It Would Be Nice If A CDL Spoke For Itself.

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Steven B.'s Comment
member avatar

There appear to be so many jobs up on a pedestal that nobody else has taken, for a long while. But then they act like I'm way out of line for inquiring. It seems to go beyond insurance (it's like a status thing—although the CDL was supposed to standardize this profession). As if I were unqualified... well hay, that's not what my license says. Whatever trucking shortage there is seems to be a consequence of hypocrisy. Just saying.

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.
Old School's Comment
member avatar
Best Answer!

Steven, you are either so misinformed, or so out of touch with reality, that I just felt I had to respond in hopes that you might be able to get yourself on the right track to gainful employment in this industry.

the CDL was supposed to standardize this profession

That is such a false understanding of what a license is for. I have a friend, who after 12 years of schooling, is a physician. He has a "license" to practice medicine. Personally I think he is a really good doctor. But, if I needed brain surgery, I wouldn't go to him for it because he has no experience doing it. His "license" may "qualify" him for it, but he's not prepared enough for that level of work. What's more important in this example is that he himself knows that he's not ready for that level of work, so he doesn't complain that people aren't coming to him for brain surgeries.

Now, I know I gave you sort of an extreme example, but it's in hopes that you will see the folly of what you're saying in your post.

Just having a CDL doesn't even come close to making you a professional truck driver. There are thousands of CDL holders who can't even get a job in the industry because they've already messed up their chances by proving to be unreliable in their first few chances that someone was willing to give them. No one jumps right into any specialized driving jobs right off the bat. We all start out with a company that is willing to take on inexperienced drivers and then we prove ourselves through hard work and dedication to getting it right. Then we can move into better jobs with better pay. To be honest with you, when a person gets their first truck driving job, it's more like trying out for a team than it is getting a job. If your dispatcher sees your not getting the hang of the job and producing much needed revenue for the company you're gonna get cut from the team.

I will likely think twice about taking them up on their offers once I have that precious "experience". Why should I care, if they don't trust me to begin with?

This issue of lack of experience has nothing to do with them "trusting you to begin with". You have nothing to offer but a piece of plastic in your back pocket. What is there to trust? Under your logic you would be more than willing to go have my friend do brain surgery on you. And I can guarantee you the outcome would be very bad! You've got to do just exactly what I'm doing right now. I'm working for a company that most trucking forums consider a poor choice, but the reality is that they were willing to give me a shot when no one else would. I'm gaining valuable experience and learning a lot about what it takes to make it in this industry. And they are giving me quite a few difficult jobs such as over size and over weight loads that will only increase my level of experience and expertise for a future time when I can get the type of job I'd really like to go for.

So much for equal opportunity employment. I will see about keeping it even though.

Equal opportunity employment laws are there to keep companies from discriminating against people for their race or gender or something such as that. Every employer in the country can make a choice based on experience or lack there of. There is absolutely nothing wrong with discriminating against someone because they have no experience. In fact, it protects the person who has no experience from dangers that they are not even aware of in a case such as yours. Do you think you can just jump right into a job hauling those wind generator blades across the country? Heck no! You might tear something up, hurt yourself, or even kill somebody because you don't know what you're doing. Experience is what gives you credibility, not a plastic card in your wallet.

Experience is a valuable thing, don't look upon it with disdain just because you don't have it.

I think you're looking in all the wrong places to get started in this industry. There are plenty of companies that take on inexperienced drivers and that's where you need to be looking. But I will warn you if you don't get a move on it they will decide you have had too much time between the time you acquired your precious little piece of plastic and then decided to go to work. Then you are going to have to fork out some more cash for a refresher course.

Best of luck to ya Steven, I've given you some solid advice, I hope you can adjust your outlook and attitude or you're gonna end up as a trucking forum troll sharing all your bad experiences with other miserable wannabe's.

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.

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.

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.
Animal's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

@ Steven B. The license is just the beginning. It means "minimum standard met". Schools and training programs are fine but they teach basics. Some are better than others. A tractor trailer weighing 80,000 pounds, about eight feet wide, almost 14 feet tall and about 70 feet long moving at 60 MPH contains a little more destructive energy than three sticks of dynamite when it comes into contact with another solid object - say a minivan with kids in it, and it takes longer than a football field to stop - under ideal conditions. Perfect brakes, perfect road and perfect tires. When was the last time any of us drove in laboratory perfect conditions - so add more stopping distance and add more destructive energy at 70 and in real world conditions. It takes more than a course at a school, passing the state's minimum qualification tests and a couple of months with a trainer to master the skills necessary to do the job properly. It takes getting out there and doing it day in and day out. Facing the situations you can't recreate in a class room or didn't come across in OTR training. It takes dedicated effort to developing your tradecraft skills and TIME (experience). Odds are 80 to 1 in favor of a first year CDL Driver being involved in an accident.

