PAM: A Rookie’s Career So Far

Topic 25027 | Page 1

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EJ C.'s Comment
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Hello everybody! It’s certainly been awhile since I posted. Last I was here I was asking about Drug Tests.... obviously everything went well and I’m at the beginning of my second week with my Mentor at PAM Transport. But let me tell ya’ll abit about my journey before we talk about the present.

So I started my trucking career on January 22nd, 2019. I was sent to Career Tech in Lakeland, Florida. Sponsored by PAM Transport, I didn’t have to pay a cent. But still I recommend you bring plenty of clothes, and some money for laundry/food. PAM will give you 50.00 every Friday while you there, but that’s honestly not much. So bring food and money, unless you happen to live close, in that case you lucked out. To clarify, it’s meant to be a 4 week program and they give you the first 3 50.00’s the first 3 Fridays. You don’t get your last 50.00 till you graduate.

So onto the program itself. First week consisted of studying for your permit tests. If you already have a permit when you start the program you can basically bypass this. Day 1 is orientation, paperwork, getting to learn the facilities and staff. Day 2 is your DOT physical and Drug test. It is a urine test, and you’ll take a total of 2 (or 3 in my case cause I was in the program for 6 weeks.) If you fail the first one, that one is solely for the school and it doesn’t hit your DAC report. Now the other 2 will ruin your future so for your sake make sure you’re clean and serene before you make the decision to become a trucker. I quit the THC for this career and don’t plan on touching the **** again until I retire. And I can tell you it brings alot of peace of mind knowing you can pass any drug test thrown your way.

Anyways, moving onwards. By the 4th day I went to the local DMV after passing my DOT physical and drug test and passed my permit tests on my first go. You’re recquired to pass General Knowledge, Air Brakes and Combination Vehicles. They recommend us a handy app to study for these called CDL Prep, the icon for it is a blue steering wheel. Since you read it here first, download it now and get to studying!

So after I have my permit I went to the actual training yard and to be honest... this is probably the school’s weakest link. The yard is a mud pit... meaning that when it rains you don’t get to practice on the trucks at all. The trucks themselves are falling apart, and the only decent ones are the two they use for Road training and the actual test trucks. Luckily the testing is done in a separate yard where it’s actual concrete and cement; and the lines are actually visible. The facilites were literally still being finished when I started so hopefully they are finished by the time any readers decide to attend. So, the first thing they expect is that you learn your pre-trip. They will give you evals for pre-trip and 3 yard skills that include Straight-like backing, Offset backing left/right and Alley Dock. Once you pass your pre-trip eval they allow you in the trucks to practice yard skills and do road practice as well. You can tackle the yard evals whenever you feel ready and think you’ll pass them,keeping in mind you have to turn in a passing eval for all 3 manuevers at the end of the week.

Once you have 2 passing evals for yard skills, 2 passing for pre-trip and enough driving time where the trainer thinks your ready, you are sent for your state exam to get your CDL.

Luckily, the one strong link in this school is the staff... they work really hard with the little they got and they made a trucker out of me, a guy who’s never driven a truck in his life.

So about the testing, when I started you got two free shots at the test. Now you only get one free shot and retesting is at 200.00 a pop. So get it that first time. After you pass, you go to the DMV print out your license and have the school send a copy of it to PAM. Try to get your Tanker and Hazmat endorsements on your first license if you have the funds. PAM will pay you 1000.00 bonus split in two payments, one just for applying for your Hazmat and the second once you’re approved. Then they set you up to be picked up by a mentor, and honestly it only took them a week to get me.

And that’s where I’m at now... with my mentor! On week 2, I’ve learned alot and honestly I’m loving the career so far. After I’ve honored my one year contract with PAM for them paying my school, I might look for better paying work. But honestly for having my Hazmat and teaming up I’m expected to make atleast 60,000 my first year which isn’t bad. More than I’ve made in my life lol.

And what they don’t give in pay they make up for in miles, so I think it balances it out. Might stick with them if the money is good. The equipment is definitely good, I’m in a 2019 Peterbilt 597 Ultraloft for my mentor truck and my truck will be the same minus the Ultraloft.

So so far so good. Hope this post has given ya’ll some insight into what it’s like for those considering the career!

Well this is it for my first actual forum post, hope ya’ll had a good read (:

Below are some pics of the adventures so far:

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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

Combination Vehicle:

A vehicle with two separate parts - the power unit (tractor) and the trailer. Tractor-trailers are considered combination vehicles.

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.

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.

DAC:

Drive-A-Check Report

A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).

It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.

Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Peter M.'s Comment
member avatar

Sounds like you're off and running. That's awesome!

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