Expats Moving Home - Interested In Trucking

Topic 23290 | Page 1

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Cantankerous Amicus's Comment
member avatar

Greetings,

New member here. My wife and I have been considering starting in the trucking industry for a few years now and we have some questions that hopefully someone here might be able to answer for us.

We have been doing some reading about companies that do paid CDL training and we are interested in going that route as team drivers. Our questions are the following:

We are both American, born and raised, but we have been self-employed sole proprietors for over ten years in the EU. I am curious as to what challenges that may pose for background checks of work history, criminal history (non-existent), potentially obtaining TWIC cards, etc. Has anyone here had to go through something similar? Not sure if being military or not makes a difference, but we are both non-military.

We both had standard US class C driver’s licenses that have been expired since late 2014. We haven’t needed to drive in Europe, so we don’t have EU licenses. When we get back to the states, should we initially get class C licenses again or could we go straight to CDL training, get the permit and wait until we pass the CDL tests? Will it cause us any troubles not having licenses for this long? How does it work with a company like Prime (for example) where the training and CDL testing is in Missouri, but the residence of the driver is in another state?

I am sure I will have more questions soon. I am doing some reading and studying here. (Great website and resource by the way!) In the meantime thanks for any advice.

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.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Big Scott (CFI Driver and's Comment
member avatar

You will probably need at least one year of recent driving experience. That will be your biggest stumbling block. You will also need to be able to prove your work history in the EU. You could call a couple of company recruiters and ask them. Also, this topic has been discussed here in the past. Try our search bar at the top of the page. Also read through our starter pack.

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.
Old School's Comment
member avatar

You'll need to get a regular driver's license first. I'd get on that immediately.

You should be able to prove your work history with income tax records.

Cantankerous Amicus's Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the replies and the links. I had been reading through some of the other literature on this site, but I haven't gotten through everything yet. I should have searched for the expat question. Apologies about that.

I don't think my wife and I can get US driver's licenses until we move back and re-establish residency there, otherwise we'd apply asap. Looks like we will have to figure out other work options in the meantime. Thanks again.

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.

Cantankerous Amicus's Comment
member avatar

I've been searching everywhere for the one year prior driving requirement. Is that a legal requirement or a corporate/insurance requirement? I've looked through the FMCSA site as well as the Michigan Secretary of State CDL requirements page. My Google fu may be failing me. Does anyone know of a link to some official info on this, or is it actually possible for my wife and I to get started as soon as we get our regular licenses after we get moved back?

Also, in my original post I listed class C which is what is written on our expired licenses, but I want to be clear that we had the everyday 4-wheeler licenses, not CDLs.

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.

CSA:

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle

FMCSA:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The FMCSA was established within the Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000. Their primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.

What Does The FMCSA Do?

  • Commercial Drivers' Licenses
  • Data and Analysis
  • Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement
  • Research and Technology
  • Safety Assistance
  • Support and Information Sharing

Fm:

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.
Old School's Comment
member avatar

That is a state requirement, but there are a very few states that don't have that particular requirement. I believe Florida is one of them. I'm sorry I don't have links or an actual list of the few states that don't require that prerequisite.

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