TMC CDL (in-house) Training Day 1

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Solo's Comment
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Solo, a lot of people are reading this stuff. Don't let a lack of responses discourage you from writing these diary entries. We have a ton of people coming in here wanting to know about training with TMC. Your diary will be an excellent piece to link to when we try to help them.

I will stay the course!

Solo's Comment
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Thanks Solo for the detailed write up! I was in particular shocked when you said you lost more than 1/3 of your class thru the physical. What are people thinking before they travel all the way to training? Yikes!

Keep up the good work!!

One guy needed a waiver for some medical condition. If they measure your neck and it's greater than 17" and they think you need a CPAP , that will get you sent home for the study, etc. I've learned that one guy snuck in his own **** (likely not his own), but they check the temperature on your urine immediately, and his wasn't warm enough.

CPAP:

Constant Positive Airway Pressure

CPAP is a breathing assist device which is worn over the mouth or nose. It provides nighttime relief for individuals who suffer from Sleep Apnea.

Solo's Comment
member avatar

Day 11

Same start as always.

630 am: Arrive at training pad and go over in-cab inspection and form A, B, C pre-trip.

8 am: Head out with yet another different trainer for a 3-hour trip around Des Moines, and then through downtown Des Moines. Very tight. They are trying to get people tripped up with curbs as those are automatic failures during the DOT road test. Finally was able to get a shot at emergency stops (we did ~4 of them)

11 am: Lunch

12 pm: Out to the backing pad for the next 4 hours

4 pm: They split the group into 2 groups of 5 students and half of us go and practice figure 8's w/ pull through (simulate truck stop parking lots)

6 pm: Back to the backing pad

8 pm: Load onto the bus and head back to the hotel.

Tomorrow we actually start going over pre-trip and Forms A, B, and C. Then we'll be on the backing pad, and then driving for 3-4 hours after lunch around Des Moines. Saturday will be backing and driving all day.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Solo's Comment
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Day 12:

Usual Start

630 am: Arrive at training pad and go over in-cab inspection and form A, B, C pre-trip.

7 am: Us week 2 guys have to train the week 1 guys on how to PT a TMC trailer

715 am: Instructor goes over the rear axle components of a TMC trailer and how we have to call out the items we don't have, in addition to the items our trailer does have for DOT exam.

730 am: group gets split in 1/2 and my group stays with the instructor to go over Form A, B, and C (This would be the first time we've done Pre-trip in a formal setting. The most important piece, and the one piece we've spent the least amount of time on.)

9 am: Break

915 am: We swap and now we're back on the backing lot. I'm an absolute **** show. Can only square-up my straight line, and bomb offset and parallel. One guy on workers comp hops in my truck and see's how the truck is set up completely different than the night before. It's so bad, I can only deduce that something slid the 5th wheel, but nothing looks like it's been touched. An actual instructor sees my **** show and is upset of course, and I explain my situation, but he says all of the trucks are the same (objectively not true, but good luck explaining that). So this truck actually gets driven off to have fuel topped off, so they can all be idled over the weekend as we are going to drop below 10 F. Another truck/trailer is pulled into the lane and I hop in and immediately knock out all 3 maneuvers perfectly. The injured driver riding shotgun with me agrees that something was up w/ the other truck and then when the actual instructor comes back over to ask how I did, he hesitates to believe that I did all 3 perfectly because "all of the trucks are the same".

11 am: Lunch

12 pm: We set out for a 4 hour drive. Driver 1 gets 2 hours. I get MAYBE 1 hour. I was pretty upset about this. We were the only drivers that got paired up today, and everyone needs MAXIMUM seat time.

4 pm: It's starting to snow pretty good, so we head back to the hotel.

Tomorrow we should be on the backing pad (10 of us for 2 trucks) the rest of the trucks were parked so they could plow/clear the pad.

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.

Pete E Pothole's Comment
member avatar

Thank you for this diary Solo TMC was actually second on the list of schools/companies I got offers from. As far as seat time, and anyone please correct me if I am wrong, most diaries I have read and reviews about school. Everyone pretty much feels like they don't get enough seat time. Hang in there!

Solo's Comment
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Day 13:

7 am: We get an extra hour before being picked up this morning, which seems like an eternity compared to our usual 6am start since last week.

745 am: Arrive at the pad and told to get out to the trucks to get them PTI and warmed up, because we're going driving on the ice and snow

9 am: I'm paired-up again with another driver, while the rest are solo, and we only get 30min each this morning, before heading back to the training pad to swap out w/ the other 5 that stayed to work on backing.

