Prime CDL Training Salt Lake City - January 2019

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CK's Comment
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Good morning! Orientation starts in a little over two hours, but here's what I have so far.

Application to Orientation Timeline It's quick. I applied at the beginning of December, and was told that since I live in California and would be attending orientation at the Salt Lake City terminal , I would need to get my Class A permit and medical certificate before attending, and to call back when I had both to start the process.

I found a local place to get my physical done for just $45 and got a same day appointment.

I studied the High Road CDL Training Program and passed the written tests first time and obtained my permit with required endorsements for around $78 total. I called my recruiter back on Friday, January 4th and she submitted my application to Safety for background check and employment verification. I hear back on Tuesday, January 8th that I had been approved and was asked when I wanted to start. I told her ASAP and she got me a spot on the following Monday (today) January 14th. That was fast!

Travel to SLC Prime offers a Grayhound ticket. I didn't feel like riding after hearing from others who had ridden grayhound in the past. I was going to drive, but decided to fly to avoid potential car trouble or other delays.

Prime will reimburse the cost of a grayhound ticket if you find your own transportation, but only after you get your CDL.

Housing Ramada Inn motel. Its trip advisor page says enough about it that I don't need to repeat. I'm in a non-smoking two bed unit with one roommate who attended an outside CDL school, and is currently awaiting his lease truck. We're both from southern California so that's kinda cool, and he's pretty chill. I introduced him to TT so maybe he'll pop up here soon.

By the way, we're both sleeping in our sleeping bags on top of the beds to give you an idea about how we feel about the place (see trip advisor, haha.)

The room has a coffee maker microwave, a refrigerator, two beds, two lamps and a TV, a long with free wifi.

There is a restuarant downstairs that he says is decent, so I'll give it a try later and see.

Walmart is just down the road and a Lyft only cost $9 each way, and with a current promo they've got it's even cheaper.

---

That's it for now, I'll try to keep this updated as best I can but obviously work is the priority.

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.

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.

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.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

CK's Comment
member avatar

Something to add before I forget: another student said the Ramada told him he would be getting a second roommate (3 in a room) and the instructor said that is absolutely unacceptable and it will not be allowed. There will be no more than two people per room with Prime.

Day One has so far consisted of a handwritten application, urine drug test and DOT physical. After the physical, it is lunch time. Lunch is brought in by an outside company - you get a menu and you write down the soup/salad/sandwich you want.

I also learned that I will be in the reefer division.

We will be given vouchers for the restuarant at the Ramada later. Don't forget to request the "manager menu" for your vouchers as it has special pricing for Prime.

More later.

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

DWI:

Driving While Intoxicated

CK's Comment
member avatar

Day one wrapped up with computer based training (CBT.) Unfortunately the CBT system is no longer set up to work away from the terminal , such as during down time in the hotel room, but I only have a handful left and we will have plenty if time to finish tomorrow.

The manager menu is a bit limited, but the pizza I had was extra cheesey - just the way I like it, and it was free (voucher) so I can't complain!

That's all for tonight, and I'm really looking forward to tomorrow!

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.

Turtle's Comment
member avatar

Good luck CK, I'll be following along. Stay focused my friend, you got this!

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Turtle's Comment
member avatar
I also learned that I will be in the reefer division.

I just want to point out to any future Prime applicants reading this, CK is pretty much limited to the reefer division because of home location. Tankers don't run out west, and flatbed options are limited.

So just to be clear, Prime doesn't pick your division, you do. Prime does however choose whether or not to hire you for that division based on your home location.

CK I'm curious now. Did you want to be in the reefer division or was that a surprise?

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

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.

CK's Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

I also learned that I will be in the reefer division.

double-quotes-end.png

I just want to point out to any future Prime applicants reading this, CK is pretty much limited to the reefer division because of home location. Tankers don't run out west, and flatbed options are limited.

So just to be clear, Prime doesn't pick your division, you do. Prime does however choose whether or not to hire you for that division based on your home location.

CK I'm curious now. Did you want to be in the reefer division or was that a surprise?

It was actually a surprise because I never actually discussed it with my recruiter. I would have been happy with reefer or flatbed, and I knew tanker was very unlikely because it seems to be in the eastern half of the country only. I asked the instructor what they had me down for and was told reefer. We have two or three flatbedders in the class.

We also have one "grass is greener" type in the class, which the instructor said was very common. He explained that some people work for prime for a few months or years, think the grass is greener elsewhere, and come back rather quickly.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

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.

Rainy 's Comment
member avatar
He explained that some people work for prime for a few months or years, think the grass is greener elsewhere, and come back rather quickly.

this is SO true. And those people will come back and a year later leave then come back.... 4 or 5 times in 10 years. Which for some it makes sense of trying to get more home time My girlfriend teams with her hubby and when her daughters give birth she leaves for a few months and comes back. It is considered a seperation and she is treated as a new applicant.

But the grass is greener people make me laugh. You went to 2 other companies already and came back. Why leave a 3rd time. Stupid people who never learn lol

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
CK's Comment
member avatar

Day Two:

Finished CBT's, some people got called out for simulator time, a few were pulled out for a safety class, and we needed to sit down with our instructor/orientation manager to go over our paper application and provide the required documents.

The second half of the day consisted of an overview of benefits, com data card information, and some history of the company. We learned about the structure of the company and took a survey to help pair us with PSD trainers.

There is definitely a big push to go lease right out of the gate, with some really nice numbers being presented in the material, as well as another driver (the greener I mentioned above) pitching lease as the best thing in the world. If it weren't for the great information I've read here, I would probably be among the half of the class jumping up and down wanting to sign the lease today. I'm looking forward to working hard to become a top tier company driver - that's my goal and I'll settle for nothing less.

Rainy/Turtle/other Prime peeps, quick question for you. When I go to take my CDL road test after PSD, though Prime does not cover the cost of the HAZMAT endorsement, am I able to pay out of pocket at that time to take that written and add it to my CDL?

I'm going to see about sending in my passport application today (they said Passport Card is fine, and its cheaper, so I'll do that for now!) I'm not too clear on TWIC but I'll be looking into that today as well - I was told Prime does not cover the cost of either the Passport or TWIC.

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

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.

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.
Turtle's Comment
member avatar
There is definitely a big push to go lease right out of the gate

That's discouraging to hear. Not once was I pushed one way or the other. It was simply a one-time question of which option I'd prefer.

For Hazmat , I'm not sure how it works out of SLC. You came in with your CA permit so I'd assume you test out in your home state of CA as well? If so I'd think adding the endorsement at that time wouldn't be a problem.

Sprimo does it different. We get our CLP and CDL right in MO, then transfer it to our home state during TNT. Its at that point that we can add hazmat.

I had my passport already, but Prime set me up with the TWIC. The $126ish cost does come out of your pocket in 2 payments.

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

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.

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.

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.

CK's Comment
member avatar

By push, I mean there is a lot of talk about how great it is and how you can go home anytime etc etc etc. They show the "average" take home for lease ops after all expenses is up there, like $1,300 solo and $2,400 (per driver) when teaming. Maybe it seems like there's more of a push than there is 'cause that one guy is constantly singing how great leasing is. The numbers he claims, and has shown on old settlements, is pretty high, but from what I understand from here is I can do just as well as a company driver without the added risk. To the best of my knowledge, no one has officially asked and of us about company vs lease.

CA permit yes, and it's been my understanding that I will test in Utah and then go home and transfer it.

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