Husband And Wife Preparing For Company Sponsored CDL Training

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Brett Aquila's Comment
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Yeah, you nailed it - the reason people don't get that excited about new drivers coming in is because they know a lot of them won't make it through the program. If 50% of the people that came in with you actually wind up making it through training and going solo, that would be a lot. A number of people will either fail their physical, lied on their application, have a lousy attitude, or just don't belong behind the wheel of a rig and they won't make it through. But the ones with a great attitude and work ethic will be just fine.

So just keep smiling, keep enjoying yourself, and keep learning every day. And you'll quickly see that "clicks" will form within the ranks. Keep yourself aligned with others that are excited and friendly and ready to learn all they can.

Avoid the ones that think they know more than God, think they're more important than God, and will be more than happy to tell you how skeptical and cynical they are toward the company even though they know nothing about em. Those negative attitudes are deflating. Avoid those people entirely.

And don't think for a moment that the instructors aren't watching this. They certainly are. They see this all the time and they know a handful of people will have horrible attitudes. Those people will not be around for long in all likelihood.

So just keep smiling and find a few drivers that are excited to be there. Help each other out. And of course, have fun! Nothing is cooler than getting to drive a big ole American Big Rig! smile.gif

I don't know if you read my book or not but there's a free online version available. The book is a short, fun read with a lot of my stories from the road and insights into the industry. If you get a few minutes to relax, have a look at it:

Brett's Book - Becoming A Truck Driver: The Raw Truth About Trucking

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Special K, aka Kathy's Comment
member avatar

good-luck.gifdancing-dog.gif

Please do let me know as much as possible, I start with Central on May 20th! I will go to Georgia for the first week and then to salt lake city for the rest of it. If you want you and your wife can send me a private message or I will just follow along the post. I want to learn everything I can before I get there!!!! Good Luck, I am excited for you both!

Brett N.'s Comment
member avatar

Well the first day was a bit frustrating for us...part of it was just routine first day stuff and part was possible bad news for us. The routine stuff is just getting everyone together and making sure all the paperwork gets filled out, everyone is where they belong, peeing in a cup, getting physicals done, etc., etc. Spending some time on this sight has made us so much more prepared than most of the others in class. There are about 14 of us and I can see a few not making it past this first week for various reasons but unfortunately one of the people that may not be here is my wife. Long story with birth certificate name stuff. Just frustrating because she is a veteran of the US Army and has been licensed in 3 different states. Typical government stuff that makes noooo sense! Soooo I may have to finish the training by myself and drive solo until she gets a passport or gets her birth certificate legally changed. We'll know for sure tomorrow. Central is doing their best to help and they will be pleading our case with the local DMV office in the morning so we've got our fingers crossed. This is definitely going to be a faster paced training after today. We got Utah CDL books to study and it sounds like tomorrow will be filled with a lot of practice testing, classroom reviewing and more practice testing. I'm really anxious to see if I'm as ready as I feel like I am for the written testing stuff. Melissa and I have been testing eachother using Bretts CDL Training App. on my phone! lol Almost feels like I'm cheating! lol I'm not going to lie though, I'm still a tad nervous as there is a lot of pre trip and air brake stuff that I'm not completely confident with. Some of it just has to do with not having any practical experience with it. I'm sure once I actually see the stuff on a truck and do it first hand I'll feel way more confident about everything. Anyway, I'll try to pay attention to how everyone does and how I compare to the rest of the class. Hopefully Melissa will still be part of the class after tomorrow!

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.

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.

Roadkill (aka:Guy DeCou)'s Comment
member avatar

Well the first day was a bit frustrating for us...part of it was just routine first day stuff and part was possible bad news for us. The routine stuff is just getting everyone together and making sure all the paperwork gets filled out, everyone is where they belong, peeing in a cup, getting physicals done, etc., etc. Spending some time on this sight has made us so much more prepared than most of the others in class. There are about 14 of us and I can see a few not making it past this first week for various reasons but unfortunately one of the people that may not be here is my wife. Long story with birth certificate name stuff. Just frustrating because she is a veteran of the US Army and has been licensed in 3 different states. Typical government stuff that makes noooo sense! Soooo I may have to finish the training by myself and drive solo until she gets a passport or gets her birth certificate legally changed. We'll know for sure tomorrow. Central is doing their best to help and they will be pleading our case with the local DMV office in the morning so we've got our fingers crossed. This is definitely going to be a faster paced training after today. We got Utah CDL books to study and it sounds like tomorrow will be filled with a lot of practice testing, classroom reviewing and more practice testing. I'm really anxious to see if I'm as ready as I feel like I am for the written testing stuff. Melissa and I have been testing eachother using Bretts CDL Training App. on my phone! lol Almost feels like I'm cheating! lol I'm not going to lie though, I'm still a tad nervous as there is a lot of pre trip and air brake stuff that I'm not completely confident with. Some of it just has to do with not having any practical experience with it. I'm sure once I actually see the stuff on a truck and do it first hand I'll feel way more confident about everything. Anyway, I'll try to pay attention to how everyone does and how I compare to the rest of the class. Hopefully Melissa will still be part of the class after tomorrow!

