1 Year Of Safe Driving Complete!

Topic 23219 | Page 1

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Rob T.'s Comment
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For those who do not know, i started out of cdl school as a local food service driver, requiring me to physically unload my trailer with a 2 wheel dolly daily. The path i took is not recommended and quite frankly i had a bit of luck making it to this accomplishment. I posted this over in my diary but am reposting it here as well as this area of the forum has much more traffic.

It's hard to believe that it's been a year already. I just made it to 1 year of safe, incident/accident free, citation free driving. I am amazed at how much better my backing is compared to when i first started and look forward to improving even more. My first year of driving, including the 12 weeks in training in which i was still paid my normal HOURLY wage, was a little over $82,000. Thats pretty dang good considering i had 2 to 3 months i was only working 4 days per week but still putting in 48 to 50 hours a week. Keep in mind the weeks i worked 5 days i was putting in 60-65 hours a week. Regardless of the money made i still agree with most experienced drivers when they say its best to start OTR. My first year could have turned out quite differently had i been involved in accidents which isnt too uncommon in many local jobs for rookies. The pressure to get your truck unloaded when theyre loading 16k-20k on you on a daily basis can quickly overwhelm you and accidents can happen in the blink of an eye. Not all local jobs require you to unload but a majority of them do. If you want to do this kind of work it'll still be there after you get a year of experience. The turnover rate for food service drivers is very high. On top of that injuries happen frequently whether its back strains or falling out of the trailer. Trust me when i say there will still be a job there after you have your experience. I know i went against the advice of the experienced drivers here when i went into this but i really felt it was the best option for my family, and im not too sure i would've done it this way had i not had the mandatory 12 weeks of training with an experienced driver in the seat next to me. Although i overcame the odds stacked against me i still have alot to learn. I had a few close calls that easily could've resulted in an accident, and a couple more had i not G.O.A.L. Being in such a small metro area helped me achieve this accomplishment as well as the advice ive received in this forum. In my market, US Foods sends someone out alone a week after they obtain license, and Reinhart hires as "associate driver" where its listed as 180 days of training. I cant say for sure what Sysco or Martin Brothers do for training.

Thank you guys for following along on my journey. I will post my pay for my first year of "solo" pay although itll likely only be a little higher due to the pay increases i received. Started out at $21.90 and received a 50 cent increase every 3 months. By my 9th or 10th Month my manager bumped me to top pay (24.50) due to my performance. Although im hourly I'm not allowed to slack. Ive gotten more efficient with my unloading that im most days finishing atleast an hour ahead of schedule.


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.


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.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.


Operating While Intoxicated

Old School's Comment
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A Big Congratulations Rob!

I tip my hat to you.

You've done a remarkable job, and while I am unaware of the statistical likelihood of you making it this far by starting that particular job as a brand new rookie driver, I feel certain you are a very rare person that accomplishes what you did. You know I never recommend the path you took, and I know you realize why, but I have nothing but respect for the results you've been able to achieve.

I've said it before, but I'm going to say it again... You are Superman!

Big Scott (CFI Driver/Tra's Comment
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My thoughts match Old School, except he said it way better than I every could. You have accomplished so much and should be proud. You took a most difficult route to that important first year. May you have so many more. Thank you for all you have helped here at TT. Keep up the great work and great posts.

G-Town's Comment
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I concur with Old School as well. Great job Rob! Remarkable!

Thanks for investing the time to share it all.

Bobcat_Bob's Comment
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Congratulations! I am always impressed with some of the places food service trucks have to get in and out of and all the work they have to do. The most work I have to do is hook a set lol

Here in Chicago I always hear McClain is hiring drivers with a upto 10k sign on bonus, the fact they are always advertising for drivers shows how few can cut it.

Peter M.'s Comment
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Nice job! Here's to many more years of the same.

Rob T.'s Comment
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Thank you guys, i honestly couldn't have done it without the advice ive seen over the years of reading the forum.

Bobcat ive talked to Mclane drivers here due to how heavy they're recruiting in this area. They run sleepers and 53 footers. 2 guys in the truck and each route lasts 16-20 hours. Here, they guarantee 65k your first year but all the guys ive talked to have told me theyre on track for 100k. I briefly contemplated looking into it more but the idea of essentially teaming is a big turn off for me.

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