10 am: I just keep doing off-set and parallel for 2 hours. I believe I mentioned that yesterday I was having problems all of a sudden with these two maneuvers and today it strikes again...but this time I'm a bit more assertive in trying to solve the issue. I asked the guy in the next lane/truck over if he wouldn't mind switching with me as I was convinced that I would square-up for each maneuver in his truck and lane...but if he then went to my truck and lane and didn't have problems, then it can only be my own issue. YUP! I nail them 1st time in the new lane, and the other guy is struggling to nail them all of a sudden in the lane he swapped me with.

11 am: Lunch

12 pm: They take us back to the hotel

Tomorrow is our first day off, and while I suspect 1/2 my group of 10 will be watching playoff football, I'm heading over to the terminal and asking for the keys to a truck so I can just practice PTI all day long.

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.

Solo's Comment
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I forgot to mention a few things in my very first post that may help potential drivers wanting to switch to TMC, or start CDL training with TMC

First - You MUST come to TMC with your Drivers License, Paper Birth Cert., and Commerical Learners Permit AT THE MINIMUM. They will send you back home if you forget any of those.

Secondly - if you can get your TWIC/HAZMAT and Passport prior to starting with TMC, it will help you on your first "Snapshot" (How they determine your points, which then determine your pay % or CPM (whichever method you choose to run). So while you may not run as many miles being a newer driver, you could actually see a %+ bump in pay over a new counterpart simply by coming to training and already having your endorsements and your counterpart not. I got those in addition to my FAST North/South ID, doubles-triples, and tanker, but it appears that none of these will make a difference in pay potential with TMC as it stands now, but at least I have them knocked out should I want to move on later down the road.

Thirdly - Cut your hair (no long hair, no mohawks, etc) and trim your beard prior to arriving orientation. They will ask you on day one in front of everyone to clean yourself up, or go back home (It's on the orientation packet they send you 2 weeks before you arrive). Take out the gauge earrings, etc.

For us, they only did a Split Urine sample, but prior to arriving, they did set the expectation that it would be Urine AND hair...so I'm not sure why we only did urine. Maybe it's dependant upon how big of a group has to go through DOT physical each Monday. So just FYI.

I think I may have missed a big piece in my first postings...the contract (forgive me if this is a repeat)

It's currently $4,000 for 12 months (not mileage specific like Roehl). You get $500 wk (no taxes are taken out) for each week you're in orientation (your first Wednesday they will give you $50 cash for the first Wednesday night wal-mart run, making your first Friday check only $450 (+$50 = $500). I'm NOT sure if during your 5 weeks with a trainer (reports that it can be as short as 2-weeks if you and your trainer feel 2 weeks is all you need (trainers only get $75/wk for training) if it's stays at $500/wk or is increased to $600/wk. What I do know, is that your first 2 weeks in your truck alone after training, you are guaranteed $1,000 each week (total $2,000) + anything you make above that $1k.

What is great about TMC contract is that the amount you owe decreases with time every 3 months. So after 6 months, you decide to leave, you only owe 2k, or if you leave after 9 months, then you only owe 1k.

CDL school pay:

You are allowed to make unlimited stops to CDL schools (so long as they don't interfere with your pick-up/drop-offs for 10-15min to show off your truck and answer a few questions. (we get 2 free blue beacon truck/trailer washes each week, but they will authorize more as they want you to arrive at CDL schools with clean equipment inside/out). If you get CDL student info that may be interested in joining TMC, you can send a macro message, or submit their info via TMC mobile app. Should the driver join TMC and pass 2-week training, and get their own truck after being signed-off, you get 1k bonus + $0.01 CPM for every mile they drive for the first 6 months. No cap on any of the above.

That's all I can think of for now.

I'm about to walk across the parking lot to the terminal and ask somebody in the shop for the keys to a truck so I can continue practicing in-cab PTI.

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.

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.

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.

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.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

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.

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.

Solo's Comment
member avatar

Forgot to mention that TMC (and I'm guessing other large companies do it similarly) are the ones conducting the DOT testing for PTI, backing, and road test.

TMC's failure rate is much higher than if you were to go to the Iowa DOT and test yourself.

DOT has asked TMC to lower their standards, but TMC has stated they will not. If they passed too many students, then they would be audited. So I guess they take the higher fail rate route instead.

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.

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

Thank you for giving us so much information. We've had a few people do diaries and then disappeared after they started with their trainer. MANY people are going to benefit from this diary. Hope your day doing PTI went well and you were able to stay warm.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

Solo's Comment
member avatar

Day 14:

Crunch time. 1/2 of the day was split between me and another guy driving this morning. The 2nd part of the day was spent on the backing pad

Tomorrow evening we start testing pre-trip and backing. Wednesday will be a road test.

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