CFI CDL Training

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Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

JMart, I completely agree with G-Town and Rob. A rookie has no business pulling a Hazmat tanker. I'd be curious as to which company is hiring a student straight out of school to pull a Hazmat tanker. More importantly I'd be curious which insurance company is willing to insure you.

You say that going OTR won't work for your situation. Have you seen this video of a Hazmat tanker in California not too long ago? The driver was killed.

We have a driver in our forum that used to work with that guy. He quit his job right after that to go to something far safer. So I don't know what situation you think you're going to solve by taking a chance pulling a Hazmat tanker as a rookie but that video will certainly demonstrate the new problems you're going to encounter.

If your thinking is shortsighted in this industry you're going to wind up in a mess. You're going to kill yourself or someone else. Why? Because you refused to listen to experienced drivers and use common sense to get a dangerous career started off the right way.

Does that seem worth it to you? I sure hope not.

Consider better options. There are plenty of them.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

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

By the way Big Scott:

Being over the road requires being out at least six weeks at a time to make the miles.

That is 100% false. I had a regional job for a couple of years where I was home every weekend making $55,000 and averaging about 3,000 miles per week.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

Over The Road:

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.

Big Scott (CFI Driver/Tra's Comment
member avatar

By the way Big Scott:

double-quotes-start.png

Being over the road requires being out at least six weeks at a time to make the miles.

double-quotes-end.png

That is 100% false. I had a regional job for a couple of years where I was home every weekend making $55,000 and averaging about 3,000 miles per week.

My point that is regional not national OTR. Those are harder to find. Also, that wouldn't work for me in the long term. My goal is to be home nightly and weekends. That is what I will eventually find as a local driver.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

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.

Over The Road:

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
My point that is regional not national OTR. Those are harder to find.

Actually they're not hard to find at all. Most of the major dry van and flatbed carriers have an option for getting home on weekends. It may not be available from day one to a new driver, but many are.

Also, that wouldn't work for me in the long term. My goal is to be home nightly and weekends. That is what I will eventually find as a local driver.

That's fine. This conversation isn't about you though. It's about Jmart, who said OTR won't work for his situation and asked:

I'm not sure what other options I have with my situation. What do you suggest?

What we're suggesting is find a dry van or flatbed carrier that can get you home on weekends. Get some experience that way before trying to land a local job or drive a tanker of any sort.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

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.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
G-Town's Comment
member avatar
My point that is regional not national OTR. Those are harder to find.

Maybe at CFI...

Schneider, Swift, Werner, etc., have lots of regional and Dedicated opportunities that allow weekends off. Many available to rookie drivers.

I have been running Walmart Dedicated for many years now, rarely venturing outside the PA, NJ, DE, MD border and can pretty much get hired for any driving job at this point.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
The Riot's Comment
member avatar

Jmart, I'm going to throw my inexperienced 2 cents into this discussion.

I can understand the reasoning that Brett and GTown are expressing, but I don't think that one size fits all in their precautions.

I have an acquaintance that graduated from a local CDL school that wanted to get into tanker work. But nobody would hire him without any experience. He went to the local terminal of a large tanker transport company, spoke to the terminal manager and the terminal manager had him fill out an application, brought him on a driving test, and eventually hired him without any driving experience. The company sent him to their headquarters in Houston and gave him extensive training in loading/ unloading tankers, safety, and driving a tanker.

The company guy that is in charge of training told him that if he can find the right candidate who is inexperienced, he likes to hire them because he can train them the correct and safe way to drive a tanker, before they start driving dry van and develop habits that may not be best when driving a tanker.

My friend has been with them for 3 or 4 years now, and even though he is OTR , he often gets home because he does a lot of out and back, as they have trailers that are dedicated for only one chemical

Living in SE Louisiana most probably helped him land a job like that right out of school because this area if a hot bed of tanker activity with all the chemical plants between New Orleans and Baton Rouge.

If you can find the right company and training, I say go for it and good luck.

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.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.
G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Riot "throwing" his two cents:

I can understand the reasoning that Brett and GTown are expressing, but I don't think that one size fits all in their precautions.

"Throwing"...great word for your reply. Add in the prefix word "Blindly" and I believe it more accurately describes your suggestion. Considering your naivete' I'll resist the urge to further humiliate and try to rationalize "why" I feel and think the way I do...

So,...Riot what exactly is the reasoning behind your understanding based on the admitted fact; you have no first-hand experience? You are making a recommendation supported by total here-say, from an acquaintance, not even a friend. Where is the wisdom in that? Would you take your advice? "Just-Do-It"...is not a recommendation at all.

Riot do you know the primary differences between driving a hazmat tanker and your basic garden variety dry van? I'll give you the most important, highly relevant fact for a rookie, entry level driver. I do not care what level of training a driver is required to go through, rookies will make mistakes. Lots of them, it's inevitable. It takes months to develop an intuitive "feel" for the truck (any truck) and hone the silky smooth driving skills required for safe tanker operation. The biggest difference driving a hazmat tanker? A fender bender in a dry van likely results in minor damage; you'll probably walk away with a few scratches, damaged ego, just shaken-up. Not so with a hazmat tanker. Any fender bender in one of these could be disastrous resulting in loss of life and collateral property damage. You roll one of these? Highly probable you will not escape. Simple basic fact that all the training in the world cannot change.

