Pondering The Last 13 Weeks...

Topic 14553 | Page 1

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Matthew T's Comment
member avatar

So here I am waiting to get into a door and be unloaded at a reciever (again) and thought I'd jot down some thoughts on my training thus far.

Orientation week at Prime in Springfield, Mo. was just a flurry of busy, busy, busy. I was particularly stressed by the fact that I'd found out I'd lost my license on the bus trip and had to somehow scramble and get a reissue sent from New Hampshire so alot of the things I was supposed to be doing had to be put aside until it arrived on Wednesday. So I crammed in all the computer time I could to get those classes done and of course, the sim training. After Wednesday, now a full 2 days behind the rest of my class, I spent on the shuttle going to and from the dmv for my tests (which I managed to pass first time, thank goodness - so no return trips there), offsite physical and drug testing, and finalizing paperwork, TWIC , etc. The next day I get a panicked call from home asking why I took all the money out of our account with my atm. Well, I hadn't. At some point during my 39 hour bus ride down my card had been scanned remotely and then used across the country for cash advances. So now we're broke and I'm halfway across the U.S. with no money coming in until I get on a truck and start getting the cash advances to live off of while on the road. I somehow managed to get down to Prime East on Saturday for the 2nd round of psd/trainer matchups and latched onto my first trainer for my psd stint of 3 weeks. That went well for the most part. I was only completely terrified for the first 3 or 4 days of driving in the real world... After that was the litany of "ALWAYS go wide if you can. Even if you're not pulling a trailer. GO WIDE!" That phrase will come back to haunt me... Jump ahead 4 weeks. At about halfway into my TnT training, been all over the lower 48 a few times, learned how to sleep in a moving truck and feeling pretty positive about my choice of careers and my driving ability, thinking to myself "Wow. You can actually do this." Well, I was on the driveline while my trainer slept, going into my 10th hour, looking forward to some chow and shuteye, and was just pulling into the receivers when I cut the corner, DIDN'T go wide and ended up jacking the trailer up onto a high curb, leaning at such an angle that the corner of the bulkhead was jammed down on top of the tractors rear tire (probably the only thing keeping the trailer from rolling over). In other words, I wasn't going anywhere. Now I've had moments of bonehead moves out here but let me tell you, that was the worst feeling when my trainer gets out of the sleeper, looks into the rear view and says, "Shut it down. You're not getting it out of there." That just about said it all. I let him down, I let the company down and I let myself down. Talk about feeling like an idiot. I beat myself up for hours, days, heck, I still look back and kick myself for being so stupid. So I got an incident. Called road assist and a tow truck dragged it out. Luckily there was no damage done, save for a few ruts in the landscape. It was quite an event for the locals. The whole crew at the receivers came out to see and take pics of what the bonehead trainee did. Ya. All I could do was lower my hat brim and keep a stone face while just wanting to explode. So here I am. Nothing eventful has happened since. Looking towards the last 5000 miles before going solo and wondering if I can do this by myself. I know how to do all the things I'm meant to do but not very well. My mind races with all the "what ifs" that might occur. What if I get lost and can't get turned around? What if I can't find a place to park? What if a dock is so tight I can barely maneuver? But then I tell myself, look what you've already overcome, a 39 hour bus trip from hell, scrambling to replace your license, getting through your bank account being hacked, tests, tests and more tests, driving all over the USA in a big rig seeing parts of the country you may never have been able to see, jacking a massive trailer into a precarious position... hey you've got your cdl (the golden ticket!), you're almost through your training, in another week or so you'll be in your own truck! So ya, I've made some mistakes, will definitely make more, but I've learned from them. I've done something I'd never thought I'd be able to do. I've taken a challenge and succeeded. Just roll with it. Now on to worrying about something more tangible... like winter driving in thr Northeast.

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.

Bulkhead:

A strong wall-like structure placed at the front of a flatbed trailer (or on the rear of the tractor) used to protect the driver against shifting cargo during a front-end collision. May also refer to any separator within a dry or liquid trailer (also called a baffle for liquid trailers) used to partition the load.

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.

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.

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.