The most unpredictable thing on God's green earth is a four wheeler. That has been so since trucks and cars began sharing the road and will be so for a time nobody can see. It will get worse as portable technology continues to make it possible to do all manner of distracting things on hand held devices - held in the hands of people driving vehicles that haven't had the first bit of training since they were in driver's ed as a teenager, yet outnumber professional drivers 10 to 1 on the highway. It's a FACT of life as a trucker, yet the LAST thing any of want to do is bump into one of them, no matter how dumb a thing they just did. The results are often catastrophic and tragic.

So yes, trucking companies, and their insurance carriers DO favor time in the safe practice of the art and science of truck driving over novices and beginners, as do other professions. Experienced Carpenters, Welders, Brick Layers, Computer Technicians, Mechanics, Nurses - you name it and everyone gets paid more and is a favored hire when they have experience. That's just life. Not just in trucking but everywhere. No matter what your profession; if you are new to it you have to pay your dues learning to actually master what they can't teach you in school or measure on a state exam that says: "OK he meets the MINIMUM standard". That takes time and years of practice, and YES you won't get paid as much as those that have more experience while you're gaining that experience. But you'll still get paid. If someone told you otherwise - I'm sorry but you were misled. Perhaps misled in life's realities in general, or an attitude problem but giving you the benefit of the doubt - just misled. Now it's up to you how you deal with reality. B!+ch - or get down to mastering the skills and gaining the experience that can lead to a very fulfilling, challenging and rewarding career. Trucking is what YOU make of IT; not what IT makes of YOU. Choice its yours. Nobody else's.

Peace and blessings be with you. I mean that sincerely.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

Steven, it seems you have a very common misperception that obtaining your CDL means you've actually proven you're a competent truck driver and entitles you to any job you'd like to have.

I think one of the hardest lessons that every new driver has to swallow is the harsh reality that schools only teach about 2% of what you'll need to know to be at the level of the veterans out there. In other words, as hard as it was to get that CDL, that was a cake walk compared with the learning curve that lies ahead.

You're in good company though. A lot of drivers feel that way. They think that CDL means more than it does. Any clown can shift a truck or get it parked on a sunny afternoon in June. But carrying only 10,000 pounds of freight (making that truck like a giant sailboat) across I-80 in Wyoming in the winter with snow-covered roads and 60 mph crosswinds for 200+ miles is not something you've proven you can do by taking a 10 minute road test and doing a few backing maneuvers for the DOT.

Let me say one last thing. A lot of new drivers never make it through their initial training on the road with their first company and the #1 reason is because they think they know more than they do. They won't listen, won't learn, and won't do as they're told. They think they've already proven they know how to handle a rig and they know the laws so they're ready to be a big time driver now. Nothing could be further from the truth and hopefully you'll figure that out quickly. Nothing good comes from thinking you know more than you do or thinking you're better than you are. Stay humble and expect to prove yourself continuously for quite a while. Even once you've survived your initial training on the road you then have to prove yourself to your dispatcher in order to earn the best runs, the best miles, and the special favors that the top tier drivers have earned.

Proving yourself in trucking is everything. It only takes one moment of inattention or one tiny miscalculation to ruin a lot of lives in an instant. Nobody is going to give a rookie the benefit of the doubt with 80,000 pounds of rolling steel and minivans full of children everywhere you look. You have to earn it by proving you can do it over time.

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.

