Already Have CDL A, No CDL Schooling, 48 Yrold Career Change Worried About Orientation.

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rolln@mo's Comment
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Hi, new here and already enjoy the articles. Job career change at 48 because of economy, but seriously do not think I will have a problem with the lifestyle. My specific situation is: I got my CDL A by working with a county road crew. They paid for us to get a CDL B, so I thought while they were paying I would take my CDL A and got it. I have barely used it, and my last job paid for my DOT med. cert. and had me do some tight local hauling, driving over local scales ect.. but no serious OTR the road. So I told all the company's this when I applied. I had a company recruiter call and tell me I was invited to their "orientation dance" in a week. For me they are calling it a "refresher course", 10.5 days. I am familiar with military recruiters, and had never thought of trucker recruiters being the same until I starting looking at sites like this one. This is my dilemma, I'am worried about the recruiter not telling me everything about the requirements when I get there in my particular situation. My driving record and criminal record is clean for past 10 years and I meet their base requirements on the web page, but worry about surprises she is not telling me about. This company's terminal where I have to go is several hundred miles away, they are paying all expenses but my meals and if it doesn't work out I have been unemployed for awhile and that would be a lick. Thanks, worried in Mo.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Welcome aboard!

The general rule with recruiters is if you can't get it in writing then you can't count on it. So do your best to gather the information you can and go into it with a great attitude. Just be patient and let the process play out. You'll likely find a few things that your recruiter wasn't exactly straight-forward about, but that's just how it goes sometimes. Shouldn't be anything critical.

rolln@mo's Comment
member avatar

Welcome aboard!

The general rule with recruiters is if you can't get it in writing then you can't count on it. So do your best to gather the information you can and go into it with a great attitude. Just be patient and let the process play out. You'll likely find a few things that your recruiter wasn't exactly straight-forward about, but that's just how it goes sometimes. Shouldn't be anything critical.

Thanks, Brett for the encouragement, just a little worried about the managements expectations of me right off the bat. I know with the little bit I have in experience and a little professional hands on will take me far fast, was just worried about initial dance.

Thanks

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Don't sweat the details!

They know you are a beginner, that's why they do the training thing anyway.

I've always said the best training I ever got was once they turned me loose in my own truck. Seriously, that is when I started learning how all this comes together. I had a nut for a trainer. He was able to teach me the things I needed to know about the qualcomm , turning in my paperwork, adjusting to life on the road, and communicating with dispatch. These are the things I didn't really have a clue about. Learning to drive a truck and being efficient at your job all falls into place during that first six months to a year of driving and getting your hands dirty at the job so to speak.

Relax! Do your best and prove yourself, not only to them, but also to yourself. Be careful and cautious and you will be just fine.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

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.

rolln@mo's Comment
member avatar

Don't sweat the details!

They know you are a beginner, that's why they do the training thing anyway.

I've always said the best training I ever got was once they turned me loose in my own truck. Seriously, that is when I started learning how all this comes together. I had a nut for a trainer. He was able to teach me the things I needed to know about the qualcomm , turning in my paperwork, adjusting to life on the road, and communicating with dispatch. These are the things I didn't really have a clue about. Learning to drive a truck and being efficient at your job all falls into place during that first six months to a year of driving and getting your hands dirty at the job so to speak.

Relax! Do your best and prove yourself, not only to them, but also to yourself. Be careful and cautious and you will be just fine.

Thanx for the the comments Old School, I was having second thoughts till you and Brett assured me on a few things. Thanks, RollnMo

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

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.

