Absolutely Drained, But Ready For Prime

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Luke O.'s Comment
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Started out my trip to Springfield with what was supposed to be a 9 hr bus ride, but became a 11 hour bus ride with a 4 hour layover in the middle of nowhere in the cold and alone. I showed up to Primes Inn around 130am monday morning with another guy. We were both put in the same room, where we managed to both grab 2 or 3 hours of sleep before waking up at 530am. I skipped breakfast so I could keep my blood pressure and sugar levels down. Before I went to bed the night before I ate a tuna and crackers snack pack.

Class started at 7am ish and we had around 75 people or so. I will tell you now, I can not believe the sheer amount of pure stupidity some of these people have. We had one guy start getting real mouthy with the instructor about the contract and money. Had another guy interrupt the instructor asking if the class could take a break. Had multiple people asking some of the stupidest questions Ive ever heard, mostly stuff like when the instructor would say not to do something, and then they would ask that exact same thing 5 seconds later. This kind of **** persisted throughout the day. I was easily able to pick out the "bad seeds" as they made themselves abundantly known. Another thing that bugged me, was the fact that it took us like an hour to walkthrough the full paper application (which I had completely finished the night before). I felt that that was really unecessary. I mean if you can't understand how to do a paper application on your own.... Between that uneccesary speech about how to fill out simple **** and people constantly interrupting the instructor with bs questions, I was getting really aggravated and annoyed and even my roommate chuckled a few times at me muttering **** under my breath.

Class ended around 1130am, thank god because It was a hell of a struggle staying awake. I nearly fell asleep without warning at least 5 times. My eyes hurt and burned all day. I felt dizzy, feint, and fatigued all day, and was just absolutely drained. After the initial class we did our drug tests, physicals, and background interviews. All of mine went off without a hitch, and I somehow scored surprisingly great on my blood pressure tests. After that I skipped lunch, and went straight back to the dorm room and managed to sleep for 20 minutes before my room mate came back and woke me up.

That little power nap somehow left me survive through 3 hours of sim lab. I actually enjoyed simlab because I already knew the information, but it was good hearing the instructor confirm it as well. I drove the simlab truck 3 or 4 times before the class ended and we were released for the day. I grabbed some dinner from the cafe, and now Im back in the dorm room again, absolutely drained. I can not put into words how ****ing tired I am. One thing about simlab that really annoyed me too was just how much people dont listed. At least 5 to 10 times the instructors had to remind people to stay under a certain speed limit, and to not skip ahead to new modules. I started to feel like I was surrounded by teenagers. Thats ****ing sad.

Im gonna grab some Zzzs, and maybe wake up later tonight and start on my CBTs, which I tried to do earlier today but was just too damned tired for it. I mean I almost fell asleep, without warning, while standing up with my eyes open, suddenly, at least 3 or 4 times. Like someone just pressed the off button on me. Thats how tired I am, but I managed to force myself some ****ing how to grind through the day.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Good post Luke.

Exhaustion is all part of this job. Yesterday I started my day at 06:15; the Walmart Dedicated Grocery load I was dispatched on was 4 consolidated store deliveries and a backhaul from Tropicana Orange Juice in Jersey City...

I finished my day at 19:55 (7:55PM). This time of year, very typical. Sleep? We learn to grab some whenever possible.

Good luck.

Han Solo Cup's Comment
member avatar

Great first post, real, raw. Good luck, get some sleep and eat something... skipping meals is not good (I know you know). It's interesting to hear that people can't just follow simple instructions when they're basically in an interview. I have bosses that will tell me something and then ask me to repeat it back to them. It's not because they think I'm stupid, it's so then can ensure I was a) listening and b) understood them. I've come to the point where I do that in my head now so I can ask questions if needed. Still, I'm amazed at how often people don't listen and then need to ask exactly what was just explained to them.

