Swift Academy, Memphis TN

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Lemmy_Lives's Comment
member avatar

Well, after an eventful bus trip (which I'll cover below), I'm officially a student at the Swift academy in Memphis, TN! I'm not going to cover every detail of my time here because it's been covered many times on here better than I could ever do, but I will mention topics I found interesting or important.

Like I said, the bus ride was...eventful. The bus was almost an hour late, and I didn't have a ticket, just my confirmation email. Luckily they let me ride to the main terminal to get one. The first stop was Fort Smith, Arkansas. NOTE: when the driver says you've got 10 minutes before they leave, they actually mean 7. I went to the bathroom, went back outside and the bus was GONE! The dispatchers called the driver and told her she forgot somebody. Thank God she came back!

I arrived in Memphis on time (after not stepping off of the bus again...I'm not that stupid). 3 hours later a shuttle picked me up to go to the hotel, where it was another 5 hours before I was able to get a room. Tired and irritable would be an understatement.

Today was Day 1. The usual stuff was covered...drug test, permit and DOT physical check and academy policies. This is important...if you have a DOT medical card, make SURE the CDL Applicant/Holder box is checked Yes. If not you get to take another physical. Also, if you have any conditions such as sleep apnea (like I do), a medical release form from your doctor carries a lot of weight.

All in all, I'm glad the day is over. Now to head to Walmart in a bit for food and then some relaxing.

I think I'm going to enjoy my time here. If anyone has any questions, I'll do my best to answer them.

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.

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.

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.

Dispatcher:

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.
Bucket's Comment
member avatar

Good luck, keep us updated. When I talked to a recruiter in December they were going to send me to Redlands. A few days ago another recruiter called because they are no longer using Redlands. I'm going to Drumright. I'll let you know how that goes. I have my permit, DOT card, my letter from TSA, also passed all the endorsement. Hope I can get my CDL A.

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.

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.

Lemmy_Lives's Comment
member avatar

Good luck, keep us updated. When I talked to a recruiter in December they were going to send me to Redlands. A few days ago another recruiter called because they are no longer using Redlands. I'm going to Drumright. I'll let you know how that goes. I have my permit, DOT card, my letter from TSA, also passed all the endorsement. Hope I can get my CDL A.

Good luck! Make sure you have NO restrictions on your permit and that you have the DOT card and the long form as well.

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.

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.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Michael, I start my week at the Memphis terminal. (5am). I often wonder who's joining class then. Welcome to Memphis!

Send me your phone # so we can meet up. (That would be on a Saturday afternoon, usually.) Send an email to

TT.Errolv@spamgourmet.com

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.

Lemmy_Lives's Comment
member avatar

Michael, I start my week at the Memphis terminal. (5am). I often wonder who's joining class then. Welcome to Memphis!

Send me your phone # so we can meet up. (That would be on a Saturday afternoon, usually.) Send an email to

TT.Errolv@spamgourmet.com

Thanks! Email sent.

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.

The Jukestr 's Comment
member avatar

Welcome to Memphis. I hope you get a chance to enjoy the city (that's I'd you haven't been already. And Good luck on your training

Lemmy_Lives's Comment
member avatar

Welcome to Memphis. I hope you get a chance to enjoy the city (that's I'd you haven't been already. And Good luck on your training

Thanks, Juke. Me and my roommate are planning on checking out the sights this weekend, but from what we've been told our hotel is not in the best part of town...lots of break-ins and muggings around here.

Day 2: Nothing too interesting; today we signed our school contracts, started our paper logs and went over HoS and the Qualcomm. Tomorrow we start on straight line backing! I can't wait but I'm also nervous, since we are getting tested on this soon and there are no second chances. Our instructor really makes the class interesting and knows his material.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar
No second chances.

No second chances on what?

(Straight line backing is the easiest one. Pay attention to how the treasurer reacts to your steering wheel moves.)

Lemmy_Lives's Comment
member avatar

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No second chances.

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No second chances on what?

(Straight line backing is the easiest one. Pay attention to how the treasurer reacts to your steering wheel moves.)

They told us there is no Academic Probation on straight backing. You either pass or go home, since it's the most basic move to learn.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

double-quotes-start.png

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No second chances.

double-quotes-end.png

double-quotes-end.png

No second chances on what?

(Straight line backing is the easiest one. Pay attention to how the treasurer reacts to your steering wheel moves.)

double-quotes-end.png

They told us there is no Academic Probation on straight backing. You either pass or go home, since it's the most basic move to learn.

Oh. Because straight backing is easier than writing your name with your eyes closed.

You know you do actually have three chances (including your first go) at all evaluations.

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