Second reason? When my reefer trailer is half empty it's no more dangerous then when fully loaded; 45,000 lbs vs 22,500 lbs. It's just lighter...but no noticeable handing difference. With a hazmat tanker, making multiple delivery stops (such as a local driver will) it becomes much more difficult to control because there is more space for the liquid to surge in a half-empty tank and it will adversely affect handling. Even with the baffles and compartmentalization, the liquid will surge, the ensuing inertia can push you through a busy intersection, through a turn, or into a ditch. Makes it much, much more difficult to execute a controlled, safe stop. For example: slowing down for an exit ramp requires first that you know the topography of the exit; sharpness, steepness, length, etc. Second you must start the process of slowing down well in advance of the ramp to avoid the need for quick deceleration. Being "prepared to safely stop" is vital to the life of a hazmat driver. Take a look at the video...the truck rolled exiting a controlled highway on a very sharp and short off-ramp. May he RIP...

Happy to offer more if you want to question "why" entry-level drivers are not equipped for safe and efficient hazmat taker operation. That said; under the best of circumstances the first year of truck driving is incredibly difficult with a 70+% attrition rate. Driving a hazmat tanker increases the safety risk, stress, and difficulty many times greater than dry van or reefer operation. Learn to "walk" before you "run" is the best analogy I can offer in this regard.

You quoted the "company guy" in regards to the tanker company policy for hiring rookie drivers:

The company guy that is in charge of training told him that if he can find the right candidate who is inexperienced, he likes to hire them because he can train them the correct and safe way to drive a tanker, before they start driving dry van and develop habits that may not be best when driving a tanker.

I'll bet he is NOT the guy in the cab training the rookie. They hire rookie drivers because the shortage of people willing to operate hazmat tankers is greater than the current industry shortages. Rookies will also take the job for far less pay. The company that hired your friend; there is only one in Houston I am aware of that hires rookies right out of school. One out of several dozen. Further to that, I seriously doubt the quoted "Safety Director" will assign a rookie driver local delivery work. I suggest you both; Riot and JMart camp-out at your local "Gas and Go"; observe how difficult it is to maneuver a tanker into the spot required to unload product. Visit several of them. Talk to the drivers...they'll give you the straight scoop. Put yourselves all-alone in the cab with only supervised training experience "under your belt"; maneuvering around parked cars, around moving cars, and fixed objects. And then there is the unloading...also very hazardous.

Do some research and you will quickly realize most hazmat tanker companies require two years of experience with a spotless driving record. Others want at least 1 year of tanker experience; some with 3 years overall driving experience. Most insurance companies will NOT cover a hazmat driver with less than 1 year of current, verifiable safe operating experience. Many policies require 2 years. There is a reason for that. Statistics don't lie.

Your friend, you seem to know very little about,...he is the <1% exception and dare I say probably had some luck along the way and many close-calls. I'd love for him to come on the forum and share his experience.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

Baffle:

A partition or separator within a liquid tank, used to inhibit the flow of fluids within the tank. During acceleration, turning, and braking, a large liquid-filled tank may produce unexpected forces on the vehicle due to the inertia of liquids.

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.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

I agree with G-Town wholeheartedly. We do not need opinions from the peanut gallery about whether or not someone should grab 50,000 pounds of hazardous chemicals and start driving around public highways without any tractor trailer experience.

My God, I know they say common sense isn't that common, but this borders on the absurd.

People have survived jumping from airplanes without the parachute opening. Is that good enough to begin recommending it to people? After all, we know it's been done so it must be fine, right? At least for some people?

he likes to hire them because he can train them the correct and safe way to drive a tanker, before they start driving dry van and develop habits that may not be best when driving a tanker.

Does that really make sense to you? You'd rather hire someone with no tractor trailer experience to do one of the most dangerous jobs in the industry because they won't have any bad habits?

We recently published an article about this very kind of thing. Read this:

Prudence Seems To Be Lacking In Some Rookie Truck Drivers

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.
The Riot's Comment
member avatar

Gtown, if you look in the 5th paragraph, I referred to him as a friend. I used acquaintance as a figure of speech.

And you will refrain from humiliating me? Come on man, we're having a discussion, I don't see the need to "humiliate" anybody. My opinion may be faulty and you disagree, but I would not try to "humiliate " you.

And the company that hired him is not Scheinder, who is known to hire rookies.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Come on man, we're having a discussion, I don't see the need to "humiliate" anybody

He's not humiliating you.

Not to mention, this is far from an ordinary discussion. Why would you feel the need to give an uninformed opinion about something as deadly serious as a rookie pulling a hazardous chemical tanker?

If someone asks what color truck is cool, or what state has the prettiest scenery - by all means jump right in. But if someone asks if they should pull 50,000 pounds of dangerous chemicals around crowded city highways without any experience, please understand that's not the discussion for you to jump into.

And yes, I do realize you're jumping in and giving your opinion because you also feel that the normal way of getting your trucking career safely underway shouldn't necessarily apply to you either. But in fact the safest way to start a trucking career applies to everyone.

Think about something - the most important trait a truck driver must have is good judgment. Does it seem like good judgment for someone to consider the most dangerous job in trucking straight out of school?

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