Regarding your first day when you're all sitting there doing paperwork et al, does Prime restrict cellphone access? I ask not because I want to have access to mine but I'm guessing a number of those not paying attention were likely messing around on their phones... again, back to the "one big interview". Keep the posts coming as you can, thanks.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
G-Town's Comment
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Great point Han Solo...

Most people listen in order to reply; not to actually understand. I see it every day.

Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

Regarding your first day when you're all sitting there doing paperwork et al, does Prime restrict cellphone access?

Yes and no. During orientation the first few days you are expected to be paying attention. The last couple of days, trainers are calling the students to setup meetings. Therefore Prime expects you to get calls the last couple of days.

And yes there are some idiots out there. A guy from FL showed up with shorts and flip flops not realizing some parts of the country are already having heavy snowfall.

And people wonder why 70% get sent home the first week.

Luke, i see you get annoyed by things, try not to let that deter you from the goal. this is hard enough without others stupidity drive us crazy.

good luck

PacMan's Comment
member avatar

Luke,

Nice write up and very honest. It amazes me that there are still people that show up to orientation only to not pay attention. Not realizing that they are there for a job. Not to be the class clown or the class not it all. As Rainy said, don't let them deter you. Keep your head down a drive forward.

Luke O.'s Comment
member avatar

Well today started out again at 7am. First couple of hours was orientation review, followed by pre trip introduction. Most of it Im already pretty familiar with as Ive studied before ever arriving in Springfield, but again it amazes me the amount of people who show up and just plan on winging it. I cant wrap my head around that.

Shortly after I grabbed some OJ and went back to my room to start on my cbts. Someone said it takes a day and half to do them. I sure hope not. Like I said in last post, I wasnt able to start them yesterday because I was litterally at muscle/brain exhaustion levels, no joke. I managed to get about 6 hours of sleep last night though so today has not been nearly as bad as the day before. Im working my way through these CBTs in the comfort of my room. Gonna be up all night burning through them so I can get them taken care of before tommorrow night.

So I go down to the waiting area for the shuttles at around 1040am and found the dmv shuttle already there and full. I think they really need to stick to a schedule more strictly because Ive learned now to never bother with those shuttles. They are either super early or super late. So I walked down to walmart with 2 other guys intending to take the bus, but we forgot to figure out what bus to take and the few people at the bus stop had no idea either. Luckily a Prime drive was there going somewhere else, and he called an Uber for him and us. We gave him some cash and took the uber down to the DMV.

I managed to pass combination, tanker, and air brakes with only 1 or 2 wrong one each. General knowledge though, I barely passed scoring exactly 80%, 40 right and 10 wrong. That was pretty nerve wracking. But I am happy to say that the High road greatly boosted my confidence beforehand, as well as other various resources. I havent really studied for the CDL much since arriving, and I still passed. I will say though some of the questions covered some stuff that was either not in High road, or I simply hadnt gotten to it yet. Before I had reset my score I had covered about half of general knowledge areas, and the majority of hazmat , combinations, airbrakes, and tanker. So who knows.

It seemed like very few people I was with passed the test today, so that is one weight off my shoulders and I guess all I can say is thats why you ****ing study long before you ever get on that greyhound. I just barely caught the shuttle back to the campus inn, got the permit and stuff scanned, grabbed some lunch, and now here I am knocking out some more CBTs. Headed off to health awareness class soon and later on this evening sim lab again.

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

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.

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.

Luke O.'s Comment
member avatar

Well, I left Prime after 1 week. My sole reason for this was when Monday arrived, we were told we would be waiting at least till the beginning of the 3rd week for trainers. And the other issue they said was currently there were not enough trainers, because a lot of them were on hometime before the holidays, and then after that a lot of them would be gone for the holidays. I was one of about 30 "priority" students who were still waiting for trainers. I was specifically told by the instructors along with another fellow, that we would probably be waiting longer then normal, because we both put down that we 'smoked and chewed' during the initial trainer matchup assessment, and that putting both down considerably increases the wait times.

