CRST - Training Adventures In Cedar Rapids

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PackRat's Comment
member avatar

Good to read these updates. Remember that it's one session at a time behind the steering wheel and one day at a time. You're making progress each day, which is the main thing. good-luck.gif

Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

Jeremy

Good luck. Not to talk negatively about the schools process, but it seems like you are getting very limited time behind the wheel. 30 minutes here, 30 minutes there, I feel you would just get settled into the drivers seat, and crapola, your allotted 30 minutes is up.

Hope it went well Chris

Most local CDL schools as well as some company schools are like this. You share the truck with a few other students and one instructor. Because of this, actual driving and backing time is limited.

This was a big reason i chose Prime. I KNEW i would need one on one, major instruction. At Prime, we get our permits and head out OTR with a trainer actually picking up and delivering loads. the student does all.of the driving. then a week or two later we test for the CDL. However, because of this, we didnt get weeks of classroom instruction.

Some people do better at the CDL schools, some learn better OTR. Its a matter of what is best for the person. even after driving 10k miles with my permit, i still failed the backing test omce and the driving test twice. I was a great driver though but needed to change trucks for the test and couldnt master the clutch on the new truck :(

:::;Rainy ducks, hoping to not get hit by the tomatoes Jeremy is going to throw for her highjacking his thread:::

rofl-3.gif

keep it up jeremy! get er done

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.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

:::;Rainy ducks, hoping to not get hit by the tomatoes Jeremy is going to throw for her highjacking his thread:::

rofl-1.gif

No maters thrown from me!

This thread is supposed to be about information, and you just gave more info in one post than I did in five of 'em.

thank-you.gif

Jeremy C.'s Comment
member avatar

Out early for self-study today. Tomorrow we start at 6:15 am from here on out. Should start our testing by Wednesday. We are off on Sunday, and my wife and mother-in-law are driving over here tomorrow. So, just a few hours training tomorrow and then I'm taking off to a hotel for Sat night/Sun morning for some much needed relaxing and family time.

Got out driving again today, and got another lesson is dealing with... Different types of people. Had an instructor with me this time that was sort of challenging to communicate with and lots of fun to deal with. Now, in his defense, he's not difficult by choice, just an older fella that is pretty set in his ways. Actually, no student that has tested with him for their drive test has ever passed.

But... I believe I have him figured out. First, he is not difficult by choice. Second, he seems to believe that there is always room for improvement (something that is very hard to argue with, I don't care who you are!) Third, he has his own way of communicating and I don't think he realizes that it may not always be the most effective way to get a point across or convey a message.

After realizing these many things, and using some serious consideration, I think I really admire this guy. His communication could use some work, but I truly believe he really does mean well.

Anyway, I took what I could from his critique of my driving today and made a note of every constructive point I could find. He has lots of experience, and appears to have lots of knowledge, so I'd be a fool to overlook his thoughts just because I didn't like the way he expressed them.

Also of note is the fact that when we train with NADTA we eat lunch there instead of back at the training center with everyone else. (Also want clarify here that when we train with NADTA we are not exactly somewhere else. NADTA is virtually a part of CRST and is located about a 5 minute walk from CRST, and many people walk back and forth everyday instead of taking the shuttle van.)

Anyway, we eat up there and we have outside people that I think are on contract whom prepare, deliver, and serve our food everyday. And while they certainly may be getting paid for their service, I am still quite grateful to them because they do it.

Especially on days like today. The temps are somewhere in the 80's today. And while that's not exactly blistering, it could not have been fun for those three gentlemen to stand at that huge grill making burgers today for our lunch, nor for the ladies standing in front of the grill to serve us our food. Yeah, yeah, getting paid, whatever. I'm very grateful for their efforts!

Speaking of food, there are a lot of people here and the menu is pretty predictable and pretty mundane. And you don't get a huge amount of anything. Further, they do not serve dinner here, just breakfast and lunch. And for weekends you're pretty much on your own. So, if you come this way, make sure to save some funds for supplemental dietary items. Theres plwnt of stores within a stones throw of here - 2 drug stores, a gas station, a grocery store, lots of delivery and fast food options, as well as a shuttle to Wal-Mart and back twice a week. There is also a decent sized common area with a large sink, two microwaves, quite a few vending machines, and free hot coffee on tap from 4 am to 11 pm (YESSSSSSS!!!)

