Beat Cancer Now I Waant To Get Into Trucking. Need Some Answers Please...

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Arifani's Comment
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I have been down for some years fighting neck cancer. I am currently disabled and collecting disability. I want to rebuild my life and I want to get off disability and get out there and earn a living. I am concerned on how the trucking companies will treat me since I don't have any job records since 6 years ago. I don't think I can get references going back that far. I know I can do this job and I want to get off disability very much ! 1. Should I just come clean with the recruiters and tell them my medical history ? 2. Are they going to give me the same opportunities as others ( as long as I pass DOT exam , etc.) ? 3. Are there certain companies that might be more willing to give a 55 year old , formerly disabled man a shot ?

I'm looking forward to your feedback , I'm really eager to get into trucking school and get out there on the road !

thanks . Arifani

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.

Pianoman's Comment
member avatar

First of all, welcome and congrats on beating the cancer! I think it's cool that you're getting a second chance on life and you are determined not to waste it.

As far as trucking, your two biggest obstacles are going to be the time that has elapsed since your last job, and any meds you might be taking. If you've been on disability the whole time, the time issue might not be a big deal to some companies. From what I've seen, a lot of companies just want to see documentation showing what you've been up to during that time--in your case, documents showing you were on disability. Then again, six years is a long time, so you may still get mostly closed doors. I don't think the medical history will close too many doors for you, as long as you are healthy enough to pass a DOT physical currently. Your age won't be a problem at all--we have several members on here who started trucking in their 60s.

I don't know how much you know about the trucking industry and lifestyle at this point, so here are a few links to get you started.

One thing I want to point out is that you should NOT go ahead and start attending truck driving school before you know if anyone will hire you. If you get your CDL and then end up not using it for a year or two, you will only have to go back to school again when you are finally ready to drive. Your CDL is still good, but most companies want either recent BTW (behind-the-wheel) experience or very recent attendance of a truck driving school. Insurance companies are pretty picky about having a 160-hour school certificate as part of trucking companies' hiring criteria.

There are two ways to go about schooling. The first is to go to a private trucking school (or community college that offers a course) and pay your own way (some people are eligible for certain grants). If you go this route, you'll want to get prehires from some trucking companies before you even finish school. It's not a guarantee of employment, but it's about the closest you can get in this industry. The second route is to attend a company-sponsored training program instead of a private school. Basically, some companies have their own training program to get you your CDL and they will cover the cost of the program as long as you commit to work for them for a period of time, usually around a year.

Here is a list of company-sponsored training programs:

Paid CDL Training Programs

Lots of information on this site, so browse around to your heart's content!

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.

Prehire:

What Exactly Is A Pre-Hire Letter?

Pre-hire letters are acceptance letters from trucking companies to students, or even potential students, to verify placement. The trucking companies are saying in writing that the student, or potential student, appears to meet the company's minimum hiring requirements and is welcome to attend their orientation at the company’s expense once he or she graduates from truck driving school and has their CDL in hand.

We have an excellent article that will help you Understand The Pre-Hire Process.

A Pre-Hire Letter Is Not A Guarantee Of Employment

The people that receive a pre-hire letter are people who meet the company's minimum hiring requirements, but it is not an employment contract. It is an invitation to orientation, and the orientation itself is a prerequisite to employment.

During the orientation you will get a physical, drug screen, and background check done. These and other qualifications must be met before someone in orientation is officially hired.

Prehires:

What Exactly Is A Pre-Hire Letter?

Pre-hire letters are acceptance letters from trucking companies to students, or even potential students, to verify placement. The trucking companies are saying in writing that the student, or potential student, appears to meet the company's minimum hiring requirements and is welcome to attend their orientation at the company’s expense once he or she graduates from truck driving school and has their CDL in hand.

We have an excellent article that will help you Understand The Pre-Hire Process.

A Pre-Hire Letter Is Not A Guarantee Of Employment

The people that receive a pre-hire letter are people who meet the company's minimum hiring requirements, but it is not an employment contract. It is an invitation to orientation, and the orientation itself is a prerequisite to employment.

During the orientation you will get a physical, drug screen, and background check done. These and other qualifications must be met before someone in orientation is officially hired.

Company-sponsored Training:

A Company-Sponsored Training Program is a school that is owned and operated by a trucking company.

The schooling often requires little or no money up front. Instead of paying up-front tuition you will sign an agreement to work for the company for a specified amount of time after graduation, usually around a year, at a slightly lower rate of pay in order to pay for the training.

If you choose to quit working for the company before your year is up, they will normally require you to pay back a prorated amount of money for the schooling. The amount you pay back will be comparable to what you would have paid if you went to an independently owned school.

Company-sponsored training can be an excellent way to get your career underway if you can't afford the tuition up front for private schooling.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Arifani's Comment
member avatar

Thanks for all the info ! Do you think I should just be straight with the recruiter and tell them I've been disabled ? I really want to get off disability give up the disability checks and get out there and earn a paycheck. I've been studying the trucking field for a long time and really look forward to getting out on the road.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Luke, being up front and straight is really your only option. Look, there are going to be a few companies that won't take you, but there are a lot of them that will. Do not lie about anything. Do not omit anything if it is specifically asked about. You will be surprised what length these trucking companies will go to when investigating your background. They are under some pretty heavy scrutiny from the federal regulations, and the way lawyers dig up stuff from your past if you get involved in an accident, are all things that push them to go the extra mile when investigating you for employment.

Don't sweat the details just answer any questions on the applications honestly.

Are you aware that you can send out a shotgun style application that will go to as many companies as you choose? Just Click Here, and follow through the application. That is the best way to get your information out there and start applying. It will save you from filling out a lot of individual applications unnecessarily.

Also, you'll want to check out our Truck Drivers Career Guide. You'll find a lot of valuable information in there.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Arifani's Comment
member avatar

I am thinking about getting a DOT physical done with a doctor I know. If I pass I will take the next step , if I fail then I will find out why and find a solution. After a passing DOT I think I'll have more confidence to really get the ball rolling. Does this make sense ? I appreciate the feedback. thanks , Luke

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.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Luke, it certainly makes sense considering your history. You need to realize though, whenever you get hired, your employer is almost certain to put you through another physical with their own choice of physician.

Han Solo Cup (aka, Pablo)'s Comment
member avatar

I was trying to reply just as OS was replying. His point is correct; any potential employer will put you through another physical. However, in your case, I'd go for it and get one done just for your peace of mind. I've been monitoring my BP so I can work on making lifestyle changes to improve it. By starting now, I'll be sure to be ready when the time comes and this is your case too. Your doc may find a thing or two you need to work on to ensure you don't fail a company sponsored physical. I agree with you... get a physical done now to see where you stand.

Arifani's Comment
member avatar

Hey Guys , thank you for the info. I really appreciate your insight and knowledge.

thanks Luke

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