Swift Training @ C1 Indy

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Charlie Mac's Comment
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First day of school today. So anxious I barely slept a wink. Gave up a 5 year career, health insurance, steady pay etc. to follow my dreams. "It's very difficult to follow your dreams...but it's even more difficult to forget them." -Rabul Rumpai

Woke up in the middle of the night thinking it was time to go to school, was 1am! LOL. I've been advised to keep a journal by quite a few drivers so here goes.

Day 1: Class begins @ 6am. Pulled into the parking lot @ 5:30, gave myself a peptalk in my review & headed to the door @ 5:40am. I was the first student in the building. There was another student in his truck smoking a cigarette when I pulled in but I think he didn't wanna be the first guy & soon followed suit when I got out of my car.

I was greeted by the student advisor @ the door who asked if I needed a DOT permit. Out-of-state students are required to have their DOT permits & physicals prior (with the exception of Ohio, more on that later), Indiana residents are not required to have either. She then gave me some forms to fill out & I made my way to 1 of 3 classrooms. The rooms were divided into Swift & PAM prospectful hires. The spare room is a break room. Swift is alloted for 10 students per week, PAM is alloted for 30. There was 6 students (counting myself) in the Swift side, 4 were apparently no-shows.

Being the smaller class we were told to line up outside in the hallway behind a green cone & put everything in our pockets into a basket. You're warned nicely that if you step pass the cone before being called you will be reminded again far less nicely. Whiz-quiz time. Don't flush.

The urinalysis is used for a 5 panel tox screen (THC, Cocain, Opiates, Methamphetamines & something else) as well as a portion of your DOT physical to check for protien, blood & sugar.

The DOT physical consisted of a 20ft. Snellen vision exam requiring 20/40 in each eye (corrective lenses & contacts permitted). A monochromatic test for colorblindness to test your ability to recognize green, red & amber faint alternating colored numbers in a circle of the 2 other shades respectively. BP of no higher then 140/90 (I tested 139/90...whew!) And then a nurse practitioner listens to your chest & belly.

1 other Swift applicant had high BP & they wrote the number on a post-it note on his chart in case it changed so when they retest manually instead of with an electronic cuff. He did pass the manual BP test. One other applicant couldn't pee & had to wait behind the 30 PAM students to try again, LOL.

After that myself & the 4 other students waited nearly 5 hours until 12:45pm for everyone else to finish. One of the students was dismissed (the same one that couldn't pee earlier) due to taking (legit) prescription meds that are on the list of substances banned for CDL drivers...

Lunch time 12:45-1:30. There is a McDonald's practically in the same parking lot. I had a McDouble (extra pickles & onions), a McChicken & sweet tea.

Back to class, they combined the Swift & PAM students after we signed seperate tuition contracts & attendance policies. They played a motivational video, students who pass the skills test the 1st try get a red "Ace" C1 hat. Those who pass on the 2nd-5th tries get a black C1cap. (Yes, in rare circumstances you can get up to FIVE tries). 2 students came in throughout the course of the day with red hat's to have the instructor sign it & were met with a round of applause.

There's certain criteria before you're kicked out. Its supposed to be a 3 week course but you MUST HAVE your permit no later thab Friday of the 1st week to test out on the 3rd week.

Ohio students are driven by a van Wed-Fri to take their permit exams in Ohio if they don't have them. After the 3rd try they either pass or are dismissed.

Indiana students have until Friday of the 2nd week to get their permit or they are dismissed.

You have until the end of week 3 to pass pretrip or you're dismissed.

You have to have 2/3 skills down (Offset, Straight-line & parallel) by week 4 or you're dismissed.

Finally on the 5th week those who have taken the skills test up to 5 times without passing are dismissed.

To finish we watched some slides & done a quiz on combination vehicles. I was the only student out of 30 to get 100% (Thanks to Trucking Truth)!

School starts @ 7am tomorrow. (But if you're not there by 6:45am you're late, LOL). Doors unlock @ 6:30am. I (ofcoursr) intend to be there by 6:25am & go to the BMV immediately after 4pm to get my CDP.

School is open (optional & highly encouraged) on weekend's for students who want extra pretrip & backing practice. If you can't pass pretrip you're only allowed to straight-line back until you do.

Needless to say...I plan on being there every second of every day I'm allowed to be.

Sorry for the looooong post. I'll update as I can. I'm off to study! good-luck-2.gif

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.

Combination Vehicle:

A vehicle with two separate parts - the power unit (tractor) and the trailer. Tractor-trailers are considered combination vehicles.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Bmv:

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.
Lemmy_Lives's Comment
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Good luck, Charlie! I've been following your posts on here...it's obvious how much this means to you. You've got this.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Charlie Mac's Comment
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Thanks Michael W.

I forgot to memtion, homework is practicing "commentary"...verbally reading roadsigns aloud as you approach them. The instructor said this is critical for the skills exam. I only live about 8 minutes from the school & never noticed how many bridge clearance signs there are.

