next month. As we were discussing our future it came out that he wasn't truly ready for the recliner!! So I came up with the crazy idea of team driving. It took some convincing that I was serious!! I poured over YouTube videos scoured sites like this one and determined my course of action. It took another 9 months to put into action my plan, but eventually I graduated from a private CDL school ( DRM CDL School in Tacoma Wa) . Let me say a word about CDL school here. My personal recommendation is if you can afford it or find a way to use grant money, GI bill or however you manage it... A highly regarded and respected private school with a class size maximum of 4-5 students is FANTASTIC!!!! My instructor had over 30 years experience driving, every kind of tractor trailer and OTR as well as local. Beyond teaching me how to drive, he imparted invaluable information concerning the industry, and shared immeasurable wisdom. A private school has the luxury as well as the motivation to ensure you REALLY know how to drive, they are invested in your success as a student because it directly impacts their future business. My instructor spent over 30 hrs alone in backing with me, one on one, because I just couldn't grasp the dynamics ( I couldn't even mange to get the trailer to go straight let alone do a 45 or 90 or 100 offset!!!) . The last three days before our official graduation date the light bulb came on and he nearly wept with joy when I did my first perfect 45 & 90 with zero pull-ups zero errors!! He also helped place the other 3 students in jobs after graduation.... Well spent 4K in my humble opinion.

Ok back to my plans of team driving. Took a little researching and applications to find the right fit. Our primary objective was to find a company that would allow my husband to be my trainer. This was in fact a deal breaker. I started putting out applications six months before we were actually ready to pull the trigger. Good thing too because a couple issues came up, one being I was diagnosed with sleep apnea! That whole process from the sleep study to the use of the cpap ( a special note, most companies want 2-3 months worth of compliance reports for your cpap) took 4-5 months to resolve, so I'm very glad I started early. Werner offered us what we needed and we we pre qualified about two months before our projected retirement date.

The week before our Orientation date while I was packing up our house, putting everything in storage and basically planning to be " homeless" an issue with my MVR came up... I had a suspended license in NM where I hadn't lived in 15 years!!! Talk about shock!! I had paid the ticket on a simple moving violation but a failure to submit a document to the DMV had resulted in a bench warrant n suspension, all unbeknownst to me!! So the day before we turn in the keys to our rental say goodbye to my grown kids I'm informed that my orientation invite was rescinded. Now what do we do??? The house has been rented out already, everything we own except what we need for life on the road is packed away!! So, we took a big breath and stepped out on faith! My mom lives five minutes from where we were to have training and we were going to be staying with her anyway, so we got on the road and spent next four days while driving from Tacoma, WA to Phoenix, AZ discussing our options and doing a lot of praying!! On day three of our trip Norm's recruiter called and was shocked to find out about my situation. Norm told him he wasn't interested in driving solo n our goal wasn't for me to be a passenger. After discussing the circumstances of my suspension, Matt ( the recruiter) said a simple administrative error 15 years ago shouldn't prevent me from being hired and he was going to see what he could do. Let me note here that I had to pay 27.00 to have the suspension lifted and it took less then a day to process, but on paper it looked bad... 15 year suspension!! I was never angry at Werner, in fact I'm glad that they have standards and want quality drivers with good records. So with a little hope we continued on our trek to Phoenix. The next evening Matt called and asked if we were still on our way to Phoenix and told us if we were to show up for Orientation the next morning at 630 am!!! BOTH OF US!!! How he pulled off this miracle, I don't know but we are grateful!!!

Well we finished up day two yesterday, and this next week Norm goes through Train the Trainer so he can train me. Our hair follicle drug test should be back Monday and there is a Driver Appreciation celebration happening all week so I'm eager to meet more drivers and other personnel in the terminal. By end of the week we will hopefully be assigned a truck and get our first load!!! It's been a bit of a trial already, but I'm confident we will overcome!! Sorry for the long read. Be safe Tanya

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.

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.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

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.

BMI:

Body mass index (BMI)

BMI is a formula that uses weight and height to estimate body fat. For most people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. The BMI's biggest weakness is that it doesn't consider individual factors such as bone or muscle mass. BMI may:

  • Underestimate body fat for older adults or other people with low muscle mass
  • Overestimate body fat for people who are very muscular and physically fit

It's quite common, especially for men, to fall into the "overweight" category if you happen to be stronger than average. If you're pretty strong but in good shape then pay no attention.

CPAP:

Constant Positive Airway Pressure

CPAP is a breathing assist device which is worn over the mouth or nose. It provides nighttime relief for individuals who suffer from Sleep Apnea.

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.

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.

