Signed On With McElroy Truck Lines -- Starting School March 4th

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TexanTwoStep's Comment
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Hey everyone,

This past week I have obtained my Texas CLP and signed on with McElroy Truck Lines with their Student Contract Program. They will be sending me to a private CDL school in Tyler, Texas, which is conveniently approx 10 minutes from my house!

The process of getting this offer has been a lengthy one, but I'll try to describe it as best I can:

I first reached out to a recruiter, which was very nice and explained to me everything I needed to know. I probably have called her 10+ times during this whole thing. I've never driven/did not have my CDL, so she told me to put in an app. I did, and they called me back the next week to ask if I could drive to Cuba, AL to get my medical card, take a drug test, and take an agility test.

They put me up in an AMAZING hotel room (seriously, it was bigger than my apartment when I lived in NYC) the night before, and I arrived at the terminal the next morning not sure of what exactly to expect. We were taken to Meridian, MS (there were about 15 - 20 of us) to the hospital to get our medical clearance.

After that (it took about 2.5-3 hours for all of us), we drove back to the terminal, where they requested a urine and hair sample for the urine and drug test. They are serious about this, so if you've done anything illegal in the past 90-120 days, don't waste your time or theirs. Due to a "snow storm" that day (lol, there was a dusting of snow), there was a lot of down time while we waited for the people who performed the agility test. During this time, we were provided a hot lunch and had the opportunity to ask questions of some of the driver mentors that were at the terminal that day. All were very knowledgeable about their jobs and happy to answer any questions that I had.

After lunch, we went and took the agility test, four at a time. Now, I'm not in the best shape (I'm 6'1, approx 250 pounds), but this test isn't for the feint of heart. I was told that if my heart rate rose above 200 or my blood pressure was above 180/90, the test would immediately cease and I would not be eligible for hire.

For the agility test, the doc checks your joints for proper movement and range of motion first, takes your blood pressure and heart rate at rest. Then, you perform a "step-up" test for three minutes at a set tempo. After the three minutes, they take your HR again, and you do this two more times.

Then, you walk around the area for a minute for a cooldown, and your HR is taken again. Then you move on to the next station where you are required to lift boxes of varying weight chest high (25/50/75 pounds, if I recall correctly). You are required to lift them the correct way, and they demonstrate how to do this.

After you passed that, you are required to climb onto the trailer from the rear three times, using three points of contact at all time getting on and off the trailer. Then, for two minutes, you sort nuts and bolts on the back of the trailer while you stand on the ground, then do the same thing while kneeling on the ground for two minutes.

Finally, you are required to lift a rolled tarp from the ground, onto your shoulder, and onto the back of the trailer, then let it fall and do it again. These tarps weigh over 100 pounds and do not have handles, so this is pretty hard if you do not work out/have the right form. Finally, they take your HR and BP again, and you either pass or fail.

After your agility test, the "contract" applicants were taken with the recruiters and given our contracts to sign. For a one year contract, they will pay for my CDL school and I will become a McElroy employee after I complete school and the first week of orientation.

Hope this helps someone!

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

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.

Old School's Comment
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That's a great report - lots of details. There will definitely be people who appreciate you posting this.

I saw on another thread that you were from Chireno, TX. Welcome to trucking, neighbor!

TexanTwoStep's Comment
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That's a great report - lots of details. There will definitely be people who appreciate you posting this.

I saw on another thread that you were from Chireno, TX. Welcome to trucking, neighbor!

Yessir! I live in Lindale now, but I was born and raised on the Attoyac :)

Thank you! Looking forward to starting!

Turtle's Comment
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That was a great description of the physical/agility test. Good luck!

TexanTwoStep's Comment
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That was a great description of the physical/agility test. Good luck!

Thank you sir! I'm going to try my best to keep notes and update with the current info for McElroy. They are a great company but don't have as much coverage as the bigger companies on the internet. The only way I heard about them was through a CDL school I had requested info on and he told me to reach out to them.

