Another Newbie Introduction....Bill R

Topic 24041 | Page 1

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Bill R.'s Comment
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Hi all,
I've been lurking around for a couple of months and figured I might as well join in.<\p>
I'm winding down a 40 year career in health care and planning to start driving next year, when my youngest graduates college (I'd go now, but the current job covers her tuition...chunk of change you can't pass up...)
Background: Grew up on a farm in north Mississippi. Learned how to work and take responsibility for what I had to do. Hard work at times, but good memories.
Started college...not really knowing what I wanted to do. Started in "Pre - "insert major here)". Wound up switching to registered nursing and haven't looked back. I've worked just about every job in a hospital for a nurse, mostly ICU of some kind or in the Emergency Rooms, I did both Adult and Pediatrics.
Moved to Nashville in 1987 and I've been at the same hospital since then, with one break when my schedule needs changed and my wife (she's a nurse, too) said "Well mine isn't, so you'll have to find a new job" back in 1999.
I've been married to the most wonderful woman I know for 35 years...(hey, she puts up with me). 4 children (2 boys and 2 girls) and 2 grand-daughters.
The last 8 years, I've been doing computer documentation support. And while I've enjoyed the work, it is time for a change now....administrative changes, how the work goes and it's just not what I want to continue doing.

Why did I decide to look into Trucking...
I do have some experience second hand from my teens/early twenty's. My high-school girl-friend's Dad drove a team rig OTR for Kimberly Clark out of Memphis, TN. Weekly trips, usually home every weekend. He really enjoyed his work.
Friend of mine's family raised beef cattle. They had a cab-over Mack and trailer. I rode on several trips with him, hauling cattle. Never got to drive but took it all in.
Drove a school bus during college for 2 years, 5 speed granny with air brakes. I had a 67 mile one way trip, longest one they ran.

So here I sit one day talking with the kids about what I would like to do when I slow down from working healthcare. Do I want to do retail (Home Depot or Publix)?...Just something to keep me busy and make a bit of money.
I really want to travel and see the country, but that could get expensive....One of the boys says "Heck, Dad, as much as you like driving on trips, why don't you drive a truck!??....Ding, Ding, Ding....!!!
"Road Trip" is one of my favorite terms...I frequently take 500 mile "day" rides on my motorcycle. I drive instead of flying by choice. So here I am, reading everything you guys have written and provided. I'm learning a lot and some of my ideas on how this might go have been confirmed and squashed...good things.
Thanks for reading,
Bill R
Nashville, TN


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.


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.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.


Operating While Intoxicated

Turtle's Comment
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Welcome Bill, glad to have ya. Don't hesitate to join in the conversations or start your own.

Doug C.'s Comment
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Welcome aboard Bill. I know a little about health care. I was an O.R. Tec. years ago. Good to have ya around.

Dave (formerly known as K's Comment
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Welcome Bill!

Here is the "starter pack" of links.

If you have any questions, there is a lot of experienced drivers here that'll help.


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.
Bill R.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the welcomes.

I've read Brett's book, been through the Training Guide once and I'm going through the practice tests now. Eventually do a reset and repeat until I get ready for school (probably in late fall, early winter). That will coincide with the final tuition payment for my daughter's college.

Doing a lot of research into companies, also. Beginning to narrow the list down to what I think would work for my aims....basically drive all over the USA, be on time or early, treat my customers just like I would like to be treated and make my company look good.

It's great having this forum for the information from experienced drivers and the new folks telling of their training times.

Bill R

G-Town's Comment
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Welcome to the forum Bill.

We have a philosophy here that suggests safe and efficient professional drivers can and will enjoy success at any reputable company. Try not to over think the company research and limit you thoughts to the following criteria:

- How they train, duration of training and how is it paid for

- Type of freight; dry, reefer or flatbed (avoid tanker as a rookie)

- Will a company hire from your area

- Coast to coast, regional or dedicated

- Freight lanes (enabling home time)

- Home time policy

- Other benefits

Those are the top criteria that will help you avoid analysis-paralysis. Also be careful of where you source your information. Seek the truth, not the endless stream of cyber-babies whining about their failures on un-checked trucking websites.

Good luck!


Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.


A refrigerated trailer.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.


Operating While Intoxicated


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

Bill R.'s Comment
member avatar

Welcome to the forum Bill.

Those are the top criteria that will help you avoid analysis-paralysis. Also be careful of where you source your information. Seek the truth, not the endless stream of cyber-babies whining about their failures on un-checked trucking websites.

Good luck!

Thanks, G-Town,
Great list and I am looking at all those criteria.
I am very careful where I get my information...for every complainer out there, there are probably 10 or more who are totally satisfied with the exact same job....and are too busy making a living and enjoying it to post on the internet.... thank-you-2.gif



Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Robert D. (Raptor)'s Comment
member avatar

Welcome Bill R.

I just finished my orientation with Swift out of Fantana, Ca. Been a slip up at the lab for the hair follicle tests, I thought I would get my number yesterday but it still hasn't come through. There are 20 of us waiting for the results. So Evylin said go back to Sacramento and wait until Monday and maybe the results will be in. I sure was tired of waiting around the motel. My roommate is out of San Diego area and he has worked for Swift 3 times now.

Anyway, You'll find a lot of useful information here, from the forums to the training materials, to the great guys and gals here.


Grumpy Old Man's Comment
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Welcome Bill

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