CRST - Training Adventures In Cedar Rapids

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Yuuyo Y.'s Comment
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Do you have a crummy temporary paper permit like they give here in Texas or do you have the real deal already?

Army 's Comment
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Rainy

I will ask my recruiter. He did tell me JP does not do prehire letters but that doesn't bother all that much. I have clear history across the board so I almost certain the only possible disqualification could be medical, but I dont think I will have any issues.

Safe travels

Prehire:

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.

Jeremy C.'s Comment
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Do you have a crummy temporary paper permit like they give here in Texas or do you have the real deal already?

Yuuyo, they gave me TWO crummy paper permits! rofl-1.gif

One is my "regular" license and one is my temporary CDL permit, if you can make any sense of that. But wait... It gets better! The plastic version. Is being mailed to my address back in Ohio but, according to counter lady, by the time it gets there I'll probably already have my actual CDL - which they don't mail, but hand to me right here. wtf.gif

Now, if I could just explain the look on my face as I watched her casually just reach over and flip my plastic license in the round file... I've never been attached to any form of ID before. But I swear a little piece of me died when she threw out my license and handed me two little pieces of paper! rofl-3.gif

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.
Jeremy C.'s Comment
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We'll, it's 1 am now. I fully intended to do a diary update for today, but I'm thoroughly trashed right now. I literally have done nothing but try to help people around me now for the last 9 hours or so.

I'm akso catching hell from some of my morally superior peers tonight, and they can just kiss my ass!

Everything I have for my short and stunted trucking education has been given to me - and now I'm trying to give it away. I'm no expert or guru or whatever, but I did pass the Damn exam, I do know a little about the book stuff thanks to this website and I had the free time tonight. So all the scared ass elitist students that turned into trucking Gods since noon today after passing a permit test can stick it where my Yankee sun don't shine!

I spent almost the last 6 hours out in the terminal yard outback going over air brakes and combination vehicles with some of these guys, at least 4 hours of that using flashlights. But most of them are finally getting it. Things are clicking as we stand beside a tractor and they actually see where the air lines connect or what the locking jaws on a fifth wheel look like.

These guys actually want to learn compared to the time wasters that don't. And I've got the time tonight, so I've tried to help. But then I just got questioned about it a few minutes ago, and I mean on some BS like I've crossed ranks and invited the unwashed to come dine at our royal table or something. Effen people amaze me sometimes.

Anyway, I'm going to bed because I am freakin beat. I'll update this tomorrow and God willing some of these guys will do a little better on their second swing at the exam tomorrow .

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Combination Vehicle:

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

Han Solo Cup's Comment
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Way to go, Jeremy. When I finally go for my CDL , I hope to either be like you or have people like you around me. Your desire to help others and pay-it-forward, even in little bits, is admirable. And I'm sure that your reviewing with the other students is only going to help you deepen your understanding.

Keep studying and practicing, and keep being your own person... don't listen to your supposedly "superior" peers. Your attitude will carry over into your job and you'll be better for it.

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.
Jeremy C.'s Comment
member avatar

Way to go, Jeremy. When I finally go for my CDL...

Solo, you'll find helpful people all over. And it's awesome if you help others in return. Keeps a nice circle going.

As for the above post, I can't delete posts or that thing would be gone already. Very embarrassing.

I had just had some words with some people last night and then headed to my rack last night. I was tired and not thinking very clearly.

This diary is supposed to be productive or at least informative and my rant last night was just me blowing off steam. Not one of the people I spoke with last night will ever see those words. And more importantly, that rant being here is both inappropriate and irrelevant.

I still have better and more relevant info to add from yesterday. I will try to get that up later today.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Jeremy...laser focus on learning and practicing.

Time invested attempting to help others "see the light" or "do it right" could yield negative returns. Try not to waste your time convincing the naysayers what you know to be the truth. Lead by example, showing them your effort and approach nets positive results.

Good luck!

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Jeremy C.'s Comment
member avatar

Jeremy...laser focus on learning and practicing.

Time invested attempting to help others "see the light" or "do it right" could yield negative returns. Try not to waste your time convincing the naysayers what you know to be the truth. Lead by example, showing them your effort and approach nets positive results.

Good luck!

Yes, sir, true story! However, in this instance, it was only because I had the free time last night and possibly some this evening. We start our next phase tomorrow and I've already been very clear about my boundaries - today is the last I can help them and they either sink or swim after that.

