Student In A Private CDL School

Topic 22128 | Page 4

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PackRat's Comment
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That's an unreal amount for a company driver with a million safe driving miles, let alone someone just thinking about driving a big rig. I would want that on the company letterhead, signed by the Operations Director.

Key City's Comment
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Just a little update because I am excited:

Well, I am almost done with my private CDL school in Chicago. I should have my cdl by May 19th. I have 4 more road driving hours. It will be specifically on the state test route. I am going to request that the remaining hours will be driven in the same truck I will be using for the test. I have about 6 hours of my backing skills left. They all will be on the state backing skills course.

I did the state backing skills test yesterday for my first time and I only got 1 point deducted. I think we get 13 points if I remember correctly.

We do a offset to the right, parallel parking, and straight line backing.

The only thing I’m worried about is on the road sometimes I accidentally start in 5th instead of 3rd, killing the engine. Easily fixed though. I’ve been taking it in and out of gear 3 times at stop lights. Letting the spring in the gear box guide me to 3rd. I feel stupid when I start in 5th.

I really am confident I will pass these skills tests on my first attempt. The school charges us $435 if we if we fail and have to re-take the test. Ouch!

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.
G-Town's Comment
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That's an unreal amount for a company driver with a million safe driving miles, let alone someone just thinking about driving a big rig. I would want that on the company letterhead, signed by the Operations Director.

...with also a gaurantee it's not a Dollar General account...

Key City's Comment
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I found out that amount is only for short runs like under 100 miles or something.

G-Town's Comment
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I found out that amount is only for short runs like under 100 miles or something.

I'd still get that in writing. 66cpm is a very high rate.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

Key City's Comment
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I’m not even sure which orientation I’d like to attend yet. I’m going to get in touch with the 6 or 7 companies who I have obtained pre-hire letters from and have very detailed conversations about everything each one offers and go from there. Like I’ve said before at this point it’s not about which company will give me .1 or .2 cents a mile more. No matter who I drive for I’ll be making the most money I’ve ever made in my life. What I’m looking for is a company that has good equipment and will give me the tools I need to survive my first year learning this industry.

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.

Old School's Comment
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What I’m looking for is a company that has good equipment and will give me the tools I need to survive my first year learning this industry.

Key City, all the major carriers have great equipment, and they regularly replace their older units with new.

Here's a reality check for you: None of them can give you "the tools you need to survive your first year." That is why the failure rate is so high for entry level drivers. The wherewithal to do this has got to come from somewhere within you. Everyone I have ever seen who expected their company to provide them with what they needed for success at this fell short very early in their career. They then went on to blame their company.

Your best bet would be to stay in touch with us for help, advice, and encouragement. Also study the many resources we have available for you.

Key City's Comment
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What I meant by that was things like understanding their Qualcomm system, understanding the hours of service better, driving in mountains, being taught how there paperwork works at shippers and recivers, being taught who to contact within the company for particular things. etc. Those are all tools that I would expect the company to provide me. Isn’t that why they have trainers? I wouldn’t expect them to just throw me a set of keys and tell me good luck. So yes, I expect the company to train me with the tools for success with their company.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Old School's Comment
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Key City, I always try to make people think with my responses. One thing you might as well settle in your mind now is that when you finish with your trainer there will be a whole lot of things for you to learn on your own. That short time with a trainer is very inadequate and oftentimes it just exposes you to a lot of driving so the trainer can make his lease payments on his truck. That's the grim reality of many people's training experience.

I want you to be prepared to dig deep within yourself because many people before you have tried this and failed. Some trainers are good, and a good many are not. Unfortunately, really great trainers are very rare. There's no guarantee on which type you'll end up with. Even with a really good trainer you will likely not be anywhere close to being thoroughly prepared for those first few months as a rookie solo driver.

A lot of people quit this career early, blaming it on their complete inability to cope with the challenges. All I'm saying is you cannot expect the company's trainer to polish you off and have you up to speed with "all the tools you need." From the company's perspective they are looking for that trainer to give them some peace of mind that he thinks you might be able to get out there and not severely tear anything up. That is when they send you off in your own truck. They don't wait for you to show proficiency, they wait until they think you can be halfway safe.

It will take you a good couple of years until you feel like you really know what you're doing out here.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Key City's Comment
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I was supposed to take my state driving exams Thursday. They got delayed until the following Thursday May 24th. They haven’t been putting me in the backing skills trucks at school so I wouldn’t have the required amount of hours to test out by this Thursday.

Although frustrating, I am in good spirits about it. When I’m not in a truck I’ve been helping students newer in the program get their pre-trip inspection down. All my written tests are done and my book work is done. I figured I’d help people who are nervous or struggling.

I think I have decided to attend a Werner orientation in early June. Are there any Werner drivers in this forum?

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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