Old/ New Driver

Topic 21890 | Page 1

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David K.'s Comment
member avatar

Hello all.. my names David and I’m 52. I drove for 18 yrs before going to work for the railroad, I’m now on my 12th yr there. I know to some the railroad would be a dream job( riding the rails so forth) but the reality is it’s far from a dream. Don’t get me wrong, the money is great and so are benefits, but at my age I’ve had two spinal fusions and other ailments.I am seriously thinking about getting back behind the wheel and since I’ve kept my class A’s i thought it would be a breeze jumping back in a big ride.. WRONG. Not I’m not a super trucker or any of that,but I’ve hauled bulls, pulled reefers with the big rides and once drove for big R. I go and talk with companies and it was as if I’ve never drove at all. Sorry, but it’s like riding a bicycle, you don’t forget how to back, shift a 13 over trans. I was treated like a child or rookie( no offense) my years should count for something.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

C T.'s Comment
member avatar

There are companies that offer a refresher course. Some companies also will count your experience depending on how recent it was. Unfortunately if it's been over a certain number of year, depending on the company, you've got to be retrained.

Bill F.'s Comment
member avatar

Your years, remembered skills, and experience do count for something. That something will put you ahead of any others going raw through a company's training program. However, today its all about insurance costs and what hoops they have to make you jump through to lower those costs. Many would require an experienced driver who has not driven in 90 days to go through a refresher course. You can argue all you want that I know I am skilled, safe, and able to pick it back up quickly, but lawsuits and insurance costs put you back to rank newbie in the eyes of these companies.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Old School's Comment
member avatar
since I’ve kept my class A’s i thought it would be a breeze jumping back in a big ride.. WRONG.

Welcome to the forum David!

Yeah, you are finding out something that is very true. Here's the deal: this is something that the insurance companies dictate. Nobody will insure a driver who has been away from a rig for even as short a time as one year.

What you have got to do is get recent experience. That sounds crazy since no one will hire you, but here's how they want it done. You say your CDL is current, and if it is then you need to either speak with a Paid CDL Training Program, or a Truck Driving School about going through a "refresher course." That will put you in a position where a recruiter will be ready and willing to get you on board. A refresher course is short and easy, and I'll even wager that you will be glad you did it once you've finished it. There are a few companies that will hire you just as you are and put you with a trainer for a few weeks just to get the cobwebs out, but there aren't too many options going that way. I do remember that Western Express has a program like that where they pair you with another driver who is in a similar situation as you and they have you team drive together for a month, then they assign you your own solo truck. Personally, I would just recommend that you contact a truck driving school, take a refresher, and then move forward right away with your plans. If you sit on your refresher training too long, then you are right back to where you are now.

Here's another thing to consider. We recently had someone in here with a similar situation as yours. They thought their CDL was current but they had failed to keep their medical certification up to date. When they got ready to go to school they discovered that the state had downgraded their license to a regular one. If you haven't kept up your medical certification, then you really should check on the status of your license also. You may be in for more training than you expected.

I get the whole bicycle riding comparison, but the insurance companies don't buy into that logic. Do what you need to do, and then you can move on in the fashion that you desire, but first you'll have to walk the line that they dictate. Best of luck to ya, and we would love to hear how this unfolds for you. There are others in here who would benefit greatly from hearing about your experience in getting back in the saddle.

Again, Welcome aboard!

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

Hey David. Oddly enough the trucking industry acts as if you've never driven a truck before if you've been out of driving for even a matter of months sometimes. Any major carrier is going to require you to go through some sort of refresher course at a private school. Companies who offer paid CDL training programs will require you to go through at least an abbreviated version of their training.

I guess everyone just wants to make sure you still have those skills and would like to see you sharpen them up a bit before heading out there.

Unfortunately when it comes to pay your years aren't going to count for anything. Companies only tend to pay higher wages to drivers with very recent experience.

Don't worry, you're not the only one who thinks these policies are strange. I agree completely with you, but no one cares what we think unfortunately. I had a friend who got a four year degree in finance. She never once used that degree in any jobs she had. Never worked in a finance-related field. Then she walked into a corporate banking center 17 years after getting her degree and landed a nice job downtown right away because of that degree.

The world works in mysterious ways. All you can really do is play along with their game. Find the company you really want to work for, ask them what they'll require of you, and just do it. It'll be over before you know it and you'll be out there again like old times.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Hey, Dave, welcome to Trucking Truth.

I’ve hauled bulls, pulled reefers with the big rides and once drove for big R. I go and talk with companies and it was as if I’ve never drove at all.

I'm an instructor at Swift's School. Right now I have a student who drove trucks years ago. And he's in the class with real newbies. He's had a bit of trouble in the art of backing a 90. I think you should expect to spend a few weeks in a school also. Especially since the rules/ laws have changed quite a bit since the ICC disappeared.

The bicycle thing is true, so you could ace the skills, but you'll need an update on HOS , especially.

Even with keeping your CDL current, you might want to get back into the rules. The High Road CDL Training Program will do that for 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.

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

When I attended CDL school just over 2 years ago, there were 2 other "students" who had been OTR drivers for many years (over 10) but hadn't been behind the wheel in a few years. Their licenses were downgraded when they didn't properly update their DOT medical card with their state's DMV.

They were attending school because they couldn't get a driving job without that all powerful 160 training certificate that the insurance companies now require. Yes, they had to go to CDL school and go through all the testing again. They said they were glad to get the extra training because many things had changed.. not the driving part so much but all the rules and regulations.

They breezed through it and you will too. If your CDL hasn't been downgraded, you may have to attend a short refresher course so check the status of your license to make sure.

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.

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.

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.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar
160 training certificate

That's 160 classroom hours from a school accredited by the Professional Truck Driving Institute

Big Scott's Comment
member avatar

Welcome to the forum. I was trained by and drive for CFI. I have many posts about them. I am 100% biased towards them. I am very happy with them. I have no first hand knowledge of any other company. Here is a link to CFI's web site. If they were to hire you, they would either put you put with a trainer for several thousand miles. In addition to that they may send you to a refresher course. I hope that helps. Good luck.

David K.'s Comment
member avatar

I hate to sound sarcastic, but I’ve drunk more coffee than the recruiters have burnt diesel fuel. I think if i leave is he railroad, I’ll just buy another Pete and go back to hauled my cows again.

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