I passed 3 low clearance (under 13'6") bridges, along with various city bus stops, a delivery vehicle & 2 construction detours on the short trip home. It may sound silly...but I swear this seemingly simple exercise subconciously triggered my sense of awareness to sharpen. I could almost feel it evolving as I traversed my surroundings.

Charlie Mac's Comment
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I could almost feel it evolving as I traversed my surroundings.

After rereading that, I kinda sound like a member of the X-Men. rofl-3.gif

Tractor Man's Comment
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Thanks C Mac. I will be following your diary. I start the Swift Academy in Phoenix on the 25th, can't wait!good-luck.gif

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Charlie Mac's Comment
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Lots of tests today @ school. Passed them all easy peasy. School let out @ 4pm, today was the BMV's "late" day. They allow testing until 5:30pm. Dipped over there & completed my General knowledge, combination, air brakes as well as tanker, doubles/triples & passenger endorsements. Was gonna do Hazmat but ran outta time, I'll pick that up next Tuesday (or maybe Saturday if the branch is open).

Feels good to have my permit in hand! If all goes well I'm on track to complete the program in week 3. Gotta keep the momentum going & start practicing pre-trip.

I'm not accustomed to waking up so early, LOL. I'm pooped.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

Doubles:

Refers to pulling two trailers at the same time, otherwise known as "pups" or "pup trailers" because they're only about 28 feet long. However there are some states that allow doubles that are each 48 feet in length.

Bmv:

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.

G-Town's Comment
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Lots of tests today @ school. Passed them all easy peasy. School let out @ 4pm, today was the BMV's "late" day. They allow testing until 5:30pm. Dipped over there & completed my General knowledge, combination, air brakes as well as tanker, doubles/triples & passenger endorsements. Was gonna do Hazmat but ran outta time, I'll pick that up next Tuesday (or maybe Saturday if the branch is open).

Feels good to have my permit in hand! If all goes well I'm on track to complete the program in week 3. Gotta keep the momentum going & start practicing pre-trip.

I'm not accustomed to waking up so early, LOL. I'm pooped.

Keep your eyes peeled for the map test (using the RM Truckers Road Atlas). It chews up a lot of students. For many, it's the first time they have ever seen a printed road map. Best of luck.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

Doubles:

Refers to pulling two trailers at the same time, otherwise known as "pups" or "pup trailers" because they're only about 28 feet long. However there are some states that allow doubles that are each 48 feet in length.

Bmv:

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.

Charlie Mac's Comment
member avatar

Thanks T-Man & G-Town. I heard through the grapevine that once you are officially hired & have a driver number Swift will reimburse you for Hazmat & the background check.

Maybe the stars were aligned when clock ran out & I couldn't pick it up today afterall. Haha :)

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

Charlie Mac's Comment
member avatar

Arrived @ 6:15am Did open-book tests for FMCSA Rules & Regs (green book) updated monthly! That must get expensive. Ohio students piled in a van to go to Ohio & attempt the CDL Permit written exams. Those from Indiana who either failed yesterday or didn't go to BMV (it was afterschool & optional) was given another opportunity to do so during this time today.

Went outside to the range with remaining students & observed first complete instructor led pre-trip demonstration. At one point I sat down on the pad to view under the trailer and was politely chewed out. Sitting on the range is a big No-No. I was informed it's unwise to NOT have your feet underneath you at all times (invade you need to move wuickly) when students that have never driven tractors before are behind the wheels several tons of metal...makes sense!

Finished with groups of 4 doing in-cab, safe start & 4 point break check.

Break for lunch 11:45-12:45.

Returned to class for MAPTRIP. (Map reading/Trip planning) Lecture & Practicle test.

Finished with brief description of paper-logs (4 main lines, flags & brackets) & assigned homework. Class dismissed @ 4pm.

Seeing as how there are only 5 Swift students left (myself included) I decided to make friends with one of them. We buddied up afterclass & went to the range. We located an unused rig & went over pre-trip again together.

Using the range after-hours in highly encouraged. Although you (obviously) can't drive around without an instructor...we are permitted to fire up the engine for purposes of building the air-supply tank pressure for gauge & the 4-point brake check. They just ask that you keep hands off the air-horn & don't unnecessarily burn up wiper fluid.

It started to rain so we bailed after running through pre-trip twice.

Thanks for reading. Time for homework & watching pre-trip videos!

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.

CSA:

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle

FMCSA:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The FMCSA was established within the Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000. Their primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.

What Does The FMCSA Do?

  • Commercial Drivers' Licenses
  • Data and Analysis
  • Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement
  • Research and Technology
  • Safety Assistance
  • Support and Information Sharing

Fm:

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.

Bmv:

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.

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.
Chris K.'s Comment
member avatar

Before you begin each day, do a super hero stance for about 3 min. Think superman hands on hips head high looking straight ahead.😃

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