CDL Training Experience :(

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kayakngal's Comment
member avatar

When I decided to make the life altering choice to drive a semi I put a lot of thought and planning into it. I was working two jobs (1 full, 1 part time) so, I had very little free time to do anything more then research schools, financially plan and get prepared. My two weeks notices, finances, house/animal sitter and make sure I had all I needed to get started on the the new journey. Because of the school I chose I also needed to find a place to rent, for the duration of school, that was economical. I spent the majority of my free time doing all the necessary planning so, I was not able to do much studying regarding my CDL training.

I chose the school I did for a few reasons some of which were how professional they were on the telephone, the information provided on their website and the cost. I had never been to the school before the day I started training - it's 5 hours away from where I live. Anyway, what I wanted to share was my experiences there.

Not only was it my experience but the experience of all the trainees in my class. I wondered at the time, and even now, if it was a normal/typical experience of CDL training school. And, I'm not going to be able to get into any lengthy examples or stories because it would take up too much time, and I just want to share what really became an issue for everyone I was in class with - some more than others (7 out of 9 to be exact).

From our first day in the yard until the day we graduated we were screamed at and, I don't mean yelled at - I literally mean screaming. He would jump into the drivers window and scream at the driver who had made an error backing up, who hit a cone, who couldn't figure something out right away, etc. He didn't seem to understand that we were clueless and literally had no idea what we were doing. He would ask (while screaming) someone repetively "why did you do that?" to which they would usually answer "I don't know" because we didn't. That's why we were there!

I almost quit the second week when the trainer jumped in the cab, screamed while spitting, at one of the students for doing something stupid in the yard. Not life threatening just stupid. Had I not already invested money in the whole planning, rental and training I would have headed home due to the total lack of professionalism. The verbal abuse was beyond what I can describe in a posting here. I was the only female so I was actually treated a bit better then the men however, he did scream at me twice for purely ignorant reasons. All the screaming did was create an atmosphere of fear, defensiveness and doubt. Everyone there had invested their money in this training so they couldn't leave. But I guarantee not one person from my class would recommend the school oh, and a few from the class before us who didn't pass with their classmates, so were in our group until they did.

During the entire training I can honestly say the screaming trainer assisted me in a calm and professional manner TWICE because, I requested him to calm down. TWICE in over a month! And, sadly I was the only person he did this with while everyone else endured the screaming. Some men he was much harder on than others - it was dependent on skill, if someone needed a lot of guidance they were humiliated, screamed at and discourged from asking for assistance, because help came in the form of the above. The two men who had a level of skill that didn't require a lot of guidance weren't treated as poorly. It was truly the worst training experience of my entire life. I attended trade schools in the 80's and college was usually professional - the worst would be an instructor who didn't show up for classes. Yes, it happens even at reputable accredited colleges.

The CDL school had two trainers. One yard and one road. The trainer for the road was professonial, calm and assertive with the students. He let us know when, how and why we screwed up. He was the only saving grace of the entire experience. If it wasn't for him and a few of my classmates, who had prior knowledge and experience, then there's no way I could have learned anything at that particular school (I'm so grateful to my classmates). I'm sorry to report negatively but it's true (I'm still in contact with all classmates and I'm certain they each agree).

We spent a lot of money to be trained in a professional manner and I regret the training experience. The screaming was entirely unnecessary. I would recommend, if I could, that the trainer who screams remain in the office and hire a new trainer for the yard. He sincerely should not be training students in the yard however, from the aspect of the business office, and over the phone, he displays a professionalism that makes it hard to believe he's the same person when he's in the yard training students. What's sad is that he finds his behaviour funny. It's not. Truly - it is not.

Can I say anything positive about my training? The "road trainer" was great and would answer any questions. The cost was decent compaired with other schools however, if that's the only reason you choose this school you need to study and get some experience in a semi BEFORE you attend school there. That way all they're doing is providing you with the truck to accomplish the task. Well, this was a bit of open journaling and I appreciate the opportunity to share. Now, I'm just excited to start a new career. Best of luck to all new drivers!

