Houston Community College CDL School

Topic 22303 | Page 2

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Yuuyo Y.'s Comment
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Well I'm back home. I left the house at 06:10 and arrived there around 06:40. I wanted to eat at Arby's, but I didn't have enough time. I'll have to leave at 05:30 if I want to have anything to eat before noon.

Class runs from 07:00 to 17:30 Monday through Thursday with Friday being a "work at home day." I read here a lot that training is usually 180 hours or so, but this class is ~268 hours. The instructor also emphasised that it was PTDI certified. Now, I don't know much so that just sounds like filler to me, but if anyone knows how great that is, then I'd like to hear it. One of the things he mentioned that was good here was that our CDL test takes place at the school; we don't go to the DPS to test.

He regaled us with a tale of him bringing a student to the DPS a few years back at 08:00, and a lady told them since they needed to clear all the trucks off of the lot, that they would fail every student no matter what. And sure enough, they did.

Nothing much happened today; the first thing that happened between 07:00 and 08:00 was listening to a recruiter talk to everyone who was enrolled. After that we filled out a bunch of signatures on a bunch of forms throughout the day, and listened to the man talk about trucking in general. Some of the students were focused on money money money, and then the occasional ELD question.

When I was reading through all the packets that they handed out discussing policies and such, it stated that we get three attempts at passing our CDL exam or we're out of there. That brought out my anxiety a little bit. "What if I fail?" etc. type things, but if I take a step back and think, I can realise that if I'm showing up everyday and actively attempting to learn, I should have no worries. Some people complain about the 10 hour day, but honestly, give me all the hours you're going to give me. Let me be there all day; it doesn't cost me any more cash. I kind of wish that us that already had our permits were told "All right, go out back and learn pre-trip this week.", but it's not going to happen.

One thing the instructor told us at the end of the class was that when we get our permits, we need to absoloutley make sure we're type 1 non-excepted interstate on our medical certificate. I'm confident that that was my choice, but he also mentioned that we need to tell the DPS clerk to have a "direct entry of medical card into computer." so that later down the line we don't get a nasty letter telling us we've been downgraded to a class C. I didn't tell the lady this. Oh boy. That means next week when everyone goes to get their permits, I'll be right at the DPS making sure that that's what happened. I don't even know what I'm going to say when I get there or what "type of visit" I'm going to select at the computer when I get there.

And also, I need to park in the shade. It's 95 F+ recently in Houston and my car was hot as Satan's armpits.

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.

Interstate:

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

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Yuuyo, Community Colleges CDL courses are longer, because they get some additional funding for their course through grant programs. They have to meet minimum standards to receive those monies, and one of those minimums is length of course study time.

PTDI certification isn't really a big deal. It's something you pay for, and it's more a marketing gimmick than anything else. But, Community College CDL training is really good, and some people really seem to benefit from the extra time spent on the studies.

Good luck, and thanks for keeping us posted!

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.
Jeremy C.'s Comment
member avatar

Don't get obsessed with details, Yuuyo. There's a pot of gold at the end of that rainbow. Focus on your course requirements and enjoy the ride! Your wheels are already rolling!!!

smile.gif

Yuuyo Y.'s Comment
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So the second day went by. It was raining a lot yesterday and today. Getting back home on 610 north loop westbound was a bit of a pain to say the least. I saw plenty of accidents on the way home. I parked in the shade this time which did me a bunch of nothing since it was cloudy all day!

We didn't do much of anything today, and one of the dudes dropped bringing us down to 10 students. We did the bookwork and packets for Texas Special Requirements and General Knowledge. We watched a video from Truckers Against Trafficking. The teacher got us signed up for online work we have to do by the end of the 6 weeks, so I'm going to see if I can't finish that this week to get it over with. It's like 37 chapters in this book called Bumper To Bumper.

About halfway into the day we got outside while the teacher just outlined where things were on the outside of the truck like clearance lights, the 5th wheel, catwalk, etc. He also had all of us one by one in two trucks climb in and out of the trucks. I got inside one of them and played with the stick a bit before getting out.

And at the end of the day we had a recruiter from McElroy come by and talk to us for an hour. They seemed a lot better than Melton was from last week, but a flatbed only regional company just doesn't appeal with what I want to do for now. But hey, some of the guys really are into that required home every week type of job.

