Difficulty Of Practical Exam / Road Test In Different States

Topic 20110 | Page 1

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AndMilesToGo's Comment
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My class has been hearing that we have it pretty tough here in Mass and keep hearing horror stories about students failing the registry exam for things like forgetting to use 3-point contact getting in or out of the vehicle, or slipping up and saying the low air warning alarm will come on at 60 instead of before 60. The air brake test is 6 - 7 steps and the pre-trip is the entire truck.

Is this how it is in other states or is it easier?

Brett Aquila's Comment
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It will vary from state to state, and of course from examiner to examiner. And you have to realize that if an examiner passed everyone they tested they wouldn't have a job very long.

It's not uncommon for people to fail the CDL exam and it's not a big deal at all. You simply schedule another, and keep scheduling them, until you pass.

People tend to get really nervous about testing but in this industry the testing is the easy part. Remember, one moment of inattention or one missed sign on any given day can mean the difference between life or death. There's quite a bit of pressure associated with this job. So it's good to start learning to control your nerves early on in the process. You're going to need that ability.

Study and prepare for the exam as if any little mistake will mean failure. Often times in this industry that's how it works in the real world. You don't get to make many mistakes.


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.
Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
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When it comes to the pretrip, wording is crucial... The in cab inspection MUST include the air brakes or you fail. You must do the air brake test correctly or you fail. With the rest it is a a matter of accumulating points before you fail. Example, 13 points and you fail the backing. 32 points (I think) and you fail the road test.

I do know someone who went through the entire pretrip, and did it almost flawlessly but said "this concludes my in cab inspection" but did not do the air brakes. He thought he was going to be asked to do it separately. Automatic fail.

Yes it is true they would probably fail you for coming out of the truck face forward---its a safety issue. If you can't get out of the truck safely, will you drive it safely?

During the backing portion you get 10 points of you GOAL and leave the door open....13 points fails the backing test. So don't do it.

I tested in MO and we seemed to test on or need to know a lot more than my friend in SC. Even though our pretrip could be sections of the truck, we needed to know the entire truck because we didn't know which section the examiner would test us on.

Good luck

Big Scott (CFI's biggest 's Comment
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Understand that during the pretrip test you need to be prepaired to do the whole truck. The reason you have to learn "the script" is so the examiner knows you know what you are doing. Doing a good pretrip of your truck and trailer helps keep you rollong safely. It will also help prevent tickets. It's important that you know the parts. That you know what to look for under the hood, what and where the air system parts are. The examiner wants to see that you will be a safe driver, who knows the basics of controlling an 80,000 pound death trap. Knowing that the low air pressure alarm and light comes on before 60 PSI and not at 60 PSI is a big difference. Getting in and out of the truck properly can save you from breaking a leg or ankle. The one time I didn't use three points of contact, I fell from the top step to the street. I was lucky that I only hurt my pride. While you are in school, you need to study and memorize "the script" for the pretrip. It is up to the state and individual examiner what to test you on. Study, practice, relax. Good luck.


Operating While Intoxicated

Penny's Comment
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In SC, there are several things that would autofsil you, including the things you mentioned.

The pretrip was the entire truck (front, back and one side, but if exhaust is in opposite side it must be included or any other thing that is on one side and not the other) and the time limit was 45 minutes (too long, autofail) and brake test must be perfect...before 60 and around 40 was proper wording and was an auto fail if not said correctly.

If you got out of the truck face forward without doing it safely (three point touch), yep, auto fail.

Backing was a straight back, blind side parallel, left offset. The powers that be considered those the harder maneuvers do that's what they chose. The eliminate alley docking due to space at DMVs. From what I've experienced out here, the techniques learned in those maneuvers are helpful in alley docking. I just need to learn to apply what I've learned better!! Accumulate over 12 points on all three, fail. You do get a free pull-up on each maneuver. Well, one on straight and two free ones on the other two. I didn't accumulate any extra points and I wasn't that great at backing.

The driving test was about 30 miles and took a little over an hour for me due to traffic and rain. It included places with tight turns with curbs and 27 red lights, highway driving, etc. break traffic rules like run a stop sign, stop with your trailer on s railroad track or something like impede traffic and those are autofails. Can't recite hazardous materials Railroad commentary and you lose something like 18 of your 30 points. They only ask if you are getting the endorsement, though.

Don't let it scare you though, I was well prepared and I felt I was the slow learner in my class. So learn it all to the best of your ability and you'll do fine.


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.


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.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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