There are other places that feed you better, but I wouldn't trade my experience here for a month's worth of fast food!

Trying to think of what else I haven't covered before now... There is a laundry facility here that cost $1 to wash and $1 to dry. However, we are within 30 seconds walking distance of two other CRST buildings here that have lounge and bathroom areas for company truckers and drivers passing through. And both of those areas also have laundry machines, vending machines, full bathrooms, free coffee, and quiet areas we can go to study. I prefer doing my laundry over at the Expedited office building because, even though they are open to us, hardly anybody here uses those areas, and hardly any truckers or drivers go to that area since its about as far away from the truck parking as you can get.

Well, there's more stuff I want to add about this place, not training related, but rather just general stuff so people know what else is here, etc. Just can't think of the other stuff right now. I need to take better notes, lol.

So, I'll be back with more later. Take care and have a great weekend everyone!

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.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

When you say start your testing on Wednesday, that means you'll be getting your license soon doesn't it?

Where did the time go?

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

Oh NO! She's bringing the Mother-in-law!shocked.pngrofl-3.gifrofl-3.gifrofl-3.gifgood-luck.gif

Jeremy C.'s Comment
member avatar

When you say start your testing on Wednesday, that means you'll be getting your license soon doesn't it?

Where did the time go?

Been asking that for 40+ years...

Oh NO! She's bringing the Mother-in-law!shocked.pngrofl-3.gifrofl-3.gifrofl-3.gifgood-luck.gif

Yup! If I don't make it back alive say nice things about me!

Jeremy C.'s Comment
member avatar

Well, half day of training today. 45 minutes of driving early this morning and one alley dock after that. Worked on some PTI by myself and enviously watched some other people practicing backing up.

Morning went pretty quick. It sounds like we start testing on Thursday, so I really need to apply myself. I've got a few days left to learn backing, so im thinking of trying to catch some YouTube videos to see if that will help. I've got lots of notes to read from, but still waiting for something to click. And I've had lots of help now, so it's up to me to make this happen. Pretty sure I'm just not focusing on the right things. But I'll get there. We should have at least one more backing practice before Thursday. Plus, even though we can only test once per day, they do give us four tries for each part of the test. So that's technically four days of practice all by itself. So I just have to get it together on my end.

Anyway, wifey will be here soon. I almost prefer to spend the time studying at this point because I'm running out of time to get this right. But spending time with her is just a little too irresistible to pass up, so not much studying until tomorrow night.

Its been terrifically inspiring to see on here how many other people across the country got started or got permitted this week. Seems like trucking has a prayer after all. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Jeremy C.'s Comment
member avatar

Sunday, May 20th

Spent the night at a hotel with wifey, went out to dinner, and got a great night of sleep. Feel recharged and ready for this next week.

Some other thoughts I wanted to share about the school. No matter what anyone tells you about not volunteering information or answering only whats asked, be careful with your paperwork here!

This past week we seen a fella put on the bus and sent home this for failing to disclose a no-seatbelt ticket from two years ago. He didn't think it was important, so he didn't write it down on the disclosure form. And now he's gone. If you have something to list when they ask for traffic or criminal history, no matter if you think it's important or not, disclose that info immediately on the form. This is a multi-million dollar company with a huge amounting resources. If there is something out there on record, IT WILL BE FOUND. So many people either think it's not a big deal or (worse) try to be clever (because they are going to be the one that finally "beats the system") and it always ends badly.

Also, another thing we had to do last week when starting at NADTA (the part of CRST that trains us) was what they call an agility test. Cant remember if I had mentioned this earlier and wanted to make sure I got it in here because I'm trying to list as much stuff as I can about this place.

We received instruction on how to properly climb in and out if truck cab and how to climb in and out of a trailer. And then we went outside and began. First, we had to open and close the hood of the truck to prove we could do it. Then we had to climb in and out of the cab to prove we could so that. Then we had to duck walk under the trailer, from one side to the other. And finally we had to properly climn into the back of a trailer and back out to prove that we could do it if we ever needed to.

