First Time Poster, My CCC&TI Experience

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Prime Mover 's Comment
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Greetings all, I first want to say thank you to everyone who posts on here and for all of the articles, podcasts, and CDL test prep tools on this site. The information on TruckingTruth has helped me over this last year decide whether or not I would like to go into trucking, and also how I would like to go about it.

A little bit about me. I am a 22 year old from NC, and I have been working as a real estate photographer for the last year while saving up funds to have a go at this career, and I have done reasonably well in it. Before this, I tried my hand at a Mechanical engineering technology degree, grinding away for 3 years, without the credits to show for it. Very late along the way, I realized that I was there because I was trying to make other people happy, my family foremost. So after I gave my last semester at college my best attempt, and not doing so well in the process, I decided to leave and consider some other things that I had been wanting to do. I considered all kinds of things in the trades, grading, welding, machining, working for the railroad, and I decided on trucking. Trucking is something that I have always wanted to try, but I never thought that I would end up doing it. But, here I am.

A couple days ago, I registered and paid for the CDL program run by CCC&TI, a community college in Hudson, NC. I haven't been able to find much information online from people who have attended the program, so I am hoping to provide some information on this particular school as I go through it. I picked this program because of the cost, (the tuition for the program is $1882), the length of schooling (it is a 9 week program), and for some personal reasons. I have grandparents who live near the school, and I will be able to help them some and stay with them while I also attend the CDL program. These circumstances made going to this program more appealing to me than attending company sponsored training. While the company sponsored training would be free, I decided that the longer schooling time and closeness to family would be worth the cost of tuition for me.

I am about to start applying for companies to get pre-hired with before I start the program. I would like to try and be home on the weekends, so I am looking more into companies that can start me on regional runs. I am leaning towards starting with one of the flatbed carriers, TMC, Maverick, PGT, or Boyd Bros, but I am open to other opportunities, such as LTL companies, regional dry van carriers... etc.

I start classes on January 3rd, and I am very excited to try my hand at this new challenge. I will try and keep this thread updated on a weekly basis once classes start.

Thanks for reading!

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.

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.

LTL:

Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier

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.

Pre-hire:

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.

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

Welcome! We look forward to following your progress.good-luck.gif

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Prime Mover 's Comment
member avatar

Alright! I am going to try and make this a weekly, maybe twice a week kind of update thing.

This past Wednesday (1/3/2018) we started class, and so far I am loving it. There are 16 folks including me that are taking the course, and it is a very diverse group of folks age wise, the youngest being 18, and the eldest being 67. So far I am enjoying the folks that I am taking this class with, after only having friends, family, and the odd driver to talk to about trucking, it is kinda nice to meet other folks who are interested in the industry.

The first three days of class have been spent on a few different topics, and they have been pretty full days as well (For good reason as well, PTDI requires them to run the full 8-5 w/an hour lunch.) We covered information needed to obtain the CDL learners permit the first day of class, and by the second day, two other students and I went over to the DMV to get our permits. The three of us came back with grins and permits in hand, I can thank the high road training program for helping me with that.

The second day was spent going over some more information in the books that we were provided to help get the students ready for the permit test. After lunch that day, we changed gears and went over the HOS regulations, and we dusted off a VHS tape on the importance of CSA scores and HOS regs. We got into a discussion on ELogs , some of the folks are speculating that ELogs may increase how much team driving is done among trucking companies.

On the third day, three more folks went out to the DMV, and came back as conquering heros! More permits in hand! The lead instructor is really stressing the importance of getting the permit before the second week of class, as it will allow students to hit the road at roughly the same time in the course, as it is very easy to get behind if you miss opportunities to get on the road with an instructor. We went over a few other things in class on this day as well. We will be logging our time spent in class as on-duty in paper logbooks, and the instructor went over what is required to be done in filling out a logbook. The class will be completing logbooks for every day spent in class for the remainder of the course.

Lastly, we took a trip over to the shop near the end of the day, there, the head mechanic explained the fundamentals of the air brake system. We got to look at and touch various components of the brake system and see how they worked. There was even a functional mockup of the air brake system (working brake drums, failsafes and alarms) along with a functioning differential with cutouts to show how the diff lock works. I even got to climb into a truck that they had in the shop there for preventative maintenance, it was my first time in a commercial truck of any kind. I am really looking forward to the week after next when we are supposedly going to start up some of the trucks on the yard.

As always, thanks for reading!

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.

Logbook:

A written or electronic record of a driver's duty status which must be maintained at all times. The driver records the amount of time spent driving, on-duty not driving, in the sleeper berth, or off duty. The enforcement of the Hours Of Service Rules (HOS) are based upon the entries put in a driver's logbook.

Elog:

Electronic Onboard Recorder

Electronic Logbook

A device which records the amount of time a vehicle has been driven. If the vehicle is not being driven, the operator will manually input whether or not he/she is on duty or not.

Elogs:

Electronic Onboard Recorder

Electronic Logbook

A device which records the amount of time a vehicle has been driven. If the vehicle is not being driven, the operator will manually input whether or not he/she is on duty or not.

CSA:

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle

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.

DMV:

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.

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.
Splitter's Comment
member avatar

Thanks for keeping this diary PM. Glad you’re doing well. May you continue to learn & improve your skills everyday. God bless & stay safe.