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.
Starcar's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

Steven B. There is a CDL school in Pasco, WA that pumps out proud, know-nothing cdl holders every 2 weeks. When I went there, they were pumping out proud, no nothing cdl holders in 5 days. I challenged the class, and got mine in 4 days. So why was I special ?? I'd driven truck before...farm truck, cattle truck, logging truck. But all in the safe confines of Oregon. Was I prepared to get behind the wheel of our Pete and head across the US with a trailer load of someone else's crap ?? Hell no !! I was a daily threat to myself and others for weeks and weeks....WHY ?? Because, I knew I'd driven truck before, so I thought all I needed was a cdl, when what I really needed was a swift kick in the azz, and alot of reality check. Looking back on it now, I marvel at the difference between driving a log truck, pulling logs, down a dirt/gravel road to the mill, and driving a Petercar, pulling a load of freight down 2 lane roads in NC. If I'd wrecked with the logs, I'd have hurt me, and the log truck. If I'd wrecked anywhere else on a public road, I could have cost people that were loved their lives. Driving is a PRIVILEGE, not a right. And driving a Big Rig is one hell of a privilege that you have to earn by convincing the outfit that owns it that you won't wreck it/kill yourself/ or others..Its a fact you will have to live with. When you go to get your first driving job, ****y may get you thru the door of the building, but I doubt it gets you thru the door of their truck....

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.
Steven B.'s Comment
member avatar

I will likely think twice about taking them up on their offers once I have that precious "experience". Why should I care, if they don't trust me to begin with?

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.

Steven B.'s Comment
member avatar

So much for equal opportunity employment. I will see about keeping it even though.

Old School's Comment
member avatar
Best Answer!

Steven, you are either so misinformed, or so out of touch with reality, that I just felt I had to respond in hopes that you might be able to get yourself on the right track to gainful employment in this industry.

the CDL was supposed to standardize this profession

That is such a false understanding of what a license is for. I have a friend, who after 12 years of schooling, is a physician. He has a "license" to practice medicine. Personally I think he is a really good doctor. But, if I needed brain surgery, I wouldn't go to him for it because he has no experience doing it. His "license" may "qualify" him for it, but he's not prepared enough for that level of work. What's more important in this example is that he himself knows that he's not ready for that level of work, so he doesn't complain that people aren't coming to him for brain surgeries.

Now, I know I gave you sort of an extreme example, but it's in hopes that you will see the folly of what you're saying in your post.

Just having a CDL doesn't even come close to making you a professional truck driver. There are thousands of CDL holders who can't even get a job in the industry because they've already messed up their chances by proving to be unreliable in their first few chances that someone was willing to give them. No one jumps right into any specialized driving jobs right off the bat. We all start out with a company that is willing to take on inexperienced drivers and then we prove ourselves through hard work and dedication to getting it right. Then we can move into better jobs with better pay. To be honest with you, when a person gets their first truck driving job, it's more like trying out for a team than it is getting a job. If your dispatcher sees your not getting the hang of the job and producing much needed revenue for the company you're gonna get cut from the team.

I will likely think twice about taking them up on their offers once I have that precious "experience". Why should I care, if they don't trust me to begin with?

This issue of lack of experience has nothing to do with them "trusting you to begin with". You have nothing to offer but a piece of plastic in your back pocket. What is there to trust? Under your logic you would be more than willing to go have my friend do brain surgery on you. And I can guarantee you the outcome would be very bad! You've got to do just exactly what I'm doing right now. I'm working for a company that most trucking forums consider a poor choice, but the reality is that they were willing to give me a shot when no one else would. I'm gaining valuable experience and learning a lot about what it takes to make it in this industry. And they are giving me quite a few difficult jobs such as over size and over weight loads that will only increase my level of experience and expertise for a future time when I can get the type of job I'd really like to go for.

So much for equal opportunity employment. I will see about keeping it even though.

Equal opportunity employment laws are there to keep companies from discriminating against people for their race or gender or something such as that. Every employer in the country can make a choice based on experience or lack there of. There is absolutely nothing wrong with discriminating against someone because they have no experience. In fact, it protects the person who has no experience from dangers that they are not even aware of in a case such as yours. Do you think you can just jump right into a job hauling those wind generator blades across the country? Heck no! You might tear something up, hurt yourself, or even kill somebody because you don't know what you're doing. Experience is what gives you credibility, not a plastic card in your wallet.

Experience is a valuable thing, don't look upon it with disdain just because you don't have it.

I think you're looking in all the wrong places to get started in this industry. There are plenty of companies that take on inexperienced drivers and that's where you need to be looking. But I will warn you if you don't get a move on it they will decide you have had too much time between the time you acquired your precious little piece of plastic and then decided to go to work. Then you are going to have to fork out some more cash for a refresher course.

