How Hard Is It For A Vet With Only 11 Months Of Recent Work History To Get Into The Trucking Industrty?

Topic 23561 | Page 1

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Christopher R.'s Comment
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I'm a 32 year old vet (92Y) who recently came out of a disability (not physically related) and I've so far gotten my self 11 months of solid work history. I hadn't worked for 10 years prior to that. I have no criminal record but I've never held a drivers license in my life (still don't) which also means my driving record is...well it doesn't exist. I have a Vietnamese wife and no children. I'm so eager to get into this industry and start providing for my wife. I can't imagine letting my lack of work history stop me from working, as ironic as that might sound. At this point I'm willing to do anything to get into it. I want to start while I'm still young and healthy. I shudder at the thought of having to work at Foster Farms for 4 more years just to meet some requirement. Please, tell me what my chances are of getting into ANY trucking company in the near future.

Old School's Comment
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Well, you're going to have to wait at least another year or more, because you're going to be required to hold a regular driver's license for one year before you can start to apply for a CDL. Start right there. Get your regular driver's license, keep your job (building that work history), and drive carefully for a year so you can keep a clean record. After that we can help you figure out how to proceed.

There is another concern...

I'm a 32 year old vet (92Y) who recently came out of a disability (not physically related)

If you are taking any psychotropic medications for PTSD or any other non physical disability, you will probably encounter some major roadblocks when trying to get employed in this business. If you want to talk about it, there are some knowledgable folks in here who can help you figure out how to get past those problems.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Christopher R.'s Comment
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So in regards to my drivers license, do I actually need to be driving a car around for a year? I have no desire to own a car or to drive one. I prefer biking and longboarding as my mode of transportation. Can I just hold a license and sit on it for a year?

Also. I still suffer from subtle nervous twitches but I've never sought meds to keep that under control because I feel I'm managing it allright. I took lots of meds for depression and anxiety though. I got through the worst of it. I'm currently med free and have been for over a year now. I know there are a lot of guys who came back from the war really messed up and have a hard time finding certain jobs because of their mental health files. I think I'm going to be okay in that department though.

A year is a long time to wait around in my situation. Is it likely that not even Swift would give me a job in the next 6 months?

Old School's Comment
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Is it likely that not even Swift would give me a job in the next 6 months?

You say that like Swift would hire any moron! Which, by the way, is far from the truth. It's a great company, one of the largest around.

Don't fool yourself - you should know something about driving a car before you step up to handling an 80,000 pound vehicle. Do you think a trucking company will be willing to take the liability of putting someone with no driving experience at all into all kinds of stressful driving situations commandeering a giant machine with tons of deadly force and momentum?

Old School's Comment
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Also, that business of holding a regular license for one year is a State requirement, not a company requirement.

Brian's Comment
member avatar

Absolute biggest hurdle will be your drivers license hands down. Have you ever driven before period? Another question is what's your motivation for wanting to be a truck driver to begin with. I say this veteran to veteran another career maybe a better fit especially when you don't even have a regular license to begin with.

Mr. Curmudgeon's Comment
member avatar

So in regards to my drivers license, do I actually need to be driving a car around for a year? I have no desire to own a car or to drive one. I prefer biking and longboarding as my mode of transportation. Can I just hold a license and sit on it for a year?

Christopher, unless you've been sliding under the radar and operating a vehicle without a license, you haven't likely driven ANYTHING on wheels since you got out of the military. If you comply with the one year requirement but don't operate a vehicle for that year, when you go to Orientation and training your lack of basic operator skills will likely stand out. In a less than positive way. You will likely find yourself very pretty far behind the eightball on getting a handle on basic operation of a motor vehicle. To the point where your employer may opt not to continue your employment, citing unfamiliarity with driving. This doesn't mean you won't be successful, it's just that there are so many other challenges that you will face during the first month or two that you'll have a serious uphill climb.

My recommendation, for what it's worth, is get your class D (operator license), team up with friends and drive their autos. Get some wheel time in so that the first time you drive isn't at your first day of orientation.

Good luck to you!

Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

Also. I still suffer from subtle nervous twitches but I've never sought meds to keep that under control because I feel I'm managing it allright. I took lots of meds for depression and anxiety though. I got through the worst of it. I'm currently med free and have been for over a year now. I know there are a lot of guys who came back from the war really messed up and have a hard time finding certain jobs because of their mental health files. I think I'm going to be okay in that department though.

A year is a long time to wait around in my situation. Is it likely that not even Swift would give me a job in the next 6 months?

Wrong. My company wants 3 years of being off the anxiety/antidepressents that are on their "banned" list. If you come to orientation while taking a drug they see as unsuitable, they may send you home and allow you to return after 30 days of medical observation and a switch to a preferred drug.

Trucking is very solitary and people who havent suffered depression can become victim to it. Those with a history can find themselves quickly spiraling.

As stated, the 1 year rule.is in place so the driver can learn judgement and basic road skills. without that, the rest of the students will be far ahead of you. If you cant stand driving a car, why do you think you will be good at driving a truck?

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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