Secondly, i came to find out that the measly 200$ a week compensation during psd was really only 180$. Not to big of a problem unless you have a family to support, and wiring money home is like 10$ so really the compensation was 170$. Anyways my point is, they said we would need to wait until the 3rd and possibly 4th week for training. In fact from the time of orientation ending to the day I left, we had only had about 5 students chosen for training otr , and 4 for local. I weighed my options. Wait around for a trainer that might take awhile while my family starved at home, or go back home to my old job where I can support my family again, even if at reduced wages.

So I went home. Along with about 6 others who were in the same situation. Or at least they said they were going home. I know my room mate said they were leaving in a day or two.

I went into Prime knowing about the 200$, but I was told by my recruiter that come friday you would for sure be on the road with a trainer, at the latest saturday. On day 1, the instructors told us the same thing. It all sounded gravy until after orientation they changed the story. I am a little irritated. I mean I had my permit and cbts done and finished early tuesday, and passed my sim-lab test on first try with a 90/100.

Speaking of sim lab, when sunday came around again, they had us practice backing. I have never driven manual or backed anything. I had a great deal of difficulty and was unable to back the trailer (everyone finished before me). I repeatedly asked the instructor for help but they kept telling me to wait my turn so I patiently waited for over an hour for them to talk with me. At that point they told me to just think it through (had been doing that for first hour). I did it in my head, did it with my hands, trying to picture every possible way the correct way etc. Finally while they stood there telling me to just do it, and I was explaining I don't understand what step am I messing up....like please educate me. Instead they grabbed the wheel and backed the trailer up for me. I learned absolutely nothing. But then class was dismissed. I had another class to be at over at the main terminal in 45 minutes and had barely enough time to talk with the trainer. I asked if I could at least come back later that night for further instruction and she said no, the lab closed earlies on sunday, after the last class.

My first time out on the pad, was on the previous friday. We were told to stand in line to wait for a turn to drive. I was 3rd to last in line. i studied pre-trip for about 2 hours while waiting (only had 3 instructors driving that day, and 2 of them were only doing single student rides). I finally got to the front of the line, a truck pulled up to get us driving, and then the instructors arubptly said class over. I was like wtf. I told the instructor I didn't get a chance to drive yet, and said there was only 2 people behind me, could we stay a little late so we could get the chance to drive and he said No. So all in all I had a poor experience at training. Even though i studied diligently, arrived 20 minutes early to all my classes, never missed my classes, and passed all my tests first time, i never drove a truck, and had what I felt was poor or in adequate training. Couple that with the crappy pay, and increasing wait times for trainers, along with my roach infested hotel room (had roaches all up in the bathroom, told housekeeping and front desk and they said theyd take care of it, yet every day we still had roaches in it, and yes everyday we told front desk and housekeeping).

I am now home, and I am planning to go through another company here locally, one that actually trains you rather then has you twiddle your thumbs in a classroom every day while instructors are nowhere to be found. nearly all of my classes the instructors were 30 minutes to an hour late. I understand that the way the program is written is meant to weed out people, but I strongly felt (as did others in my shoes) that you should be willing to sacrifice family priorities for the job. Like you should be ashamed to have a family if you can't commit to the joke pay and waiting around with no training or being snapped at for asking for extra training.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

PSD:

Prime Student Driver

Prime Inc has a CDL training program and the first phase is referred to as PSD. You'll get your permit and then 10,000 miles of on the road instruction.

The following is from Prime's website:

Prime’s PSD begins with you obtaining your CDL permit. Then you’ll go on the road with a certified CDL instructor for no less than 75 hours of one-on-one behind the wheel training. After training, you’ll return to Prime’s corporate headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, for final CDL state testing and your CDL license.

Obtain CDL Permit / 4 Days

  • Enter program, study and test for Missouri CDL permit.
  • Start driving/training at Prime Training Center in Springfield, Missouri.
  • Work toward 40,000 training dispatched miles (minimum) with food allowance while without CDL (Food allowance is paid back with future earnings).

