From 911 To Trucking

Topic 23079 | Page 1

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Monika D.'s Comment
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Hi y'all! I'm about to make the plunge into this new career, and I'm more than a little nervous!

I've thought about doing trucking for a long time, but the timing was never right until now. My husband and I moved to Florida last year to try something new, but he wasn't able to find a job, so he is currently working out of state :/ We have no kids or pets, so its just me working two jobs to barely pay bills, so I thought why not go for it? I have been a 911 dispatcher for most of my professional career, but I've really burnt out on the stress of that job, and didn't want to go back to it.

I called several companies, and a lot of them don't hire from Florida, but then I heard back from Stevens. I guess they partner with local driving schools, so I'll be going to a school that's 15 mins away from where I live! A couple friends also recommended this company, so it sounds like a good place to start. Hopefully I'm not jumping into this too quickly, but I don't have too many other options to make better money.

I'm really anxious about not getting a paycheck for a month, plus having to learn so much information in such a short time, and learning a whole new career, but I'm hoping that it will all be worth it? :)

Dispatcher:

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.
Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi and welcome to the forum!

Trucking is indeed unique. stevens is a good training company so good choice!

Study our written exam guide and you will pass with flying colors.

Talk a look at these links.

High Road CDL Training Program

Truck Driver's Career Guide

Rainys articles on training, the CDL exam, OTR relationships and 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.

S's Comment
member avatar

Good Luck! I start school tomorrow. Having all the normal reactions..Nervous, Excited you name it!! Best of Luck to you with your new adventure also.

KRIS-T's Comment
member avatar

I too am a 911 operator/supervisor (15 years) and will soon be making the switch over to trucking.... so I can relate. It is def a big change in career and lifestyle thats for sure lol

Wish you the best, I will be starting in October :)

Monika D.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks y'all!

Today was the start of week two. Last week of classroom study was easy, but now I'm feeling really overwhelmed now thinking about everything I have to learn and whether I'm going to be able to do it all...I really want to be able to pass my test and not have to wait another week!

I'm worried that I made a big mistake doing this :(

S's Comment
member avatar

Hi Monika I'm in week 2 of training also Hang in there we can do this!! you will pass your test. I felt the same way with the permit written test but the high road training on here really helped me ! So far the pre trip is getting to me not including the heat lol Best of luck to you! Breathe and stay focused that's what I'm trying to do also!shocked.pngsmile.gif

Old School's Comment
member avatar
I'm worried that I made a big mistake doing this :(

Hang in there Monika! Believe it or not, everybody second guesses themselves when trying to start their trucking career. Everything is fast paced and can easily be overwhelming. Here's an article you may find helpful concerning the Roller Coaster Of Emotions While In Truck Driver Training.

It's honestly not a big deal if you don't pass a test on your first attempt. There are plenty of professional drivers out here who had to take their tests multiple times. Keep the faith - you can do this!

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.
Monika D.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks, y'all!

So far I'm actually doing pretty well, and I'm on to the final phase...but I'm so exhausted. Road driving and alley dock seem like the hardest part by far! My knees are killing me from clutching and climbing in and out of the trucks, I'm so tired of being out in the heat and so overwhelmed and stressed about the final test....

To make things worse, my husband lost his job last week, so I'm under even more pressure to pass on the first go because neither of us is making any money right now. I considered quitting school, but he told me that I should stay.

If this boot camp kind of training is supposed to be an indication of what this job is like, I'm not totally sure if its the right one for me :/

Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

One main problem with training is that no, it doesnt give you an accurate view of the job. i wanted to quit about four or five times during my team training until someone explained to me that going solo is nothing like training or teaming.

heres the truth... and nothing but the truth...as a US postsl worker, i came from a high stress, constantly watched environment with directional microphones, constant cameras, and supervisors who would dock our vacation time if they thought we took too long in the restroom. i worked in a 24/7 facility where it took me 6 years just to get christmas day off and after 18 years i was still forced to work thanksgiving, new years, christmas eve... even my birthday cause it fell on july 4th weekend.

After all that, trucking is easy. no lie. the training is hard, the time management is hard to learn, the trip planning is hard at first... but after a few months.... i realized this is the most awesome job for me.

why? because i am.not micromanaged. heck, i might only talk to my dispatcher once every few weeks. we went for 2 months once and i called him to say i miss him lol. if i want to go home for thanksgiving AND christmas i do. if i save up my vacation i can do new years too. no bidding for vacation time. no dealing with bum coworkers or nasty bosses.

i get to choose when and where i sleep eat and shower. if i want to drive four hours and take a nap i do. if i want to shutdown in snow i do, if i want to drive it, i do. i no longer have the "dreading monday" and "i cant make it a whole week" feeling. Now i see my week as long as my current load. if my load last 3 days and i want a longer break i just ask to be made available for my next load for later. if i need a 34, i tell them i want one.

i could.never go back to a 9 to 5 with someone watching me, set times for starting and lunch etc. it would drive me insane because OTR i have so much freedom. heck, i would hate to do GTowns Walmart dedicated or Christians Old Dominion P&D because there isnnot enough freedom. that sounds crazy when i officially only get home time 4 days a month... but you can get time off for repairs, some loads have a lot of time to run it hard and take a break. those reading know i love traveling and getting jacuzzi suites everywhere. i make me time.

i have so much more money so that stress is gone. the work stress is gone. my boss stress is gone.... today is my first day of home time before my surgery tomorrow. the paperwork and approval was EASY. that stuff could take weeks at the USPS. i thought i was pregnant a few weeks ago which freaked me.out. so my dispatcher ran me through our terminal where our in house doctor gave me a blood test and i got the results back before my 34 was up.... how cool is that? Due to past issues, i would be considered a high risk pregnancy and the HR lady told me.not to worry that an in house job could be found for me if i had to come off the road.

every single person in my company offers support. and all that is expected of me: get there early, be safe, tell them of issues early. thats it. i tell them when the equipment needs repair and they approve it. i tell them when im getting stressed and need sleep and i get it. heck, it sounds mean, but ive told night dispatchers "dont bother me tonight. im doing an 8/2 split and will be fine. wake me and you can find someone to deliver this load" i even refused to fuel in a certain unsafe truck stop.and when questioned by a new guy i told him the same. "fuel me at this safe stop or have someone else pick it up". my fuel got approved quickly. lol

Now, the majority of stress is what i put on myself. Not once have i been late for delivery. i did have an accident my first month out but that is almost 3 years old now. would i get fired for being late a couple times? no. nor for an accident. but it does affect my reputation... and therefore how.much i can get away with when asking for.things i want.

im NEVER told no. but i also do crappy loads others dont want, and i drive nights and weekends and i drive crappy weather others wont.

My point is that as a 911 dispatcher you have suffered so.much worse. once you get a handle on it, the job is easy. the whining cry babies are usually the ones who never worked a real and difficult job.

hang in there a full year. if after the year is up and its not for you then so be it. but please please please dont give up before you truly understand how awesome this can be.

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.

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.

P&D:

Pickup & Delivery

Local drivers that stay around their area, usually within 100 mile radius of a terminal, picking up and delivering loads.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers for instance will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.

Dispatcher:

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

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.

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

Kim T.'s Comment
member avatar

I really wish there was a like button on here. I would like Rainy’s comment a 100 times!

In the three days I’ve been here (has it really only been three days???), i e heard several current drivers, trainers, instructors sting the same thing. I’ve wanted to do this since I was a kid. I’m 55 now and I e waited too long to just give up and walk away when I’m aggravated...they will have to kick me out and even then I’m going to be kicking and screaming all the way out the door.

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