If you can't do any of these things within something like three attempts, then you have to go to the HR department here and they will decide if you can stay here to train or not. I don't know why HR has anything to do with it or how that whole process works. Just know that's the current rules here for the agility test.

We also just spent the last week studying and going over something called the Smith system. It's sort of a defensive driving course aimed at helping you to see things better while driving and how to be safer in general around other people out on the road.

We finally took a test on that on Friday, and anybody who failed that test had to show up to the classroom at 5am yesterday (a Saturday) morning to take the test again - yikes! If that doesn't motivate you to study and pass then I just don't know what will.

Finally, the staff and trainers here are fond of reminding us that we are not training for a job because currently we DO NOT have a job. We are training for our CDL and also taking part in one very long interview process right now. Which is exactly what this is... We are monitored in almost everything, from the amount of time we spend studying to how early or late we show up for class. Lots of things go into our training file and all of those things combined are taken into account when the company reviews the original job application we filled out.

It's not like big brother is watching you 24 hours a day, but if you constantly do poorly on exams or like to skip classes, etc., you just might pass the test and get a CDL, but you also might be taking that CDL and a bunch of new financial obligations to go look for a job elsewhere. They only want people who are serious about learning.

So, that's just some more thoughts and notes. Like I said, just trying to post more information than just how my day went. Just in case someone stumbles by looking for more info.

Hope everyone is enjoying a lazy Sunday!!!

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.
John P.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks intresting

Sunday, May 20th

Spent the night at a hotel with wifey, went out to dinner, and got a great night of sleep. Feel recharged and ready for this next week.

Some other thoughts I wanted to share about the school. No matter what anyone tells you about not volunteering information or answering only whats asked, be careful with your paperwork here!

This past week we seen a fella put on the bus and sent home this for failing to disclose a no-seatbelt ticket from two years ago. He didn't think it was important, so he didn't write it down on the disclosure form. And now he's gone. If you have something to list when they ask for traffic or criminal history, no matter if you think it's important or not, disclose that info immediately on the form. This is a multi-million dollar company with a huge amounting resources. If there is something out there on record, IT WILL BE FOUND. So many people either think it's not a big deal or (worse) try to be clever (because they are going to be the one that finally "beats the system") and it always ends badly.

Also, another thing we had to do last week when starting at NADTA (the part of CRST that trains us) was what they call an agility test. Cant remember if I had mentioned this earlier and wanted to make sure I got it in here because I'm trying to list as much stuff as I can about this place.

We received instruction on how to properly climb in and out if truck cab and how to climb in and out of a trailer. And then we went outside and began. First, we had to open and close the hood of the truck to prove we could do it. Then we had to climb in and out of the cab to prove we could so that. Then we had to duck walk under the trailer, from one side to the other. And finally we had to properly climn into the back of a trailer and back out to prove that we could do it if we ever needed to.

If you can't do any of these things within something like three attempts, then you have to go to the HR department here and they will decide if you can stay here to train or not. I don't know why HR has anything to do with it or how that whole process works. Just know that's the current rules here for the agility test.

We also just spent the last week studying and going over something called the Smith system. It's sort of a defensive driving course aimed at helping you to see things better while driving and how to be safer in general around other people out on the road.

We finally took a test on that on Friday, and anybody who failed that test had to show up to the classroom at 5am yesterday (a Saturday) morning to take the test again - yikes! If that doesn't motivate you to study and pass then I just don't know what will.

Finally, the staff and trainers here are fond of reminding us that we are not training for a job because currently we DO NOT have a job. We are training for our CDL and also taking part in one very long interview process right now. Which is exactly what this is... We are monitored in almost everything, from the amount of time we spend studying to how early or late we show up for class. Lots of things go into our training file and all of those things combined are taken into account when the company reviews the original job application we filled out.

It's not like big brother is watching you 24 hours a day, but if you constantly do poorly on exams or like to skip classes, etc., you just might pass the test and get a CDL, but you also might be taking that CDL and a bunch of new financial obligations to go look for a job elsewhere. They only want people who are serious about learning.

So, that's just some more thoughts and notes. Like I said, just trying to post more information than just how my day went. Just in case someone stumbles by looking for more info.

Hope everyone is enjoying a lazy Sunday!!!

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.
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