My Journey To Roehl

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Aubrey M.'s Comment
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CDL TEST

CDL testing for Roehl students is done 4th week on Tuesday and Wednesday. Three a day at 7:30, 9:30 and 1:00 as Shawn B. already stated in his post. I'm assuming Roehl schedules students similar to the way Fox Valley does...stronger students go on Tuesday to give other students more practice time in fourth week. The trainee in my truck I mentioned who was struggling throughout the class was scheduled to test on Wednesday at 1:00pm. So he had Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning to strictly practice on his own. This changed (was extended actually) due to weather and he ultimately tested Thursday afternoon. Regardless of your scheduled time, you should really plan on Monday of fourth week being your las real day of practice and it should only be to alleviate nerves and polish your skills for the test.

You'll get all of this information during the training if you ask, but I'll go over what the test entails for those who want to know ahead of time.

The CDL test consists of three parts:

1) Pre trip - The pre-trip is broken down into three parts resulting in four possibilities for the test. Area A is the front of the tractor and engine compartment, Area B is the side and rear of the tractor, Area C is the trailer, For consistency's sake, Area D would be the entire vehicle (So A, B, and C). Regardless of what area the examiner gives you, you have to always inspect the coupling. In cab pretrip (including outside lights) is always required. The final step of the pretrip is the Air Brakes test which must be done in order and nothing can be missed.

When you make it through pre trip (there is absolutely no reason to fail this), you proceed to backing.

2) Backing - The backing section is also broken down into three sections. In Wisconsin and Michigan, the backing test consists of a straight-line back, offset back (to the left), and a 90 degree alley dock. You are allowed 12 points total on the test. One point is assessed for extra pull-ups, two points are assessed for boundary encroachments (and you are forced to pull up to correct the encroachment), and finishing short of the boundary box on the 90 results in 10 points. You are allowed a specific number of free pull-ups and get-out-and-looks on each section of the back up test. Straight line you are allowed one pull up and one get out and look before being assessed points for additional. On the offset and 90 degree you are allowed 2 pull-ups, and 2 get-out-and-looks before being assessed points on each maneuver. You should be going into the 90 degree with 0 points. This will allow you 2 free pull ups, plus 12 additional pull-ups...so 14 pull-ups and 2 get-out-and-looks. If you can't get in with this, then you shouldn't be driving and you won't be for at least a day. You have to pass the backing to move on to the road test.

3) Road test - the road test is a set course that tries to encompass as many aspects as possible that you may encounter on the road. You're allowed 30 some points (36 I think). Certain dangerous acts are automatic fails, but even if these happen on the test, continue to drive your best. Impeding traffic, hitting a curb, rubbing a curb twice, finishing in the wrong lane after a turn (I think more than once), coasting in neutral or clutching farther than the length of the vehicle, and not obeying traffic signs or signals are the major worries. The main thing the examiner is watching for on the test is that you are in control of the vehicle and driving safely. The biggest place where testees get points is at intersections. There are six possible points at each intersection: Approaching the intersection - 1)check left, 2) check right, going through the intersection - 3)check left 4) check right, after the intersection - 5)check left mirror 6)check right mirror. The checks can be done in any order as far as left and right, but you have to get all of them or it is a point for each one missed. It is easiest just to verbalize them to the tester as you do them because the approaching checks are difficult to see. It is also easy to get points in turns for not checking the offside mirror during the turn. You will have to make both left and right turns, going through traffic lights, stop/yield signs, and traversing roundabouts. There will be interstate driving, questions asked about road signs, including clearance heights, and in a manual you will be assessed on upshifting and downshifting.

After passing all tests you are taken inside and the tester enters your scores immediately into the national system.

NEXT: AFTER PASSING THE CDL TEST

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.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

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.
Aubrey M.'s Comment
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AFTER PASSING THE CDL TEST

Graduation is supposed to be on Thursday of fourth week for everyone, but since part of our class was delayed due to weather it was somewhat staggered. After testing, everyone has to go back to the Roehl terminal to go through the winter-driving simulator. Apparently this is required of all Roehl drivers (yearly if I remember correctly). Graduation consists of getting a yellow hi-vis vest, haz mat compliance book, Roehl log book, Roehl load book/pad, Motor Carrier's Road Atlas, a Roehl hat, and haz mat emergency response guide. You also have some more tenstreet stuff to verify, a video to watch about the company, and paperwork to fill out that includes a start in the "apprenticeship program" which basically starts the ball rolling to certify you as a trainer. You are required to start this, but not required to go through and finish the program. You are also assigned a Fleet Training Manager at this time and given their contact info to call after you get your full license. After this you are told to go home and wait until next Tuesday (a week from your test date) to go to the DMV/SOS and get your full license). Don't bother waiting. I got home Thursday night, went Friday morning and my test information was in the system to go ahead and get my license.

In Michigan, I had to again fill out the certification form that I filled out for the CLP , pay my money, and get a new pic and was good to go. The cost here in Michigan for the CDL class A with chauffer, cycle, hazmat , tanker, doubles/triples endorsements was $75. That is what it costs (if prices aren't raised) each renewal. Also, the hazmat test must be taken again at each renewal.

I uploaded a copy of the paper copy of my CDL to tenstreet but did not have time to call my Fleet Training manager until today. I also sought out parking places for when I am on hometime after getting my own truck. Roehl wants you to do this well before you get your own truck.

When you contact your Fleet Training Manager they confirm your CDL is uploaded, talk about where and when you could meet with a trainer and then contact the training Coordinator at Roehl to let her know when you are available. I told my FTM Wednesday and got a call from the coordinator a couple hours later confirming this date.

Currently I am tentatively scheduled to meet with my phase 2 trainer Wednesday in Gary. The coordinator is arranging a car rental for me to drive there and is supposed to email me tomorrow or Wednesday morning with more specifics.

Anyway, this is where I'm stopping for now. If I missed any info or raised any questions for anyone just hit me up and I'll try to answer them tomorrow. As was the case with phase 1, I don't intend to update this post during phase 2, but will be back to update it after passing phase 2 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.

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

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.

Doubles:

Refers to pulling two trailers at the same time, otherwise known as "pups" or "pup trailers" because they're only about 28 feet long. However there are some states that allow doubles that are each 48 feet in length.

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.

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.

PackRat's Comment
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Great writing and attention to details. I like that.

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