We should start getting into trucks next Thursday. I got home at around 19:00 and I feel like it's been a short day and it's only 15:00, even though I woke up at 05:00 to go to school. That's about half an hour too early if I want to eat at Arby's. I got to the campus at 06:15 - 45 minutes early.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

Jeremy C.'s Comment
member avatar

Awesome machines, aren't they? And you'll be rolling one in almost no time at all. You seem to be all over the studies already, so no need to remind you about that. So, I'll just remind you to smile a lot and enjoy this great opportunity!

Hey, you're no longer just reading about it or thinking about it - you're actually doing it live... How cool is that? Soon you'll be answering questions and giving trucking advice to the newbies just like these great folks are doing for us now. Even better... Soon we'll be real truckers!!! (Yeah, the old guys won't get it, they forgot about how exciting it is - but we know!) rofl-1.gif

Yuuyo Y.'s Comment
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Just a few more days for you!

Yuuyo Y.'s Comment
member avatar

This third day wasn't much else either, but I think that's going to start going away now. We began by going through the other sections, combination vehicles and air breaks. After that, we went outside to a truck where the instructor had us messing with the glad hands, the 5th wheel drawbar, raising and lowering the landing gear. He uncoupled and recoupled the truck to the trailer and has us all watch. He opened the engine and pointed out what to check for pre-trip per the DPS handbook's combination vehicles section. That entire 90 minutes went by so fast compared to the slow, in-class time.

Then at noon we went to do all the online stuff required for the class. I did all of that except for about 5 tests at the end. I have until the end of the course to do it, and they're all 100 question tests over the permit/endorsement tests. I got to leave at 14:30 and hopefully we'll have something more interesting to do tomorrow, since we've basically gone through the entire book.

A lot of people here often are talking about their CDL testing and passing/failing etc. Since we get new classes every two weeks, there's constantly rotating new people in and people getting their license out.

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.

Combination Vehicle:

A vehicle with two separate parts - the power unit (tractor) and the trailer. Tractor-trailers are considered combination vehicles.

Yuuyo Y.'s Comment
member avatar

Today was mostly nothing again, just people catching up to get their permits and do the online work. He took us outside before it rained and pointed more to parts in the engine, and then got inside of the truck and did an air break test for all of us. The only thing productive I can say I did today was pre-trip on the engine. For the first time, three of us went outside and the guy who was a former mechanic helped point out all the parts. We had a packet of what to look for and what to say, so we went real slow trying to figure out what part was what and where it was at. Then after that another person and I practiced pre-trip on the engine and the catwalk part of the tractor about two extra times today.

There was nothing else to do, so we could go early. I left at around 15:00. I just want to start getting in a truck and doing pre-trip every day already, but we're going to have to wait until the 4th of June for that. I can't imagine what we're going to be doing next week if everyone is good and gets their permit.

Yuuyo Y.'s Comment
member avatar

School is closed for memorial day, sadly. I want to get all these days over with already so we can start getting into the trucks. Today, we didn't do anything but listen and watch videos. At lunch, class was dismissed so people may go permit testing. Someone did that yesterday when he left, and a few others were going today. At lunch, the same person and I went and looked over pre-trip on the engine again. I'm not sure if we're saying all the words right or in the right order. Like, what does the examiner want us to say about coolant or power steering fluid levels? I just say that it's at the correct level. Is there an exact wording and they'll be hard-assed about it if we don't say the exact word in the exact order they want to hear? We'll probably figure that out in the next week or two.

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

Yuuyo, that is one big difference between a community college course as opposed to a company sponsored program or private school. Community colleges need to drag the course out long, where private schools try to get you in and out in 3-4 weeks. I went the private school route and spent only the first week on classroom (videos, permitting, etc). The following Monday we were doing pretrip and on Tuesday we began driving and backing. Regarding the coolant and power steering reservoirs I was taught that it's properly mounted and secured, not cracked or leaking and is filled to manufacturers specifications. We were given a sheet that was word for word what we had to say for it. If you haven't yet, look at the pretrip available on here from Daniel B that he had created when he was a trainer with Prime

That should atleast give you a head start.

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.

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

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