Soon To Be Veteran Looking At Trucking

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Kamal S.'s Comment
member avatar

I stumbled across this site in my search for info on trucking as a career after my life in the Navy. I always loved trucks from a young age and have done several cross country trips with family that drove so I do believe it's a great fit for me. My question is this, I've already decided that I want to pull tankers and know there is a bit of physicality involved with that. Will certain medications that have been prescribed for me due to a back injury prevent me from being employed? These are non-narcotic in nature and I only take them towards the night time or whenever I'm preparing for sleep and will be sleeping for 8-10 hours. In the Navy we were required to submit to random urinalysis and would only be required to notate that we were taking medication, so anything found would not be flagged. I'm already looking to get my CDL through a skillsbridge program or using my benefits to get it done after my current workday. I appreciate any comments and advice that is offered up. I'm looking for more military friendly employers that pull food grade tankers since Schneider requires tanker drivers to be clean shaven and that's not an option for me due to my skin type.

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.

BMI:

Body mass index (BMI)

BMI is a formula that uses weight and height to estimate body fat. For most people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. The BMI's biggest weakness is that it doesn't consider individual factors such as bone or muscle mass. BMI may:

  • Underestimate body fat for older adults or other people with low muscle mass
  • Overestimate body fat for people who are very muscular and physically fit

It's quite common, especially for men, to fall into the "overweight" category if you happen to be stronger than average. If you're pretty strong but in good shape then pay no attention.

Michael B.'s Comment
member avatar

A driver cannot take a controlled substance or prescription medication without a prescription from a licensed practitioner. If a driver uses a drug identified in 21 CFR 1308.11 (391.42(b)(12)) or any other substance such as amphetamine, a narcotic, or any other habit forming drug, The driver is medically unqualified. There is an exception: the prescribing doctor can write that the driver is safe to be a commercial driver while taking the medication. In this case, the Medical Examiner may, but does not have to certify the driver. Any anti-seizure medication used for the prevention of seizures is disqualifying. The Medical Examiner has 2 ways to determine if any medication a driver uses will adversely affect safe operation of a CMV: 1. Review each medication - prescription, non-prescription and supplement 2. Request a letter from the prescribing doctor

This was taken from the FMCSA website. Prescrition sleep-aids and benzos should not be used at all because of the "sleep-driving" side affect.

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

CMV:

Commercial Motor Vehicle

A CMV is a vehicle that is used as part of a business, is involved in interstate commerce, and may fit any of these descriptions:

  • Weighs 10,001 pounds or more
  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more
  • Is designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) not for compensation
  • Is designed or used to transport 9 or more passengers (including the driver) for compensation
  • Is transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards

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.
Kamal S.'s Comment
member avatar

A driver cannot take a controlled substance or prescription medication without a prescription from a licensed practitioner. If a driver uses a drug identified in 21 CFR 1308.11 (391.42(b)(12)) or any other substance such as amphetamine, a narcotic, or any other habit forming drug, The driver is medically unqualified. There is an exception: the prescribing doctor can write that the driver is safe to be a commercial driver while taking the medication. In this case, the Medical Examiner may, but does not have to certify the driver. Any anti-seizure medication used for the prevention of seizures is disqualifying. The Medical Examiner has 2 ways to determine if any medication a driver uses will adversely affect safe operation of a CMV: 1. Review each medication - prescription, non-prescription and supplement 2. Request a letter from the prescribing doctor

This was taken from the FMCSA website. Prescrition sleep-aids and benzos should not be used at all because of the "sleep-driving" side affect.

I read that and I'll ask my doc about it since it's not expressly a sleep aid. It's an antidepressant and isn't habit forming to my knowledge.. I just get it filled on base normally and it doesn't require the extra steps that some of those that the habit forming meds do.

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

CMV:

Commercial Motor Vehicle

A CMV is a vehicle that is used as part of a business, is involved in interstate commerce, and may fit any of these descriptions:

  • Weighs 10,001 pounds or more
  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more
  • Is designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) not for compensation
  • Is designed or used to transport 9 or more passengers (including the driver) for compensation
  • Is transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Oh boy here goes...

First of all welcome to Trucking Truth Kamal.

We always suggest that new members invest some time reviewing and studying the following links:

One of the biggest problems faced by many, many newbies is unrealistic expectations and a false sense of reality applied to trucking. Reading the first two links should level set your knowledge, grounding it in reality.

The 3rd and 4th links are all about studying and preparing for the CDL permit exams. With almost no exceptions this will enable better retention of information and increase your ability to easily pass the tests in quick order.

The medication you are on? Realize it’s the trucking company, your first employer that decides if the medication you are taking is acceptable. The FMCSA CFR rules are only a minimum guidance. Research your script and understand the implications of being under it’s influence while operating an 80,000lb chariot that requires constant vigilance for safe operation. Anything that compromises motor skills, reaction time and prudent judgement will come with heightened scrutiny and potential rejection. Be prepared.

