Community College CDL Training

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RandyinNC's Comment
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Hello all! I will be starting my second of eight weeks on Monday. Interestingly, the recruiter at the college told me to act quickly before the class fills up. So, in about one week I did my DOT and CDL permit and paid the college 1800.00 - which, from what I have seen out there is pretty darn good. First day at school was just an overview and it was then I realized that there are only six students - with three instructors. This too is a good thing as we get plenty of seat time. he instructors said that the lack of students is due to the economy being as good as it is and that people tend to put "truck driving" on the bottom of their list of jobs they would like to have. I have already ground through all ten gears on I40 and some back country roads in North Carolina. The three instructors have 70 years combined experience and are good at what they do. My biggest concern is down-shifting when approaching a stop sign/red light. Any ideas that will help it "click" would be greatly appreciated because I cannot simply put it in neutral as that will be considered as "out of control". We have recruiters coming in on a regular basis. I will be posting twice a week or so to keep it up to date.

Sitting it out today as we are getting hit pretty good with some snow.


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.


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.


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.

PackRat's Comment
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Biggest thing to remember when approaching a stopis you can never start slowing down too early. It gives you better control than trying to slow down abruptly. Let off the throttle, and as the rpms begin to lower, grab a lower gear. Now if it's downhill, off a ramp, you will sometimes need to clutch in, rev the rpms up, then skip a gear dropping down, ie going from gear ten to gear eight. Most motors have a built-in rev limiter, so not much need to worry over revving it. It takes practice working the three pedals, sometimes almost all of them simultaneously, and you'll miss sometimes and do some grinding. Keep practicing and with experience, it will come to you.


Operating While Intoxicated

RandyinNC's Comment
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Thanks PackRat. That is one thing the trainers emphasized; slowing down early on. It's funny... as a rookie, there is a different sensation with speed when slowing down. It feels like I am going much slower than I actually am when approaching a stop sign - you know you are going too fast when the instructor says, "slow... slow... SLOW..." Anyway, we are back at it on Monday after getting pounded by snow recently and that gives me six weeks to get this down before graduation. I already have three hire commitments from trucking firms so needless to say I am excited and remaining realistic with my expectations. Thanks again!


Operating While Intoxicated

Grandma Day's Comment
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I am also in NC. In a school program. I wish you the best of luck. Where are you?

RandyinNC's Comment
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Hi Grandma Day, I’m at DCCC (Davidson County Community College). We lucked out with a really small class and get plenty of one-on-one. The in-state resident tuition deal works out nicely as well. We’ve been out since Wednesday because of the snow, but the weather is looking pretty good this coming week.


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.
RandyinNC's Comment
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Back at it today as all that snow finally melted away. One group of three hit the road and the remaining three of us practiced the "obstacle" course and coupling/uncoupling. It is surprising how fast you get the hang of it after doing it a few times. So far no major blunders... although once I forgot to stop the tractor while it was still somewhat under the trailer during the uncoupling process. Also had a lot of time to pick the trainers brain today. He is a huge advocate of owner operator and a lot of what he said makes sense. We will see and time will certainly tell. For now, I am more than happy to have a few pre-hire letters from some reputable companies.


Another recruiter is coming in tomorrow and then it is our group's turn to hit the road.

Owner Operator:

An owner-operator is a driver who either owns or leases the truck they are driving. A self-employed driver.


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.


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

G-Town's Comment
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Randy, please do not even think about owner or lease operation for at least a year, if at all. "Head-trash" to avoid at this stage of your career...

Not a bad idea to read the article found by clicking on this link: Confessions of an Owner Operator

Owner Operator:

An owner-operator is a driver who either owns or leases the truck they are driving. A self-employed driver.

Big Scott (CFI's biggest 's Comment
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Glad you're having a good time. What companies are you considering? As far as being an owner/lease op right out of shool, don't. There is so much to learn in that first year or two, why add the headache of truck payments to that. Good luck with everything.


Drive-A-Check Report

A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).

It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.

Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.

RandyinNC's Comment
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Absolutely! I don’t intend on taking on anything like that for a couple of years, if ever. He just has a good deal delivering trucks around the country.

Today was pretty interesting, the trainer had us driving around Winston Salem and some pretty tight traffic. Little bit on the stressful side but myself and the other trainee both managed to survive. I’m starting to zero-in on a couple of companies and one of them is CFI. Big Scott, I’ll take a look at some of your older posts and see where you posted information about the company. Thanks to everyone for all the advice and information that I’ve gotten so far, it’s been a huge help! Now if I can just stop grinding those lower gears confused.gif


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Big Scott (CFI's biggest 's Comment
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You will always grind gears, especially during training. CFI does offer tuition reimbursement, so you could get paid back for your training. One thing I loved about training with CFI, is that when you are out with your trainer, you're dispatched as a solo truck. You do all the driving and your trainer is in the passenger seat to guide you as you go. I'm happy to answer any questions I can.

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