Dang Brett, that blows man..You're right..after serving her country, you would think that a veteran would get cut a little slack..fingers crossed she can stay and finish out her training with you..I think that is my biggest worry as well, to be honest..to go through all this headache and then get booted right as it seems the goal is within reach..

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.

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.

DAC:

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.

Brett N.'s Comment
member avatar

Yes, thank you Brett, I have read your book and a ton of other stuff on here. Thanks to you my first two days and I'm sure tomorrow will be extremely tedious in the classroom....I already know most everything they're teaching us! lol This is a pretty fast paced training program here but they still have to go at a slow enough pace that everyone is getting it and it really does just seem like a review. We had our first practice test today and I missed 1 out of 50 on the General Knowledge portion, 0 out of 15 on the Combination portion and 1 out of 20 on the Air Brakes part! I just spent an hour on my phone using your app last night and blam! It really is nice having a head start like this, but I'm not letting it get to my head. Enough celebrating because the real test is Thursday and then we are outside with the trucks! The part I'm really excited about but fairly nervous about as well. On a sour note...my beautiful wife of over 21 years had to fly out of here today. She needs to get a passport and is going to a friends near Seattle to get that stuff taken care of. The plan was to go through this at the same time so when we were done with our 28 days of OTR training with our respective trainers we could saddle up in our own truck and get started as a husband/wife team. It's still going to happen but she'll just be 2 to 6 weeks behind me. Guess I'll get to experience life on the road as a solo driver for a brief period. Bunch of class room stuff today but as I said, nothing crazy. Sounds like we'll have 2 more practice tests tomorrow and then Thursday is the real deal at the DMV!

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.

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.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Well I'm certainly glad to hear how well prepared you are, but what a massive disappointment that some technicalities got in the way of you completing your training with your wife. Of course this isn't going to stop you two from getting this done, but I know how disappointed you two must be. But seriously, if it isn't one thing it's another in trucking. And that will never change. The most important thing is to keep a great attitude, focus on the task at hand, and keep moving forward every day. Look ahead and be optimistic. Don't sweat the setbacks.

And of course your wife will now have the advantage of knowing what to expect because you'll be ahead of her in the program. That's going to make life much easier for her.

Well keep your head up and keep moving forward. All of this will quickly become a distant memory and ultimately you two will be teamed up together exactly as you've envisioned. smile.gif

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Brett N.'s Comment
member avatar

Okay, I apologize for the missed days. The keyboard on my computer is not working. The IT guys here at Central are actually seeing if they can fix it for me so that is awesome! Okay, first the bad news and then the good news. My wife is in Washington trying to get a passport or find some way she can get back here for training. It's a mess and such BS but it is what it is. Make sure you have all your paperwork squared away! I can't remember exactly where I left off but I'll start with Wednesday. A couple more practice tests interlaced with classroom instruction. Thursday we went to the Dept. of Licensing and took the written tests. I passed very comfortably and so did most of the class. we have lost some classmates for various medical things and one guy who wasn't completely honest on his application about his background. One guy went back for his 3rd and 4th tries at the tests today but I still don't think he passed. It's nit the schools fault at all. I really think he has a pretty severe learning disability and it's probably a good thing he won't be behind the wheel of a try k. We then did some pretrip stuff in the afternoon. Today we drove the big rigs all day! Lots of fun and nerve racking at the same time. I picked up on the double clutching fairly well and before the morning was over my instructor felt comfortable enough to let me loose on the interstate. Crazy *******! lol. I'm still excited but there's a lot left to do. Tomorrow is backing and more pre-trip walk throughs. Typing on this little phone keypad sucks. Ill probably wait until Monday to see if the IT guys could get mylaptop straightened out. Until then......:)

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

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.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Brett N.'s Comment
member avatar

