A Cop With 40+ Years Experience Going Into Trucking

Topic 21833 | Page 1

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Richard W.'s Comment
member avatar

I got my CLP over a month ago and even got my DOT medical.I then went into a unpaid salary, but paid tuition school which was great until I started the training. A little background, I as aforementioned am a retired cop of 40+ years. During my tenure, I was a training office for EVOC (emergency vehicle operator) including PIT (pursuit intervention) and 5 years as a FTO (field training Officer). I went through a minimum 50 hours of training every year during this tenure. So I am not unfamiliar with training. Having said all that, I was sorely disappointed with this particular company’s driving school, particularly wend it came to the range for the backing training. Granted, I know how to maneuver a patrol car beyond belief, but maneuvering an 18 wheeler was foreign and I sincerely wanted to learn. But the class consisted of 9 students to one instructor whose idea of training was giving a brief instruction of how to do it (parallel, off-set, 90 degree, etc) then sit in his truck to keep warm while the students tried to remember his instructions and pretty much screwing it up without his getting out of his truck and correcting the problems. Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but there has to be a better course of instruction. Hell, it took me one and half weeks just to teach PIT. And I was in the car with the student (another cop) during the time from instruction to practical. Needless to say, I did not continue with this particular company. There has to be a company that takes their training to heart and actually, one, reduces their instructors to a optimal 1 instructor to maybe 3 to 4 students, and that actually TRAINS students. Muscle memory is everything. You train muscles right the first time then everything else is a breeze. I really do want to drive a truck, I have driven pretty much all my life in conditions I wouldn’t want to wish my worse enemy (or maybe) but I do want to learn and be the best truck that I can be. I was a good cop and want to reflect that in trucking.

Suggestions?

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

CLP:

Commercial Learner's Permit

Before getting their CDL, commercial drivers will receive their commercial learner's permit (CLP) upon passing the written portion of the CDL exam. They will not have to retake the written exam to get their CDL.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Hello Richard, welcome to Trucking Truth. Also welcome to maybe some of the most frustrating days of your life: the backing range.

I attended Swift's Driving Academy, a company owned school with plenty of practice trucks for the backing range. My recollection is the teacher/ student ratio could have been 1 to 7. At least not your suggested 1:3. I was school teacher for 11 years till I started driving trucks three years ago. No, math class is not the same as trucking. And I understand the development of muscle memory, and I used this in my classroom.

However, though you didn't mention it, I bet you were teamed with another student to work on your backing skills. By the time people get to be 21 (earliest age for CDL work) they should be mature enough to work with another person to learn backing.

When I was in trucking school, I too wished the instructors would stop by my truck more often to offer suggestions, etc. But no, so I and my partner kept at it. Nearly all of my class got to the point where we could pass the CDL skills test.

Richard, with your listed LEO experience, I know you're going to tackle this trucking business and will stay at the top of your class. Feel free to vent, to bring all your questions. The TT crew is short on commiseration, but we do get you the unvarnished truth.

For further reading: The Backing Range At Trucking Driving School - It's Like Clown Soup For The Soul

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.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Richard, what a lot of people don't realize about these company schools is that they're doing everything in their power to find the right type of person for the job. Ideally they would like someone who is:

  • Humble
  • Eager to learn
  • Can adapt well to changing or uncertain circumstances
  • Will go along with the program
  • Dedicated to succeeding
  • Will learn quickly
  • Can solve problems in a dynamic environment
  • Works well with people

So the entire training period is like one long interview. It's also one big experiment where they're putting everyone through the paces and watching how they react. They already know that most of the people they bring in will either quit or fail. They're just waiting for the students to sort it out for themselves. You did exactly what they expected you to do. You quit. It was either that or fail. Didn't matter to them. You had proven yourself to them and that's what they were after.

See, one of the biggest problems this industry faces with new drivers is dealing with people who won't listen and already think they know it all. If you reread your post from that perspective you'll see you were one of them. Somehow without even five minutes of experience in the trucking industry you knew:

1) Your school doesn't take their training to heart

2) Your school had the wrong teacher to student ratio

3) Your instructor wasn't doing his job properly

4) Muscle memory is important when backing up a truck

You came into this training thinking that you knew enough to train the trainers and to manage the schools. You don't know a lick about driving a truck, but somehow you think you know how to train people to do it?

You also assumed that if things weren't being done the way you thought they should be done then they were doing it wrong.

When you were a cop doing training, did you handle your students exactly the way every student expected you to?

