Forum Newbie Full Of Newbie Questions

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Edward C.'s Comment
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Hello all I'm new here at TT and amazed at the wealth of trucking/CDL training info available on this site and forum! I've been doing some research on different company-paid CDL training options (so far I have applied w/ C.R. England and Prime) as well as looked into the CDL course offered at my local community college. I haven't made a decision on which way to go yet but I'm glad to have found this website and forum and hope to get some good perspectives from the industry veterans as well as those who have recently started out.

Regardless if I go the company-paid or community college route to obtain my CDL, my biggest concern about entering the industry is not about how much I'll make or how much home time I'll get but going with a company that prioritizes safety, driver training, well-maintained equipment, etc. Yes, I know they all say those are their priorities but we all know that some places actually walk the walk while others are all just talk (I've heard the horror stories about promises made by recruiters).

Also, and I'm not sure how much of a consideration this is but I live way down in South Texas (Rio Grande Valley) and although I plan to get at least a year or so of OTR experience before I look for something local it would still be nice to occasionally get home to pet my dogs.

Can anybody offer me some insight to potential employers as well as the better company-paid options? I have looked at the company and training school reviews here on TruckingTruth.com but to be honest after reading so many reviews they all begin to sound the same. And when researching online (youtube, etc.) for every good experience about any particular company there is an equally bad one. I feel fortunate to have found this forum full of good folks willing to share their knowledge and experience of the trucking world. Thanks in advance to anyone willing to weigh in!

Ed in S. Texas

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.
Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

Welcome to Trucking Truth.

The main thing in your search is finding a company that hires in your area. I'd also look at those companies home time option once you've completed your school and then company training. Often you won't make it home during a company sponsored school and until your training is complete, but that's a pretty short time in the grand scheme of things overall.

I'd recommend doing a "one and done" application for company sponsored CDL school, see what offers you get and narrow it down by choosing a company that offers sometime, freight lanes etc that meets your personal needs. We also highly recommend staying with that company for a minimum of one year. After that, many other opportunities will be available to you if you feel the need to make a change.

Apply For Paid CDL Training

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.

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.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Edward is concerned:

not about how much I'll make or how much home time I'll get but going with a company that prioritizes safety, driver training, well-maintained equipment, etc.

It's not a matter of walking the walk, etc. but the resources a company has to follow requirements of the FMCSA and their liability insurance. Larger companies will have the resources to keep their equipment in good shape and to keep people well trained. Also, ignore horror stories, usually posted by people who don't really understand what they have gotten themselves into. This web site is called Trucking Truth for a reason, and we maintain that level of honesty here.

You might take a look at this list of reading material:

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.
Bill F.'s Comment
member avatar

You said;

" I have looked at the company and training school reviews here on TruckingTruth.com but to be honest after reading so many reviews they all begin to sound the same. And when researching online (youtube, etc.) for every good experience about any particular company there is an equally bad one."

In many ways the companies are pretty much the same. Moving freight, from the proverbial point A to point B, in the most efficient manner possible. There are only so many ways to skin that cat. As far as online reviews go, you can start and stop here. These folks know their stuff. Concerning which method for obtaining your CDL , whichever route you choose utilize the High Road CDL Training Program, and search this forum for "Texas", they have an additional study requirement from the CDL manual.

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.

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.

Edward C.'s Comment
member avatar

Thank you for the replies, all very helpful information. I have already started with the High Road CDL Training Program.

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.
Splitter's Comment
member avatar

Check out these links also. Knowing the different components will help you visualize them on the CLP exam. The more of this you memorize, the better chances to succeed you’ll have.

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

CLP:

Commercial Learner's Permit

Before getting their CDL, commercial drivers will receive their commercial learner's permit (CLP) upon passing the written portion of the CDL exam. They will not have to retake the written exam to get their CDL.

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