Animal's Comment
member avatar

It has been my experience that most companies take being a Rookie into account. Many of them have specialized DMs and keep you on what they call a Rookie Board for your first year with the company. They know it takes a new driver a bit longer to do things than one that's been with the company a good while and I'm told they factor that in, but sometimes it doesn't seem like it. Your DM will, at any rate. OK, I call Trucking Company X. The operator directs me to Sales. A CSR (customer service rep) tells me of course they can get that done (no matter what - crazy is how we like it Mr. Big and your payment info is super good so we'll take great pleasure in your crazine$$) and quotes me a price. I agree to it, we do the credit app or whatever to make arrangement for payment and the CSR gets all the load info (hopefully, sometimes the load info isn't quite as complete as a driver likes or needs but bet your paycheck payment info is 100% complete). The CSR then gives the info to a load planner. I call these two places (Sales and Load Planning) The Twilight Zone because these folks are hired as washed out Quantum Physicists that still believe time travel is a reality and somehow the trucking industry has figured out how to accomplish it. CSR gives it to Load Planning (LP) and calls it a done deal. Load Planner breaks out the slide ruler and scientific calculator and applies quantum physics chaos theory formulas on the dry erase board and determines that it's a 900 mile trip can be done in 12.86213 hours. We'll call that 12 hours. I mean it's all Interstate. 95-26-77. Straight shot. When you run the ACTUAL miles from address to address it's actually 987 miles (which LP won't do - they have their OWN routing software loosely based on the old Household Mover Guide tables with some updates courtesy of Rand McNally and PC Miler), but what the heck; close enough, right? I'll give the load 13.5 hours just to be on the safe side. LP sets it up in the computer which identifies truck 123 , truck 456 and truck 789 as being in the Jax area soon. 123 is going to MT soonest and closest so let's put him on it as a PREPLAN. LP sends it to the truck on the Qualcomm , and it also goes to that driver's Driver Manager (DM aka Dispatcher) so he knows what's going on. Now, Animal is on his way to Jax w/ his load and the Preplan load message comes in. Nancy (Animal's nickname for the Qualcomm Navigator/ Aggravator) says in her finest mechanical voice that thinks St. Louis, MO is pronounced "Street Louis "M" "O"; "A new message has arrived." Animal pushes the single button that tells Nancy to read the message to him and says; "What now? Hurry up. You interrupted my local directions, dag nab it!" In her finest mechanical voice she tells Animal about the Preplan load which ends with the instruction to commit to it or reject it using macro 10 and if rejecting it tell why - in 30 characters or less, which he will do once stopped at his MT location - after sending in the other macro messages telling everyone he's done with this one and all the relevant (or seemingly relevant) info about stuff nobody cares about but is a REQUIRED FIELD in the message. Now it is Animal's responsibility to do the trip plan and determine if he can make that trip safely, legally and within the hours of service based on the information in the message(which says the 987 mile trip is a 900 mile trip and the distance between MT and Load ((LD)) is 22 miles but is actually 36 because of a construction detour so once MT he divides 1023 miles by 50 MPH and gets 20.46 hours and for error factor calls it a 21 hour trip because he knows he will make NO time on I-77 North between the NC/VA line and the WV/OH line crawling through the mountains in 8th and 9th gear - loaded heavy and stacked high in a 65MPH truck. All that's fine and good. That's the safe and legal way. Animal likes the new world of Safe and Legal. Less stress and risk. He actually gets to run the big roads now and doesn't have to sweat scales. That's a groovy thing. Problem is; the load is a 2 day deal factoring the proper and real times, distances, the 8, 11 and 14 hour countdown clocks always ticking, mandatory 30 min break, 10 hour breaks, drop & hook or live load time at Johnny's and fueling and PTIs (pre & post trip inspections). Based on the times in the preplan Animal figures what he can do the load in REALITY and Legal with an hour to spare (wow - a whole hour!) so he commits but outside the preplan times, and automaton sends him the actual load assignment and a fuel optimized route and stop location. Animal programs the destination into Nancy and breaks out the Rand McNally and while she's thinking he plans his own route and using the lap top looks at the weather on the route. Then he compares the Fuel route to Nancy's route hers will be the most direct but not necessarily the fastest and you ALWAYS have to dbl chk her against the Map Book for Restricted Routes and Low Clearances - she's wrong sometimes and'll jam you up big time if you rely on her alone) to Animal's route and chooses a route that he then programs into Nancy. She's real good at reminding of turns and showing how the road in front of you is going to loop or whatever. Then Animal breaks out the Truck Stop Guide and plans his stops and times. Then Johnny's Widgets get picked up and delivered with Animal at the helm taking fantasy of the LPs and making it actually happen. We all do. U will 2. No worries. Give it time. It'll happen

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

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.

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.

Driver Manager:

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Animal, You're cracking me up!

rolln@mo's Comment
member avatar

Thanks for humor and help from all, and will let everyone here know how it turned out. I should have mentioned it, but I did not know this site had so much info on them. Central Refrigerated is where I am going.