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.

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.

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.

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Oh My God!!!

I would love to say that's unbelievable. I'd love to say I've never heard of such treatment and a total lack of professionalism. But sadly, this is far more common that anyone would care to admit. In fact, it was only two days ago I received a private email from a former student at a company-sponsored program who went out on the road with a trainer that would not only scream and cuss at him constantly, but was even pulling on his ears and slapping him in the back of the head while he was driving.

I'm gonna send you a private message later this morning. I want to ask you a couple things.

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.
kayakngal's Comment
member avatar

Oh My God!!!

I would love to say that's unbelievable. I'd love to say I've never heard of such treatment and a total lack of professionalism. But sadly, this is far more common that anyone would care to admit. In fact, it was only two days ago I received a private email from a former student at a company-sponsored program who went out on the road with a trainer that would not only scream and cuss at him constantly, but was even pulling on his ears and slapping him in the back of the head while he was driving.

I'm gonna send you a private message later this morning. I want to ask you a couple things.

Wow, I figured it must be common to some degree for him to believe his behaviour was humorous. If he had ever laid a hand on anyone I truly think things would have gone to another level - I don't think the men in my class would have tolerated anything physical. We had a very hard time dealing with the verbal. I would have called authorities if I were physically "reprimanded" by a trainer. Crazy. There were some people, who I never met, from prior classes that were said to find his behaviour funny. Again, I never met those people but the men I went to school with were decent, hard working family men for the most part and, we definitely did not find any humor in the radical training method. I'm not prone to drama. I am prone to a sensible methodology and it's never sensible to treat others, especially who are paying your salary, in such a manner.

With that said, and on a positive not, I did attain my CDL although I had to fight to get the training I needed to get it and, I think I'm going to enjoy exploring the country so I'm excited to move on to the next chapter. That one was bad but it stilled opened the doors I'm getting ready to step through. They say "it takes five positives to neutralize one negative" so, I'm on number two - three more to go and the experience will be forgotten. :)

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

It's just sad that people are so infantile. Training for a brand new career can be a tremendous strain already. Training for a trucking career is 10 times more so because of the risk involved.

But I guess you know better than most why I tell people to always talk to the current students at any school they're considering attending. It would have been nice if someone would have given you the heads up that the guy's a lunatic.

There are very few natural leaders, and very few natural teachers. Unfortunately, the world's demand for both exceeds the supply so we get stuck with clowns like that sometimes.

One of the most important things you have to be able to do in trucking is shake things off and stay focused on moving forward. So many times a driver will have a day get off to a bad start and they just let it get to em. Now they're aggravated and impatient and everything that doesn't go quite right makes it worse. You can be sure a lot of accidents on the highway and regrettable decisions weren't caused by something that happened just a few minutes ago, but by a small series of incidents that happened throughout that day.

Hopefully the trainer you get when you get out there will be great. I had a great one and that sure made learning so much more enjoyable. But either way, you can't let it stop you from getting where you want to go in life.

Special K, aka Kathy's Comment
member avatar

Wow Kgal, so sorry that things went so wrong on so many levels for you. Kudos to you for keeping your cool and making it through, says a lot about what a strong woman you are! Good Luck with everything and I really hope that I run into (not literally) at a truck stop some day!

kayakngal's Comment
member avatar

Wow Kgal, so sorry that things went so wrong on so many levels for you. Kudos to you for keeping your cool and making it through, says a lot about what a strong woman you are! Good Luck with everything and I really hope that I run into (not literally) at a truck stop some day!

Your comment made me laugh "not literally run into me"! Yeah, I look forward to meeting you on the road too. And I guess it does say something about me however, to be totally honest it really says what I already know - I'm not spending that kind of money and walking away empty handed, lol. I wanted my CDL license.

Success! :)

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.
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