Best of luck to ya Steven, I've given you some solid advice, I hope you can adjust your outlook and attitude or you're gonna end up as a trucking forum troll sharing all your bad experiences with other miserable wannabe's.

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.

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.

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.
Starcar's Comment
member avatar

Trucking companies don't run the trucking world....INSURANCE COMPANIES DO. They WANT experienced drivers in their trucks...and that is exactly what there isn't enough of to hire. That being said...once you get the experience of a year driving, you are GOLDEN....you can go anywhere, and get a job driving a truck...and the companies KNOW that, and if they don't treat their good experienced drivers well...they leave..and then the companies are advertising again...So you are right...when you get that experience...look long and hard at any company that is hot to hire you...because there was a reason the experienced driver that left you his seat isn't there any more....

Steven B.'s Comment
member avatar

Best of luck to ya Steven, I've given you some solid advice, I hope you can adjust your outlook and attitude or you're gonna end up as a trucking forum troll sharing all your bad experiences with other miserable wannabe's.

Gee, thanks (sounds like innuendo to me). The fact is, there was no difference in the nature of those jobs I referred to, which required "experience" (they are no more specialized than ones I magically qualify for, based on that worthless piece of plastic).

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Steven B.'s Comment
member avatar

Trucking companies don't run the trucking world....INSURANCE COMPANIES DO. They WANT experienced drivers in their trucks...

3 months, 6 months, 1 year, 2 years? They aren't even consistent with that. The only thing consistent here is the license, but I digress.

Steven B.'s Comment
member avatar

Apparently my life experience does not qualify my having a "realistic" opinion here—I have been in the OR, by the way.

Steven B.'s Comment
member avatar

Anyhow, I speak for myself so I can appreciate that my license is meaningful (as are your opinions).

Animal's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

@ Steven B. The license is just the beginning. It means "minimum standard met". Schools and training programs are fine but they teach basics. Some are better than others. A tractor trailer weighing 80,000 pounds, about eight feet wide, almost 14 feet tall and about 70 feet long moving at 60 MPH contains a little more destructive energy than three sticks of dynamite when it comes into contact with another solid object - say a minivan with kids in it, and it takes longer than a football field to stop - under ideal conditions. Perfect brakes, perfect road and perfect tires. When was the last time any of us drove in laboratory perfect conditions - so add more stopping distance and add more destructive energy at 70 and in real world conditions. It takes more than a course at a school, passing the state's minimum qualification tests and a couple of months with a trainer to master the skills necessary to do the job properly. It takes getting out there and doing it day in and day out. Facing the situations you can't recreate in a class room or didn't come across in OTR training. It takes dedicated effort to developing your tradecraft skills and TIME (experience). Odds are 80 to 1 in favor of a first year CDL Driver being involved in an accident.

The most unpredictable thing on God's green earth is a four wheeler. That has been so since trucks and cars began sharing the road and will be so for a time nobody can see. It will get worse as portable technology continues to make it possible to do all manner of distracting things on hand held devices - held in the hands of people driving vehicles that haven't had the first bit of training since they were in driver's ed as a teenager, yet outnumber professional drivers 10 to 1 on the highway. It's a FACT of life as a trucker, yet the LAST thing any of want to do is bump into one of them, no matter how dumb a thing they just did. The results are often catastrophic and tragic.

So yes, trucking companies, and their insurance carriers DO favor time in the safe practice of the art and science of truck driving over novices and beginners, as do other professions. Experienced Carpenters, Welders, Brick Layers, Computer Technicians, Mechanics, Nurses - you name it and everyone gets paid more and is a favored hire when they have experience. That's just life. Not just in trucking but everywhere. No matter what your profession; if you are new to it you have to pay your dues learning to actually master what they can't teach you in school or measure on a state exam that says: "OK he meets the MINIMUM standard". That takes time and years of practice, and YES you won't get paid as much as those that have more experience while you're gaining that experience. But you'll still get paid. If someone told you otherwise - I'm sorry but you were misled. Perhaps misled in life's realities in general, or an attitude problem but giving you the benefit of the doubt - just misled. Now it's up to you how you deal with reality. B!+ch - or get down to mastering the skills and gaining the experience that can lead to a very fulfilling, challenging and rewarding career. Trucking is what YOU make of IT; not what IT makes of YOU. Choice its yours. Nobody else's.

Peace and blessings be with you. I mean that sincerely.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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