Prime Mover 's Comment
member avatar

It has been a little busy on my end this past week but here is a late update. It is snowing here in NC so class was canceled yesterday, today, and quite possibly tomorrow.

We started out on the range a little earlier than anticipated yesterday (Tuesday). We got to practice shifting, maneuvering around curves, and backing up 100' straight back. I had never touched a clutch in my life, but I think that I am starting to get the swing of double clutching. I will admit that I managed to stall the truck about 5 or 6 times, but I think that it can't hurt to make and learn from those mistakes early on in the yard rather than on the road, (I am sure that I will make plenty more).

I stalled the truck in a variety of ways, I didn't depress the clutch when coming to a stop, starting out on a hill in the yard, unintentionally starting out in 4th gear with an empty trailer. I couldn't help but laugh by the 3rd time I stalled the thing. I guess I will know what to do when I stall out.

Backing is a another monster entirely, I had never pulled a trailer with a vehicle before this class, not to mention backing one. The 100' back gave me some trouble, but with help from one of the instructors I was able to get it backed without slaughtering any of the cones. In fact, I am happy to say that I did manage to get through the day without touching any of the cones with the tractor or trailer.

While the range trucks were full, some students and I ran through the entire pre-trip inspection on one of the parked tractor trailers in the yard. We tested each other, and we are doing pretty well, especially for it being the beginning of the 3rd week out of 9 weeks.

I had fun learning how to control that monster of a machine, but the weight of what I am doing is starting to hit me a whole lot more than it did before, and I can't help but reconsider starting out pulling flatbed. At the same time, it was only my first time in one of those rolling buildings, so I am trying to be patient with myself and relax. I think that learning to keep calm, relax, and patience with myself will be the things that will help me successfully learn. A lot of the mistakes that I made while driving out on the range were made when I was feeling really nervous.

My writing on here is somewhat stream of consciousness, but I am doing my best to keep it somewhat organized. Writing down my experiences is helping me reflect on what I am learning and where I am going wrong as well!

P.S.: Another recruiter showed up on Tuesday, and I have a couple more pre-hires down as well!

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

Double Clutch:

To engage and then disengage the clutch twice for every gear change.

When double clutching you will push in the clutch, take the gearshift out of gear, release the clutch, press the clutch in again, shift the gearshift into the next gear, then release the clutch.

This is done on standard transmissions which do not have synchronizers in them, like those found in almost all Class A trucks.

Double Clutching:

To engage and then disengage the clutch twice for every gear change.

When double clutching you will push in the clutch, take the gearshift out of gear, release the clutch, press the clutch in again, shift the gearshift into the next gear, then release the clutch.

This is done on standard transmissions which do not have synchronizers in them, like those found in almost all Class A trucks.

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.

Pre-hire:

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.

Pre-hires:

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Prime Mover 's Comment
member avatar

So this week and the last week have both been pretty busy so far.

I hit the road for the first time with an instructor and two other students last Monday, and man..... That was a tough day. I had a bunch of trouble just getting started down the road when it was my turn to drive, I probably stalled the truck 6 or 7 times that day. I thought I had shifting down when I climbed into the truck, but I quickly proved otherwise. I had a bunch of trouble starting out on a hill in 3rd gear, and that was when I kept stalling the truck, and I got pretty frustrated then, and may have said some words that I'd rather not repeat. I questioned whether this career was right for me that day. But, I kept pushing forwards.

Day by day, I got a little better, and we were really challenged by the instructors there. One instructor there in particular has brought challenges every time I have stepped into his truck. He has taken us to tight mountain roads, long downgrades, and through a crowded shopping center, all in our first week on the road in a tractor trailer. We faced some unforeseen challenges as well, as one of the trucks that I drove had an issue with junk from a fuel line clogging up the engine. We limped the rig home that day, but we also learned how to handle a vehicle malfunction.

We have also been practicing backing out on the range and our pre-trip inspection when we are not out on the road. Backing at first was really difficult, the first time I did it, I dropped the clutch, oversteered, and I let the trailer get squirrely, nearly wiping out some traffic cones. But, the more I practiced, the better I got. I don't know if anyone else has had this happen, but learning how to back has significantly helped how I handle the clutch. I drop the clutch far less often, and I am easing the truck out more and more. Driving a stick is feeling more and more natural to me as I continue to practice.

Today, I had one of the best days that I have had so far, I had a successful day of backing and pre tripping a truck on the range, and I had a nice drive on the road afterwards. I got to try out a truck that I was unfamiliar with on the road, I was a little bit nervous at first, but I dropped that as soon as I got into town and I had to do a whole lot more downshifting, stopping and starting, as well as turning. I got into my first traffic jam in a rig, and I feel like I handled it pretty well. Things even got hairy when a pickup spun out while making a U-turn in front of us too quickly, I hit the brakes, but the driver managed to get his pickup out of the way before we got there.

Right now, things feel pretty good in the class. I feel challenged, but I can already look back on the previous week and see how far I have come in such a short time. At the same time however, I am trying to be sure that I do not let these successes get to my head. A bad attitude such as feeling like you know it all already isn't very conducive to learning, and could easily get you killed out on the road.

Anywho! Thanks for reading, and drive safe out there!

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

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