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.
Animal's Comment
member avatar

Gotta have fun. We chose a wonderful career but it's a crazy world this trucking thing so if you can't laugh about things you'll go nuts. First thing I learned in trucking is that they should issue a sense of humor with the CDL and Medical Card. It's vital for your mental health. Wouldn't have it any other way, though. The craziness of four wheelers, load planners, shipping and receiving clerks that swear your MT is in slot 137 of the 10000 acre lot with 20 yard dogs zipping around in their goats like it's the Indy 500 and paying no heed to those yellow lines whatsoever - even though slot 137 is MT and none of your company's trailers are anywhere to be found but she insists you are just overlooking that 53' long, 13'6" tall 8'6" wide chunk of metal with your company's name and logo in 7' tall bright neon letters on it because that's where her computer says it is, so "go look again" and when you talk to the yard dog on your 4th time to look at that MT slot, 5th circle around the yard and docks you find out HE took it upon himself to be more efficient with the yard space and parks everyone's MTs in a dirt lot down the street. So you go down the street and NO your MT isn't there and neither are any of your company's others so you go back to talk to the shipping clerk again while messaging your DM who also shows in his computer that trailer is there somewhere - just keep looking and on the way by slot 137 you see your trailer has magically appeared. It wasn't ANYWHERE to be found 15 minutes ago (yes I did check all the door's too it's not docked either), but it's there now. Then the yard dog you talked to screeches up and says: "Hey, I pulled your trailer in here for ya." "Hi, yeah. I see. Thanks." "No problem", screech and he's off to the races again. You're thinking: Yeah, no problem for YOU; you took that single screw baby goat and pulled my trailer off that big, open dirt lot with barn sized parking spaces, greased up the sides and squeezed it into this little hole that's so tight I have to duck under the trailer next to it to raise the landing gear and it's gonna take me 45 minutes, 130 pull ups and I'm gonna have to slide the tandems back and forth to squeeze it out without scraping those brand spanking new 53 foot refer trailers parked next to it. Yeah. Thanks. No, you can't get a yard dog to do it. They're all GONE. There were 20 of them zooming around a minute ago but a whistle blew somewhere and they're all gone now. Yes Sir. I appreciate the help. Oh well, that's why they pay us the big bucks. Time to wiggle just when the message comes in from your DM. "CSR called the customer. Shipping and Receiving says it's in slot 137. Try looking there." Reply? "Yeah, OK. 10-4. Will do. Thx." and go back to wiggle worming and unsqueezing the squozen. It's what we do.

Yeah, if you don't learn to laugh you'll surely go crazy or just be in an ill mood all the time. What kinda life would that be? Life's too short for crankiness. There's craziness everywhere. A sense of humor is really vital, otherwise you won't appreciate that magical moment when there's no traffic, the truck's purring like a kitten, the cab temp is perfect, you have more than enough time to get where you're going on a wide open, flat, smooth (brand new blacktop) road from where you picked up a light load from a pull though slot that was right where it was supposed to be and you see the sun rising over the snow capped mountains in the distance and the clouds are a beautiful bright red/orange/purple and there's a gap in them and a ray of sunshine is beaming through and lighting up the glass top mountain lake as you sip that perfectly warm and unusually flavorful and wonderfully aromatic coffee you got lucky enough the Pilot you fueled and got a good hot shower at (with no waiting), had that particular blend that you love so you got a full mug and Thermos and Nancy reads you a message that confirms your hometime is all locked in with a pick up in "Street Louis M. O." tomorrow delivering in "Street George S. C." this Friday AM and you'll be home for the weekend and you realize it really is a wonderful life and we actually get paid to live it. "Street Louis M. O. it is my Darling. We'll be there." Amazing, isn't it. It takes the craziness to make us appreciate the goodness. Peace & Blessings to all and make every day a "no problemo day" because in the end the crazy things are just silly little things to remind us of the wonderful and beautiful things we get to see and do every day. Happy Holidays Everyone.

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.

Tandems:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

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.
TMan's Comment
member avatar

Don't sweat the details!

They know you are a beginner, that's why they do the training thing anyway.

I've always said the best training I ever got was once they turned me loose in my own truck. Seriously, that is when I started learning how all this comes together. I had a nut for a trainer. He was able to teach me the things I needed to know about the qualcomm , turning in my paperwork, adjusting to life on the road, and communicating with dispatch. These are the things I didn't really have a clue about. Learning to drive a truck and being efficient at your job all falls into place during that first six months to a year of driving and getting your hands dirty at the job so to speak.

Relax! Do your best and prove yourself, not only to them, but also to yourself. Be careful and cautious and you will be just fine.

Old School is right. I started realizing that after my first week out. Though only solo for about 6 weeks, the advise is solid. Relax, if you let it the stress of things you really cant control will take over. Slow everything down, be cautious and do your best. It will come together. And most of all have fun with it.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

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.

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