Be Warned About Automatic/Manual CDL

Topic 1772 | Page 4

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Brett Aquila's Comment
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Sygma (Clackamas OR location) has mostly 10 speed manual transmissions, but are buying automatics now because they are getting better mileage

And in two years they'll be going back to ordering manuals because the automatics are so expensive to maintain and unreliable. I'm really surprised anyone is going to automatics at this point because most (if not all) of the major companies have been either using them or testing them for many years now and have pretty much abandoned them altogether at this point.

I drove an automatic for several years with US Xpress and if you would've asked me back in the day I would have figured by now all of the major companies would be using them. I thought for sure they'd iron out the wrinkles and get em rock solid but it never happened for whatever reason.

Scott B.'s Comment
member avatar

USX recruiter at my school last week was offering a $100 cash to any student driver given an automatic immediately upon finishing with trainer. He said he's never had anyone call him on the offer.

Gary C.'s Comment
member avatar

Central Refrigerated just got in a load of new Cascadia Evolutions at Salt Lake while I was there for training. Around 6-8 of them that I saw, maybe more. From what I'm hearing around the terminal , they're phasing out the red/black tractors in favor of white with the Swift merger, as well as the Volvo's, and their new company trucks will likely be all or almost all automanual.

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.

Pat M.'s Comment
member avatar

This is actually a federal restriction and not a state restriction.

Subpart H - Tests

§ 383.135Passing knowledge and skills tests.

(5) If a driver applicant who performs the skills test in a vehicle equipped with an automatic transmission is issued a CDL , a manual transmission restriction must be indicated on the license as required in §383.95(c).

FMCSA: Passing The Skills Test

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

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.

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.

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.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Hey thanks for that info Pat. I'm going to quote more of that page because there are some interesting restrictions to be aware of. Most of this won't affect anyone going to a legitimate truck driving school but for anyone considering getting their license through private lessons of some sort or renting a truck and practicing on their own (which we highly recommend against doing) this is good stuff to know:

This is straight off the FMCSA website:

(3) If a driver applicant who performs the skills test in a vehicle not equipped with any type of air brake system is issued a CDL , an air brake restriction must be indicated on the license as required in §383.95(a).

(4) If a driver applicant who performs the skills test in a vehicle equipped with air over hydraulic brakes is issued a CDL, a full air brake restriction must be indicated on the license as required in §383.95(b).

(5) If a driver applicant who performs the skills test in a vehicle equipped with an automatic transmission is issued a CDL, a manual transmission restriction must be indicated on the license as required in §383.95(c).

(6) If a driver applicant who performs the skills test in a combination vehicle requiring a Group A CDL equipped with any non-fifth wheel connection is issued a CDL, a tractor-trailer restriction must be indicated on the license as required in §383.95(d).

(7) If a driver applicant wants to remove any of the restrictions in paragraphs (b)(3) through (5) of this section, the applicant does not have to retake the complete skills test. The State may administer a modified skills test that demonstrates that the applicant can safely and effectively operate the vehicle’s full air brakes, air over hydraulic brakes, and/or manual transmission. In addition, to remove the air brake or full air brake restriction, the applicant must successfully perform the air brake pre-trip inspection and pass the air brake knowledge test.

(8) If a driver applicant wants to remove the tractor-trailer restriction in paragraph (b)(6) of this section, the applicant must retake all three skills tests in a representative tractor-trailer.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.
Turbo Dan's Comment
member avatar

Been there done this, 383.95,,, says to remove an air brake restriction , they only require you to take the written and pretrip test, thats the Feds, and say thats all the states "MAY" require,, IL made me take the written (of course) , pretrip, skills and road test over for basically a new 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.
Jopa's Comment
member avatar
I thought for sure they'd iron out the wrinkles and get em rock solid but it never happened for whatever reason.

Hey Brett, remember that deuce-and-a-half in the photo I sent you (and that you posted, thanks)? That was a 1951 Korean era GMC M-135 Cargo Carrier with a 302 CI In-line Six (gasoline) and a TuboHydromatic 4 speed trans with a two range transfer case (Whew!). The point being, for three years the Army tried to get around teaching guys how to drive manuals and to cut down on worn out clutches from guys riding the pedals. Didn't work. The transmissions shifted so hard you would get rocked when empty and "break" the transmission when full. After that experiment, the Army went back to full manuals. The truck in the photo went through two transmissions itself before I gave up as I didn't have the money to switch over to a manual. Guess they still haven't made the auto's work. One note, when I was running the company in San Leandro, the parent company (they have 22 satellite companies around the US) only bought Volvo (called Volvo-White back then and sold through GMC) with autos. The rigs were all 10-wheelers (never pulled trailers) with big air-moving equipment on back and were so heavy while empty that we always had to dump any debris on-site as we would be WAY too heavy for travel on public streets. Point being, the auto's in these circumstance held up just fine. Don't know what the difference is for OTR except the topography is probably much more diverse.

Jopa

smile.gif

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.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

old vintage wood log hauling truck

Awesome photo!

Yeah, ya know public transportation buses have been fully automatic for a very long time. And someone the other day mentioned their company bought new trucks that were fully automatic - no clutch or anything. The automatics I drove at US Xpress were actually manual transmissions with computer-controlled clutching and shifting. They weren't truly automatics. But I know Allison has famously made automatics for super heavy duty operation for many years. I think the problem is that nobody has come up with an affordable automatic option yet. It seems you can get them to be strong and reliable, but not at a price trucking companies are willing to pay. Retrofitting standard transmissions with computer-controlled shifting and clutching mechanisms was apparently the cheapest alternative they could come up with but it just wasn't worth it in the end.

I guess sometimes you can't have what you want and you can't use what you can have.

BIG S's Comment
member avatar

I personally haven't heard of any companies switching to automatics. The industry is dominated by manual transmissions.

Averitt, Western..... All the big ones are switching to automatic's for fuel efficiency. As of today Averitt is not switching back to manuals per safety manager in my interview today.

Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar

Actually - the "Automatic Transmission Restriction" is part of FMCSA/CDL Regs.

http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/content/38395

Specifically - 383.95 ppg c

"(c) Manual transmission. (1) If an applicant performs the skills test in a vehicle equipped with an automatic transmission, the State must indicate on the CDL , if issued, that the person is restricted from operating a CMV equipped with a manual transmission."

So if you ROAD TEST in an automatic - your CDL will be RESTRICTED TO Automatic Transmission Equipped vehicles ONLY.

Rick

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

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.

CMV:

Commercial Motor Vehicle

A CMV is a vehicle that is used as part of a business, is involved in interstate commerce, and may fit any of these descriptions:

  • Weighs 10,001 pounds or more
  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more
  • Is designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) not for compensation
  • Is designed or used to transport 9 or more passengers (including the driver) for compensation
  • Is transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards

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.
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