What if one of your students had said, "Richard, you're not training me the right way. This isn't how you should be doing it. Let me explain to you how you should be training people." How would you have reacted?

You went into this thinking you could do everyone's job better than they could, even though you don't even know the first thing about doing your own job.

You fell into the classic trap these schools set. I know you weren't the only one in your class either. I'm sure you talked it up with a few of the guys and you all agreed that the school was doing everything wrong and you guys weren't sticking around for that kind of baloney. Now how did I know that, right? Well it's because this happens in every class at every company school in America.

You know who is going to have their CDL real soon and be out on the road driving a rig while you're here in the forum talking to us? Your former classmates, the ones who decided they were going to give it their best, learn all they could, dedicate themselves to successfully completing the program, and do what was asked of them.

Classic trap you fell into I'm afraid. You went into this thinking you knew how training should be done, they threw you and the others into the experiment, and you sorted yourselves out. Now all that's going to be left at the school are the people who are self-sufficient problem solvers who go along with the program and are dedicated to being successful at this.

Most people make the mistake of underestimating how difficult trucking is and overestimating how much they know about it. Trucking companies like to give these types the opportunity to reveal themselves.

If you would have come here and listened to some of my podcasts, read our articles, and talked with us here in the forum before you attended that training program you'd still be there and you would have gone on to successfully complete the program. Notice I haven't even asked which program it was. That's because it doesn't matter, the results would have been the same at any of them.

Listen, chalk this up to a great learning experience. The first things you learned are to go in with an open mind, be ready to take on any challenge presented to you, and go along with the program.

Also, next time keep in mind that you're not the teacher anymore. Honestly, once you get behind the wheel of that rig no one cares what you've done previously in your life. It makes no difference. The only thing they want to know is whether or not you're willing and able to handle driving a rig.

There are people from all walks of life out there driving a rig successfully. There are also people from all walks of life who never managed to get anywhere in this career. It comes down to who you are and how dedicated you are to making this happen. It's not about who you were or what you've done in the past.

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.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

You should go through our Truck Driver's Career Guide and read my book Becoming A Truck Driver: The Raw Truth About Truck Driving. The book is free to read here on the website.

That stuff will give you a much better understanding of how things are done and what it takes to get your career underway.

I'd bet a million bucks that you'll be at the top of the class when all is said and done at the next program you attend.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Richard,...if you're still with us, once you have a chance to digest Errol and Brett's replies, this link contains a whole series of articles about school and training; confirming and detailing the points and suggestions offered in this thread...

Trucking Has the World's Longest Job Interview

Bob H.'s Comment
member avatar

Another thing that must be realized is that this was only the first step in the training process. The goal was to give you the bare minimum skills to pass the test and obtain your CDL , not make you an expert in a few short weeks. The real training starts out on the road once you have your CDL, with a trainer. That is where the real training starts 1 on 1. To put this in perspective, you didn't teach PIT to somebody that didn't even have their driver's lic. yet, did you?

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.
Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

Did you take the initiative to ask the instructor for clarification? I guess i got lucky and only had 3 other students to share the truck with. Our instructor did similar, gave us instructions then left us to sort it out which im thankful for. Come test day my nerves got the best of me and i messed up my parallel. Having had to figure it out while I was in yard without the instructor rushing over to hold my hand allowed me to fix it and pass skills portion of CDL Exam. What instruction did he give You? I'm assuming he told you how to set up for it (turn this way, then that way, etc.). If you couldn't remember what he said why didn't you ask, or WRITE IT DOWN THE FIRST TIME HE TOLD YOU! I took a ton of notes while in school. My instructor was a lot more willing to help me over other students because I was showing that I was taking it serious, and really wanted to learn.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Chuck 's Comment
member avatar

These suggestions are a reality that happens with anything that I think you need to learn about that you have not yet done. I know that I am taking all this in mentally so that when I start school I am not thinking the same way. I of course do not have any training when it comes to driving a semi so I am not naive enough to think I will not need it. I did drive a box truck for about 7 years but that is totally different of course. I want to go into this willing to learn everything I need to learn so that i can build on that and become a great driver. I hope that Richard took all the criticism to heart and keeps trying.

Old School's Comment
member avatar
I hope that Richard took all the criticism to heart and keeps trying.

Usually when we have someone like Richard suddenly appear voicing concerns about our industry, and then discovering we didn't jump on the bandwagon with them, we won't hear from them again. That is a shame, because there is so much they can learn from us. It's an indication that they really weren't looking for help or advice, but rather to be have their false conclusions validated.

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