Whew! A lot has happened and I finally have my laptop back so I'll try to catch up here. I believe I finished the first week of activities. We got our CDL permits on Thursday, did some driving on Friday and Saturday. We did pre-trip stuff every morning and spent half days divided between backing practice on the range and driving and turning in an industrial park area that has pretty wide streets and not too bad of traffic. I want to mention as well that from about the 2nd day of class we have been logging in daily logs everyday. We've been told that with the qualcom systems in the trucks we'll most likely never have to even use a paper log but they want us to know how to fill them out and it shows us how the hours work. Okay, so Monday and Tuesday were both spent doing pre-trip stuff then moving on to more driving. Tuesday we drove in downtown Salt Lake City! Was a bit nervous about this but it's a big confidence boost after your done because they tell you that the actual driving test will be easier than that. We also stopped at a Flying J truck stop. What a JUNGLE! I couldn't believe all the trucks competing for a spot at the pumps and a place to park! Way crazier than I thought they'd be. Wednesday we did our pre-trip tests. You either get section 1,2,3 or 4. I won't get to detailed here but the truck is broken up into sections just to make the testing less time consuming. You don't know what section you'll get though so you have to know the whole thing obviously and Section 4 is the entire truck so a couple lucky students will have to do the whole thing anyway. Yep, I got section 4 so I had to do the entire truck! lol It was really no big deal because like I said, you have to know the whole thing anyway. Thursday morning we all got to drive up and down the grades in the mountains. That was a great experience and a beautiful drive. That afternoon we did the backing tests. I'm not sure if I mentioned but at this point we are down to 10 students out 14. We actually lost 6 but picked up 2 from the class ahead of us. They had paperwork issues that held them up a bit. Anyway, Friday was road test day! I went 2nd and got a 9. That means above average. Average score is around 15, you can get like 29 or 30 I think and still pass, and anything below 10 points is above average. Anyway, I was happy about that. Two guys who had prior experience got a 6 and an 8 so I feel like I'm doing very well.

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.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Brett N.'s Comment
member avatar

Saturday we did a close quarters driving exercise in the yard. The instructors set up an obsticle course of sorts with cones that requires really tight turns and it's supposed to simulate parking lot type driving. Evidently a large percentage of accidents happen at truckstops and other parking lot areas. It was a useful exercise. We then got a mock assignment that we had to trip plan. We got a class on reading the trucking atlas and had to plan a trip from Watertown, NY to Perris, CA with a stop at the yard in Utah to drop the first trailer and deliver one from the yard to Perris. We had to plan for hours driving, on duty not driving, sleeper and off duty. We had to plan for when we would need gas, what weigh stations we'd pass, where we'd stop, etc. We also had to fill out daily logs for every day and put a 34 hour reset in there at some point. (I reset in Las Vegas by the way! lol)Anyway, it was also a very useful exercise. So we had today, Sunday, off and Monday we go to the Dept. of Licensing to get our temp. CDL's. The hard copies will be mailed to our home address's. In the afternoon we'll start company orientation, Tuesday we will have a full day of company orientation. It sounds like this is setting us up with driver numbers and stuff for pay. Getting us familiar with all the paperwork and actually becoming an employee of the company. Wednesday morning with finish with orientation and Wednesday afternoon we should know who our trainer is going to be. With any luck we'll be headed out with our trainers either Wednesday, Thursday or Friday. We will spend at least 28 days out on the road with a certified trainer during which time we will have to log 200 hours of driving and at least 40 backs. I must say that I'm happy with the training we've received. The instructors are very knowledgable and do a good job. I've talked to probably 20 drivers, most of them owner operators, but some company drivers, and all but 2 were very satisfied with Central as a company. I'm really not looking forward to 28 days of OTR training with a trainer but it's definitely the right thing. As much as I want to get a truck and get out there on my own (with my wife) I know that I'm not really ready. The month of practice and experience will be a major part of actually learning to be a truck driver. I'm hoping I get a trainer that is truly a professional driver and wants to pass on as much knowledge and info as he can. I'm ready to soke it up and make the transition to being a solo driver as smooth as possible and hopefully get my wife through everything soon so we can truly be a team and double our income! lol Thanks again for everything and ask any questions if you have them. I have my computer back now and will try to keep up more.

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.

Owner Operator:

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

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Sounds like things are going great for ya!

Yeah, teaming up with someone is really tough and most people are dying to get their own truck by the time they're done with training. But at least 28 days isn't very long. There are some programs that are 3 months or more. Now that's a long time to be teaming with someone!

But you're going to find that your time with a trainer will be the portion of your training where you learn the most. The schooling is a good start and shows you some of the basics, but that time on the road with a trainer is where the theory of everything gets set aside and the practical application of it becomes a reality. That's when you learn how it's really done out there and just how complex a day in the life of a trucker can be. There's soooooo much to think about, so much to plan for, and so many things that change from moment to moment. It's a real eye-opener once you get out there.

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