Pre-trip Inspection Help Please

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David D.'s Comment
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Ok guys & gals here's the story. I'm trying to get a CDL on the cheap. Why, because I don't want lingering entanglements with an employer or to spend several thousand dollars. I have already passed the written portion of the test in Michigan, including combinations on the first try. (The lady as the Secretary of State (DMV) said she was amazed, thanks Brett) At any rate, that part of the journey is out of the way. Now I have to pass the Pre-trip inspection portion of the test and the road test. I went to FCG in Grand Rapids today to see what they had to offer. The woman I talked to said that she highly recommended that I take their Pre-trip Inspection course for roughly $1,000 because they require that you use specific words to answer the questions on the test. I'm thinking these are words like cracked, broken or loose, and chaffed, bulging or leaking. If that's the case, no issue. Are there any more magical phrases I need t learn?

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.

Dm:

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.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

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.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

$1000 for pre-trip training? rofl-1.gif

Colossal ripoff!!!

High Road CDL Training Program

That’s all that I have time for now...suffice it to say there are no shortcuts and to do this right you really should rethink your approach; Paid CDL Training Programs

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.
G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Okay so here is the absolute truth in how you are going about this...no reputable company will hire you as a rookie, entry level driver without the benefit of a 160 training certificate. Without it, you are uninsurable until you have a full year of experience.

It is an inescapable reality.

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

Okay so here is the absolute truth in how you are going about this...no reputable company will hire you as a rookie, entry level driver without the benefit of a 160 training certificate. Without it, you are uninsurable until you have a full year of experience.

It is an inescapable reality.

Correction; 160 hours training certificate.

And the so-called “entanglements?” Be more specific.

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

Jamie's Comment
member avatar

$1000 to learn to do the pre-trip? confused.gifrofl-1.gif

I mean sure you need to know what to look for, but they're not going to fail you for mentioning a word wrong, they just want to know you know what you're looking for and why. That place seems like they're ripping people off honestly.

Michael B.'s Comment
member avatar

If you want a great video to teach you the proper language look up "pre-trip for Missouri CDL test youtube". It will bring up a video from C1 truck driver training in Springfield Mo. The video is 17:18 and is the prefered and recommended by the Mo. DOT inspectors. No matter what state your in you cant go wrong with the wording on this video. Hope it helps.

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.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

David D.'s Comment
member avatar

The lingering entanglements are I don't want to owe them money, plain and simple. I have the resources to pay for my school but I don't want to spend the money unless I have to. I did find a school closer to home that will give me a 24 hour course for $1,375 but I have to know how to shift a transmission first. I have a friend that has an asphalt company whose trucks have Eaton 10 speeds and he has offered to let me drive one of them with him in the passenger's seat so I can learn how to shift. The school said if I can do that I'm good for the class. BTW what is a 160 hour certificate? I'm assuming it's a certificate that says I spent 160 hours in the driver's seat with an instructor in the passenger's seat, but I really don't know.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Big Scott (CFI Driver/Tra's Comment
member avatar

Doing on the cheep. I did it for FREE! Entanglements? 12 month commitment. Went by in a flash. Ha! This site is called "Trucking Truth". We don't pull punches or BS here. Like G Town said, you will need that 160 hour certificate. CFI paid for my transportation, and reimbursed me for my permit, endorsements, Hazmat background check and my CDL. They fed me while in school and took care of my housing. I did not pay for my DOT a company paid for it as a pre hire and didn't hire me. (Not a trucking company). All I owed them for that was 12 months of working for them. And during that year I made money. My pay as a rookie. Yes, the law does not require any training, however the insurance companies and trucking companies do. We want you to be successful, which is why we highly recommend Paid CDL Training Programs. Good luck to you. We are here to help.

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

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Pre Hire:

What Exactly Is A Pre-Hire Letter?

Pre-hire letters are acceptance letters from trucking companies to students, or even potential students, to verify placement. The trucking companies are saying in writing that the student, or potential student, appears to meet the company's minimum hiring requirements and is welcome to attend their orientation at the company’s expense once he or she graduates from truck driving school and has their CDL in hand.

We have an excellent article that will help you Understand The Pre-Hire Process.

A Pre-Hire Letter Is Not A Guarantee Of Employment

The people that receive a pre-hire letter are people who meet the company's minimum hiring requirements, but it is not an employment contract. It is an invitation to orientation, and the orientation itself is a prerequisite to employment.

During the orientation you will get a physical, drug screen, and background check done. These and other qualifications must be met before someone in orientation is officially hired.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

David I think you are side-stepping the real issue here...

The 160 hour certificate is for trucking schools; either Company Sponsored, private or Community College. This is before road training even occurs. The schools will teach you exactly what you need in order to pass the 3 CDL exams; PTI, Road Skilks and Yard Skills.

If you choose the path of “do it yourself”, you will not have anything to prove you went to any school and have a very difficult time landing any job with a op company. Again, as an entry level driver you are uninsurable without it. We are not making this up or blowing smoke.

The entanglements you speak of are of no burden, as we emphatically recommend sticking with your first company at least one year of first-seat or solo status. I’ll repeat what has been clearly stated:

...there are no shortcuts...!

I graduated from Swift’s Academy several years ago; my obligation was one year of solo to reimburse them for the significant investment they made in my education, road training, and support. I paid them $37.50 per week for one year, at that point I owed them nothing. However from that point forward, they deposited (returned) the same $37.50 back into my pay so that after month 24, I had totally free schooling and road training. For the record I will celebrate my 6th year with Swift early 2019 running Walmart Dedicated Grocery and have no plans of looking elsewhere.

Your understanding can be further enhanced by reading this: Why I Prefer Company Sponsored Training

There are other Blog articles that are also relevant to this discussion. My suggestion is to take full advantage of the information available on this website designed to help newbies like yourself become top performing drivers.

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.

Company Sponsored Training:

A Company-Sponsored Training Program is a school that is owned and operated by a trucking company.

The schooling often requires little or no money up front. Instead of paying up-front tuition you will sign an agreement to work for the company for a specified amount of time after graduation, usually around a year, at a slightly lower rate of pay in order to pay for the training.

If you choose to quit working for the company before your year is up, they will normally require you to pay back a prorated amount of money for the schooling. The amount you pay back will be comparable to what you would have paid if you went to an independently owned school.

Company-sponsored training can be an excellent way to get your career underway if you can't afford the tuition up front for private schooling.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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.

Michael B.'s Comment
member avatar

Now you realize in addition to knowing how to shift that Eaton 10 speed you will have to know how safely operate it on public streets, need to be able to straight line back, alley dock, offset (both sides) and parallel (both sides) with a trailer right? No 24 hour course is going to be able to teach you all of this. And yes theres that stupid issue with the certificate. Do yourself a favor, go ahead and do a sponsored program then after you get 6-12 months experience driving for them you can quit and do what you where you want, no entanglements they will still pay part of your training even at 6 months. Unless you dont think you can make it that long at one company.

You say you want to do this on the cheap but then you say your thinking about spending $1000 to learn the pre-trip and another $1375 for 24 hours of lessons but they dont even teach you the tranny. You can do what you want but you would be wasting $2375 minimum of your money and probably not pass your CDL test.

In your second post you say "I have the resources to pay for my school but I don't want to spend the money unless I have to"...you dont have to. A company will pay for it for you and house you while you train. Some will feed you and some will pay you as well. You will get everything you need to be employeed for free and all you have to do to get it is work for one company for a little while. Nothing else makes sense.

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

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