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.
TexanTwoStep's Comment
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Hey ya'll,

Sorry for the long delay. I've been busy at school! I started school on Feb 27th and honestly? It's been an amazing, eye-opening experience. I'm going to CDL training school at Career Trucking School in Tyler, TX and McElroy Truck Lines paid for my tuition in exchange for a two year contract.

Keep in mind while reading this diary that I'm 32 years old, a 10 year military vet, and have never even seen the inside of a tractor. I went into this competently blind and to be honest, I believe that has helped me tremendously. I started school with my Class-A permit (Texas) that I self-studied for and got prior to enrolling in school. However, if you need assistance on earning your permit, CTS has classroom instructors for that from Tyler Junior College.

Since I had my permit, I was in a truck from day 1. The first day I was put on the shifting truck (named "Blackie" due to the color and 3.5 million miles on it..lol) with three other students and the instructor. Every morning, we all do a pre-trip inspection on the tractor and trailer, and after we get in the truck and get to driving.

If you're considering CTS, let me tell you that the instructors are fantastic. I started shifting on a Tuesday and was out of the shifting truck and assigned to a backing/road instructor the next Monday morning. Since then, I've driven over 500 miles on the road, and have had two full days on the backing range. I've also driven the on-road course where we all test and have received a "passing" score by my instructor. Today, I nailed all aspects of backing (straight, left/right offset, and parallel). In all honesty, I feel ready for my CDL test, but I'm not scheduled until April 9th. McElroy wants me to get 160 hours of instruction anyway, so that's no problem...I'll come every day and refine my driving and backing skills and perfect my pre-trip inspections.

The only complaints that I have of the school is that it's a little crowded and the Texas Workforce Commission and Texas Department of Criminal Justice send people over who frankly, shouldn't be in a vehicle. I'm all about giving people second chances, but when someone shows up 45 minutes late, smelling like alcohol and marijuana, it's hard to get into a truck with them and trust them behind the wheel. It also takes up a seat for people who are dedicated to starting their trucking career, and waiting on them takes up time for other students behind the wheel.

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

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.
Old School's Comment
member avatar
The only complaints that I have of the school is that it's a little crowded and the Texas Workforce Commission and Texas Department of Criminal Justice send people over who frankly, shouldn't be in a vehicle.

This kind of stuff happens at most truck driving schools. I attended a private school in Lufkin, TX, and I'm the only student from my class who went on to be a truck driver. There are always going to be people who try to do this, and there will always be a selective few who actually make it into a career. Brett often says, "Trucking is an extraordinary job for extraordinary people." The longer you do this you realize how insightful that simple statement is.

Stay in touch - it sounds like you're really doing well and enjoying the journey.

TexanTwoStep's Comment
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Sure thing! I plan on doing a weekly post until I'm in my own truck. I'll try to get some pictures along the way!

Solo's Comment
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I woke up Monday morning at my consignee surrounded by ~8-9 McElroy trucks. Those that got out of their trucks early in the morning were very nice. 1 guy helped me with one of my tarps, stating that I wasn't allowed to be the only one having fun. After I was unloaded, another helped me with my 2nd tarp...as it was pouring down rain.

Good luck!

Consignee:

The customer the freight is being delivered to. Also referred to as "the receiver". The shipper is the customer that is shipping the goods, the consignee is the customer receiving the goods.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

I woke up Monday morning at my consignee surrounded by ~8-9 McElroy trucks. Those that got out of their trucks early in the morning were very nice. 1 guy helped me with one of my tarps, stating that I wasn't allowed to be the only one having fun. After I was unloaded, another helped me with my 2nd tarp...as it was pouring down rain.

Good luck!

Glad to hear that drivers are helping other drivers! I'm really excited about starting

Consignee:

The customer the freight is being delivered to. Also referred to as "the receiver". The shipper is the customer that is shipping the goods, the consignee is the customer receiving the goods.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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