Final thought; Tankers and Rookies. Not recommended until you have at least 3 months of experience with something more stable like dry van or reefer. Food grade tankers are smooth-bore, lacking baffles of any kind to retard the movement of liquid that can push you off the road or through an intersection.

The learning curve is difficult enough without the added challenges and danger inherent with tanker operation. Schneider will allow you to begin your career with dryvan freight and transition to food grade once you have some experience.

Good luck.

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.

Baffle:

A partition or separator within a liquid tank, used to inhibit the flow of fluids within the tank. During acceleration, turning, and braking, a large liquid-filled tank may produce unexpected forces on the vehicle due to the inertia of liquids.

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.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

Dryvan:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

JuiceBox's Comment
member avatar

I have a hard time finding employers, in this industry, that are not military friendly. If you have not used your GI Bill, which I gather you haven't based on your post, then you can collect BAH for up to 2 years depending on the company and if they are a VA approved apprenticeship program company. Good luck bro

Brian's Comment
member avatar

Hey Kamal thank you for your service fellow vet here as well. Trucking companies are bending over backwards these days. I think truck driving offers one of the smoothest transactions as it pertains to the military to civilian due to the lifestyle. Definitely look into the VA apprenticeship. Also, look into the paid cdl program you can save your benefits that way.

I started with Schneider and they were a great company, especially for veterans. I was in constant contact with one it seemed. Also, I believe you can go food grade with facial hair. I believe the facial hair pertains to the hazmat side. I know I've seen food grade drivers with some facial hair. Not duck dynasty but some. Double check with them because they have a great entry level program. Very intensive and hands on from what I say. Good luck.

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.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Hey Kamal thank you for your service fellow vet here as well. Trucking companies are bending over backwards these days. I think truck driving offers one of the smoothest transactions as it pertains to the military to civilian due to the lifestyle. Definitely look into the VA apprenticeship. Also, look into the paid cdl program you can save your benefits that way.

I started with Schneider and they were a great company, especially for veterans. I was in constant contact with one it seemed. Also, I believe you can go food grade with facial hair. I believe the facial hair pertains to the hazmat side. I know I've seen food grade drivers with some facial hair. Not duck dynasty but some. Double check with them because they have a great entry level program. Very intensive and hands on from what I say. Good luck.

Brian why are you encouraging a rookie driver to run food grade tanker after I posted several solid reasons why he should gain initial experience with dryvan or reefer?

I feel like I beat my head against the wall with some of you guys who seem to pride yourselves in undermining common sense information.

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.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

Dryvan:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Brian's Comment
member avatar

G-Town every comment on here that you don't agree with is either: lacks common sense, is pride and vanity, is FOS, is a smart ass, was shameless hypocrisy whatever the case the maybe.

I firsthand saw the program Schneider has for any entry level tanker driver. They are not putting anybody on the road who they feel are not ready. The attrition rate for the program is higher than their dry van program. So their not just taking anybody. We're taking about one of the largest, one of the most reputable, one of the most safest companies on the road. Op wanted info I gave it too him.

I'll stick with what I said and maybe bang my head against the wall until my common sense out weights my pride. Until than to the veterans that posted on here have a great holiday and be safe.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

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

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

G-Town every comment on here that you don't agree with is either: lacks common sense, is pride and vanity, is FOS, is a smart ass, was shameless hypocrisy whatever the case the maybe.

I firsthand saw the program Schneider has for any entry level tanker driver. They are not putting anybody on the road who they feel are not ready. The attrition rate for the program is higher than their dry van program. So their not just taking anybody. We're taking about one of the largest, one of the most reputable, one of the most safest companies on the road. Op wanted info I gave it too him.

I'll stick with what I said and maybe bang my head against the wall until my common sense out weights my pride. Until than to the veterans that posted on here have a great holiday and be safe.

I do not agree with you Brian, as well as most of the experienced drivers and all of the mods on here regarding tankers and rookies.

I call it like I see it, and yes I can be blunt. If you have a problem with how I conduct myself on here, please take it up with Brett.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

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

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

I drove a food grade tanker for a year and there is no such thing as a rookie driver that belongs behind the wheel of a tanker. I don't care if Schneider decides to train rookie tanker drivers or not. I completely disagree with it. I think it's reckless.

There's no reason a rookie should jump straight into one of the most dangerous trucks on the highway. Give me one solid reason why a rookie can't get a year of experience first with a safer type of freight. Obviously there isn't one.

Kamal, pulling a tanker is pretty cool but you really should get a year of experience with a different type of freight before you take on such a serious challenge. Tankers are incredibly tricky and dangerous to handle. It really makes no sense to take such a huge risk as a brand new driver.

Remember, also, that this isn't just about us and what we want. We're sharing the road with millions of innocent families. You shouldn't be willing to endanger innocent people for no good reason.

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