I really like helping others, but I didn't bring them here and I'm not responsible for 'em. Had to make sure we had a very clear understanding on that before I did anything yesterday. I don't wish bad events for people, but when it comes to learning this is a very selfish program. And I'm not carrying anyone across the finish line.

As always, I do appreciate the reality check. If I wasn't resolute about leaving it up to them after today, then I certainly am now. Thanks G-Town!

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Jeremy C.'s Comment
member avatar

Okay... I think Wednesday (yesterday) counts as day 3.

Losing track of things as I become more and more immersed in this program, sort of like floating through a body of water, except instead of wet you find yourself getting well-versed in words and acronyms that were very strange just three days ago. After an immersion process like this, I just cant imagine a trucking school from which you just go home every night.

So, yesterday, around 7am... They gathered us all up in big classroom we've been using for bookwork up until now. Then they tell us that they're so many people in this class that they have to break our testing sessions up into groups of people.

We did sone quick recaps on how the testing system works, had quesrions and answers, and then were told to study until we heard our bames called.

One group of 20 went to go test around 9am. The rest of us then began doing a big group study with PowerPoint slides on the wall, etc.

I was finally in the third group to be called around 11am.

I don't think I've mentioned anywhere before that our classes for the first three days began at 7am and ran until noon, when we break for lunch until 1pm. Then we go from 1pm until 4pm. In the morning and in the afternoon we usually squeeze in two rest breaks for bathroom, cigarettes, or whatever. And our instructors were very clear on day one - If you need to hit the bathroom or make a call or whatever, don't interrupt class explaining it, just go do it. They promise that you won't miss or gain any more class than you want to - they teach the information, but being there is up to you.

Okay, back on track - 11am, test time. So we're not allowed to take ANY books, notes, food, drink, etc., with us when we go to test. Pretty obvious stuff, right? And if they even see a cell phone, automatic fail for the day. I don't mention cheating because, well, if you get caught cheating, you deserve to be tossed out of the whole program - which is exactly what will haopen.

So, head off to another classroom full of computers that are connected directly to the DMV's computer system. And we take our tests on the computer. The only elaboration I will offer on that is that you do take three different tests on there, and you will know if you pass or fail each one as soon as you complete each one.

Now I will say that if you pass 1 or 2, you are not starting over tomorrow. You would just have to keep coming back to test on the one or two that you failed until you pass those. You can only test once per day, but they try to work with people for a few days to see if they can help you improve. I will even go as far as to say that they will setup a sort of monitored tutoring session, monitored for both progress and participation. And if you aren't at least trying, they are still nice enough to give you a ride to the bus station.

So I was sweating bullets like it was a murder trial instead of a DMV exam. I took all three tests, passed each one after another, and walked out feeling a mix of elation and fatigue.

Had to go see one if the instructors to tell them I passed. If you don't go see an instructor right after the exam, pass or fail, you could be kicked out the program. She gave me a voucher that I needed to take to the DMV in order to get my temporary CDL permit. The voucher means you've cleared the exam and it also pays for the temp license.

In case you're wondering if the DMV will believe I passed the exam or what if I just printed up a voucher on my own... You could print up a fake one, I suppose. But you just took your test on a DMV computer, so obviously they already know the result.

So, I go to the DMV next. Here at CRST Training center, they offer shuttle services to various places throughout the week. Some are just a weekly schedules thing, such as there is a shuttle going to the DMV from here about every two hours, every weekday. There are also shuttles going to and from the bus station, the airport, and some other places 7 days a week. The schedules are posted on walls everywhere in the training center.

So, a group of us were dropped off at the DMV around 12:45 or so (shuttle left CRST at 12:30.) And we went in to get our new permits. I covered some that in an earlier post, so no need to repeat it. And around 1:45 the shuttle was back to pick us up and drop off a different group of people.

Continued below...

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Congratulations on passing the first step of your journey, Jeremy. Regarding the asshats in your class, do what I did and RUN away from them as soon and far as you can. I had the same issue with two people when I arrived, and where are these experts "who know it all" now? If you guessed at the bottom of the class close to being sent home, you would be correct. They are both in automatics because they have no clue how to shift, not to mention having failed every backing test. If you hurt their feelings and they accuse you of turning on them, too bad. You won't be friends with them anyways.

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