MVR:

Motor Vehicle Record

An MVR is a report of your driving history, as reported from your state Department of Motor Vehicles. Information on this report may include Drivers License information, point history, violations, convictions, and license status on your driving record.

ChickieMonster's Comment
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What a great story Tanya! You kept pushing on thru trials and obstacles and you are now on your way to your dream!! I wish you and Norm the best of luck and let us know how everything goes.

I would also recommend private schooling to everyone. I had a great experience as well with a lead trainer who has done it all and seen it all and had many wisdom nuggets for us! I struggled like you and I was able to reschedule my test and get extra help on the areas I need (90 angle dock and downshifting).

I wish we had a hug smiley because I would use it right now! Here's a great big hug from me to you! Hope to see you out there someday!

6 string rhythm's Comment
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Thanks for sharing your story. I enjoyed reading it and I'm sure it'll be an inspiration for others. Wonder what kind of truck you'll be in?

Asian Princess's Comment
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What a great story Tanya! You kept pushing on thru trials and obstacles and you are now on your way to your dream!! I wish you and Norm the best of luck and let us know how everything goes.

I would also recommend private schooling to everyone. I had a great experience as well with a lead trainer who has done it all and seen it all and had many wisdom nuggets for us! I struggled like you and I was able to reschedule my test and get extra help on the areas I need (90 angle dock and downshifting).

I wish we had a hug smiley because I would use it right now! Here's a great big hug from me to you! Hope to see you out there someday!

Thank you!! We had a couple other obstacles and it took some patience and determination, but it never crossed my mind to quit.... My philosophy is unless they lock the doors and throw away the key there's always another way in!!

Asian Princess's Comment
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Thanks for sharing your story. I enjoyed reading it and I'm sure it'll be an inspiration for others. Wonder what kind of truck you'll be in?

Werner has Peterbilts, Frieghtliners and Kenworths all less then two years old, so I'll be happy with whatever as long as it's mechanically sound!!

Asian Princess's Comment
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I wanted to talk about our Orientation experience. Day one was full of paperwork and the drug screening and physical. Lots of forms and computer work. The lady who oversaw the first day was friendly and knowledgeable and funny! We are staying with my mom, which I'm thrilled about, but otherwise we would have been housed at the LaQuinta Inn. There is a shuttle that takes people back and forth from the terminal to the hotel at various times throughout the day. We filled out a breakfast and lunch menu and the food was quite good when it arrived, my only complaint was the serving times!! Breakfast came at 9:45am and we had been up since 5am so we were VERY hungry!! lunch came around 1:30pm, and as I said it was quite good! We watched several videos and started our CBT's... Computer based training, which covers all manner of important subjects ranging from sexual harassment to the types of fuel and additives Werner wants us to use. Day two was a repeat of day one without the drug screening, and included a quarterly Saftey Meeting, and a Pre-Trip inspection. Thus completing my two day orientation. As I said earlier, Norm has another week to do. I'll come back with further reports!!

Tanya

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

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.

PackRat's Comment
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Great story that I enjoyed reading. Inspiring!

Asian Princess's Comment
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Well it's Friday and we have been assigned a truck!! A 2016 Freightliner Cascadia AT only has 47k miles on it .... And she's a beauty!! I'm a bit sad that my first experience as a " real" driver won't be a manual, I'm actually really good with the gears. However, my hubbys left hip will be thanking us profusely and I'm sure that creep mode will be much appreciated by us both in city traffic.

Norm is on his final day of train the trainer and should be released within the next couple hours. I'm about to start the " nesting" process and make Stormy a home. Yes, I've named our truck Stormy and there's a story behind it, which I'll save for another day!

We came to Orientation during Werners 60th anniversary celebrations and Driver appreciation week, and everyone is all smiles and helpfulness at the terminal. The hotel the trainees are placed into has recieved quite a bit of negative commentary from all that I have met who are staying there, which makes me grateful that we have been able to stay at my mom's!!! The room service is excellent!! And FREEE!!!!!

I was done with all my CBTs ( computer based training) on Monday, essentially done with orientation. So I was told to attend several classes, backing, pre trip inspection and pre trip planning, equipment, smith system.... All classes I need before I become a qualified driver anyway, so got those out of the way. I have numerous handouts and pamphlets covering everything from 401k, stock options to how to do a proper 90 backing and sexual harrassment. We have been fed breakfast and lunch up till Monday, then just lunch only.

Thus far my experience has been pleasant and enjoyable for the most part. Eager to see what the next phase brings......

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Terminal Rat ( aka...J's Comment
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WooooooHoooooo!!!!!! :^P

JJ

miracleofmagick's Comment
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What terminal were you at?

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.

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