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.

firemedic2816's Comment
member avatar

Friendly advice I use to tell my students at the fire academy, You don't learn how to be a firefighter IN CLASS, you learn how NOT TO GET DEAD. You learn how to be a Firefighter BY DOING NEVER stop Learning the day you don't learn something is the day you turn in your gear and go else where. Don't see it as a failure, but a learning opportunity, it only becomes a mistake when we FAIL TO LEARN ....Same thing with trucking. You don't learn how to be a Commercial Vehicle Operator by sitting in a training room or training truck. You become a Commercial Vehicle Operator by doing it day in and day out.

So here I am waiting to get into a door and be unloaded at a reciever (again) and thought I'd jot down some thoughts on my training thus far.

Orientation week at Prime in Springfield, Mo. was just a flurry of busy, busy, busy. I was particularly stressed by the fact that I'd found out I'd lost my license on the bus trip and had to somehow scramble and get a reissue sent from New Hampshire so alot of the things I was supposed to be doing had to be put aside until it arrived on Wednesday. So I crammed in all the computer time I could to get those classes done and of course, the sim training. After Wednesday, now a full 2 days behind the rest of my class, I spent on the shuttle going to and from the dmv for my tests (which I managed to pass first time, thank goodness - so no return trips there), offsite physical and drug testing, and finalizing paperwork, TWIC , etc. The next day I get a panicked call from home asking why I took all the money out of our account with my atm. Well, I hadn't. At some point during my 39 hour bus ride down my card had been scanned remotely and then used across the country for cash advances. So now we're broke and I'm halfway across the U.S. with no money coming in until I get on a truck and start getting the cash advances to live off of while on the road. I somehow managed to get down to Prime East on Saturday for the 2nd round of psd/trainer matchups and latched onto my first trainer for my psd stint of 3 weeks. That went well for the most part. I was only completely terrified for the first 3 or 4 days of driving in the real world... After that was the litany of "ALWAYS go wide if you can. Even if you're not pulling a trailer. GO WIDE!" That phrase will come back to haunt me... Jump ahead 4 weeks. At about halfway into my TnT training, been all over the lower 48 a few times, learned how to sleep in a moving truck and feeling pretty positive about my choice of careers and my driving ability, thinking to myself "Wow. You can actually do this." Well, I was on the driveline while my trainer slept, going into my 10th hour, looking forward to some chow and shuteye, and was just pulling into the receivers when I cut the corner, DIDN'T go wide and ended up jacking the trailer up onto a high curb, leaning at such an angle that the corner of the bulkhead was jammed down on top of the tractors rear tire (probably the only thing keeping the trailer from rolling over). In other words, I wasn't going anywhere. Now I've had moments of bonehead moves out here but let me tell you, that was the worst feeling when my trainer gets out of the sleeper, looks into the rear view and says, "Shut it down. You're not getting it out of there." That just about said it all. I let him down, I let the company down and I let myself down. Talk about feeling like an idiot. I beat myself up for hours, days, heck, I still look back and kick myself for being so stupid. So I got an incident. Called road assist and a tow truck dragged it out. Luckily there was no damage done, save for a few ruts in the landscape. It was quite an event for the locals. The whole crew at the receivers came out to see and take pics of what the bonehead trainee did. Ya. All I could do was lower my hat brim and keep a stone face while just wanting to explode. So here I am. Nothing eventful has happened since. Looking towards the last 5000 miles before going solo and wondering if I can do this by myself. I know how to do all the things I'm meant to do but not very well. My mind races with all the "what ifs" that might occur. What if I get lost and can't get turned around? What if I can't find a place to park? What if a dock is so tight I can barely maneuver? But then I tell myself, look what you've already overcome, a 39 hour bus trip from hell, scrambling to replace your license, getting through your bank account being hacked, tests, tests and more tests, driving all over the USA in a big rig seeing parts of the country you may never have been able to see, jacking a massive trailer into a precarious position... hey you've got your cdl (the golden ticket!), you're almost through your training, in another week or so you'll be in your own truck! So ya, I've made some mistakes, will definitely make more, but I've learned from them. I've done something I'd never thought I'd be able to do. I've taken a challenge and succeeded. Just roll with it. Now on to worrying about something more tangible... like winter driving in thr Northeast.

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.

Bulkhead:

A strong wall-like structure placed at the front of a flatbed trailer (or on the rear of the tractor) used to protect the driver against shifting cargo during a front-end collision. May also refer to any separator within a dry or liquid trailer (also called a baffle for liquid trailers) used to partition the load.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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