Should I Choose A Company That Trains On Automatic Transmissions And Have That Restriction On My CDL?

Topic 22964 | Page 3

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Yuuyo Y.'s Comment
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Manual transmission becoming an endorsement sounds like signs of being a near full auto industry.

Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

West Side Transport has it's little wierdness going on for sure. Every one of our training trucks is a 10 speed manual, but every other truck is an Autoshift and has been for quite a few years. At orientation, both new and experienced drivers are given a road test of sorts. It's pretty pathetic actually. I think they have them drive around the block lol. Driver's with more than 6 months of verifiable otr experience, complete orientation, are issued their trucks (Autoshift unless a manual is available and they want it) and they go on their merry way.

Less than 6 months verifiable experience, and they get the joy of going out with a trainer in... Tada a truck with a manual transmission. After completion of the training, they're given a very thorough road test (about 1-1/2 hours) tested on blund side backing, 45 and 90 degree alley docks. If they pass that, they're issued a truck.. yes an Autoshift again unless their just happens to be a former training truck, they shift very well, and they want the manual.

Crazy huh? I was told our new training trucks would be Autoshift, but the first couple are beginning to come in and their manuals lol. They're not ready to be issued yet and I'm not wanting one of the first batch. The darn things are showing up with steel wheels and not our typical aluminum ones. I sure don't need the extra weight carrying a trainee and all their stuff in my truck as I'm generally always hovering barely under 80k pounds as it is.

Anyway it is what it is.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

Oh I forgot to add... Basically if you have less than 6 months verifiable experience, you cannot have a manual transmission restriction on your CDL to work for West Side because you're required to do your training in a manual. More than 6 months.. I really don't think it matters. Again, craziness.

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.
Colin K.'s Comment
member avatar

I am still with my mentor at CR England and have an Automatic Transmission Only designation on my CDL. I have no problem with that.

I started out training with another company that had manual transmissions. Frankly, after going over Donner Pass four times now, including at night (no snow, thank God), I realized that I'm a much safer/better driver on an automatic. I don't feel a manual transmission is for me, though I get that other people prefer them.

Best Regards, Colin

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.
Larry B. 's Comment
member avatar

Just finished out monthly conference call where we get to hear all the great things CFI is doing and get to ask questions of our company president as well as heads of other departments. CFI has no plans to faze out training on manual transmissions in the schools. The fleet only has a few manuals left. Don't believe every rumer you hear.

I just got off the phone with a CFI recruiter named Courtney. Courtney said their school is now 3 weeks instead of four and you WILL have an automatic transmission restriction on your license.

Big Scott's Comment
member avatar

Wow. That is news to me. And different from what the president of the company said to me. I will try to look deeper into this.

Don's Comment
member avatar

Wow! I am glad I sneaked into CFI/Crowder just at the knick of time. I love my auto truck, but it is nice to not have that restriction on my cdl. I don't mind a stick, nut I am sure after a while my left k we would.

double-quotes-start.png

Just finished out monthly conference call where we get to hear all the great things CFI is doing and get to ask questions of our company president as well as heads of other departments. CFI has no plans to faze out training on manual transmissions in the schools. The fleet only has a few manuals left. Don't believe every rumer you hear.

double-quotes-end.png

I just got off the phone with a CFI recruiter named Courtney. Courtney said their school is now 3 weeks instead of four and you WILL have an automatic transmission restriction on your license.

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.
Mnemnosyne's Comment
member avatar

Automatics are here to stay because:

  • They are more fuel efficient
  • You can't hurt the engine by over-revving it on the downhills
  • Eliminating the need to shift has removed a big distraction for the driver so you can now focus better on more important things
  • It eliminates the danger of missing a gear on a downhill, and the inconvenience and danger of missing one on a big climb
  • It makes the initial CDL training faster and easier for new drivers
  • It eliminates an intimidating factor that prevents some people from taking a shot at trucking when in fact there is a big demand for drivers

I could go on, and in fact I may write an article about this at some point.

As someone new to trucking, I'm wondering why it's only now that automatics are being adopted. Manual transmission cars have been rare for my entire life - I've never been in one, to my knowledge. With all these advantages, why has it taken so long for manuals to start disappearing from trucks?

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.

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.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

Automatics are here to stay because:

  • They are more fuel efficient
  • You can't hurt the engine by over-revving it on the downhills
  • Eliminating the need to shift has removed a big distraction for the driver so you can now focus better on more important things
  • It eliminates the danger of missing a gear on a downhill, and the inconvenience and danger of missing one on a big climb
  • It makes the initial CDL training faster and easier for new drivers
  • It eliminates an intimidating factor that prevents some people from taking a shot at trucking when in fact there is a big demand for drivers

I could go on, and in fact I may write an article about this at some point.

double-quotes-end.png

As someone new to trucking, I'm wondering why it's only now that automatics are being adopted. Manual transmission cars have been rare for my entire life - I've never been in one, to my knowledge. With all these advantages, why has it taken so long for manuals to start disappearing from trucks?

It's an apples to oranges comparison. Totally different design and technology than a car or light truck. For starters, cars weigh about 3200-3600 pounds, not much more, but that's a fair average. Two pallets of water that I typically deliver to Walmart weigh over 4000 pounds.

A loaded truck weighs 80,000 pounds, may more with permits or in specific states. The torque required to efficiently move that is incredibly high and would cook a standard fluid driven auto-trans. The newer, heavy-truck technology, which is a computerized auto-clutch type of mechanism built over the same gearbox used on the manual shift technology required years to perfect; required to elevate reliability, lower long-term maintenance costs and the price per unit.

Beyond that it becomes a highly technical conversation that is way above my pay grade!

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.

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.

Mnemnosyne's Comment
member avatar

Ah, I see. I didn't realize that an automatic transmission on a truck and a car were essentially completely different devices that perform a similar task in very different ways.

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