On-the-Road Instruction / 10,000 Miles

  • Train with experienced certified CDL instructor for 3-4 weeks in a real world environment.
  • Get 75 hours of behind-the-wheel time with one-on-one student/instructor ratio.
  • Earn 10,000 miles toward total 40,000 miles needed.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Well Luke, it was pretty clear to me from your negativity and poor attitude that you probably weren't going to be around for long. I don't think anyone here is going to say they're surprised you left. Like Rainy said:

Luke, i see you get annoyed by things, try not to let that deter you from the goal

....but you got annoyed with the process and left. But hey, you lasted an entire week!!! Great effort! [sarcasm]

You showed a ton of skepticism toward the majors. We told you to chill out and go with the flow. We told you to focus on preparing yourself and to keep an open mind and a great attitude, but you replied with things like:

Im the kind of person who likes to go into something with a plan A, plan B, plan C, and plan D. I want to be in control of my destiny as much as possible. Sorry I snapped. Theres a lot of **** on my mind lately, and someone telling me to "not research"....it rubbed me the wrong way.

You even told us we were full of BS and argued constantly with everything we tried to tell you. I had to put you on the watch list here in the forum so I could manually approve all of your comments because you were getting so belligerent with us. I was this close to telling you to take a hike and go figure it out on your own, but I didn't.

Then you arrived at Prime and were on your way home in a week like I expected anyhow.

Folks, they say attitude is everything because without the right attitude you're going nowhere. Luke is going to say he left because he couldn't wait for a trainer, but he would have found 10 other reasons to leave, or they would have found 20 to send him home anyhow. In the end, the details are trivial because the result was predictable.

Oh well. That's why these companies bring in tons and tons of students. Most people either don't have what it takes or aren't willing to commit themselves to doing what it takes to succeed in this industry.

Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

Im.going to point out a few things..

1.) The "crappy pay" that doesnt support your family of $200 per week was NOT supposed to support gour family. You are specifically told this in orientation and by the recruiter. The $200 per week is an advance to feed you. Period. And yes it is $200 so i dont know where you got that other number from, and had YOU prepared you wouldnt need to send money home. Many companies do not even offer an advance.

2.) Even if you are not.matched up with an OTR instructor, you can do the pad training and test then go TnT. Had you the patience to stick it out, you would be fine and making money next week.

3.) No way in hell do i believe you were treated the way you were. I know those pad guys personally. Brett, George, Dave, Ron, etc. Every single one would give you undivided attention and tips. Brett took Splitter out to help him pass his test after he failed twice. . Dave gave me extra backing help in 10 degree snow storm and was freezing .... for HOURS. George champions Truckers Agaisnt Trafficking cause he cares about people so much.

4.) The sim lab is set up in a group setting so why werent you watching and learning from your partner or those around you? The "poor me i never drove a manual anything" doesnt fly with me cause i never drove a manual either but i certainly got through training.

5.) if you think a local school will be any different with equipment sharing and waiting, think again and stay out of trucking.

6.) Trainers often pretend to be students to see how people act and interact. Its possible no trainer wanted you. You were complaining and annoyed about everyone from day one not realizing you are one of them.

7.) To anyone reading this...consider the holidays when starting training. we had one guy here bash Werner over the same issue. However, Turtle somehow stuck it out with prime over the holidays and i believe he tested around New Years.

8.) If anyone has a bad attitude, trainers run. My company cannot make me train someone. people with bad attitudes are not wanted on the trucks. and those refuse to accept responsibility make terrible drivers..

9.) You actually never got to the training part so please do not judge Primes training. As a Prime TnT trainer I can say some students are horrible some are awesome. I just had my trainee drive through WY with 45mph gusts, blowing snow and last night snow and ice. He listened and trusted me and is an awesome student. Now he is confident he can take the mountains in winter. some will say it makes me a bad trainer, or complain that i dont GOAL for the student, they need to do it themselves. He thinks im great.

But even with the best trainer in the world, you would have been annoyed and quit.

Good luck in whatever you do.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14¢ per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

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