My Prime Orientation PSD/TNT Journey (Extremely Detailed)

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EricTheRed's Comment
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It's Tuesday, April 9th, 2019. For the first time in about 17 days I have time to stop, ponder this journey and put it all into words. I just finished laundry at a Flying J/Pilot. Had an AMAZING shower last night upon arrival. And later this afternoon will do some pre-trip practice. My trainer and I are stuck having to complete a 34 hour reset to get some hours back. It's both refreshing and painful. But I now have time to reflect and do my best to document this journey to date. I don't want to do the "here was my orientation schedule" thing as many others do that and I don't want to sound like a broken record. I want to document this all from as unique a perspective as possible. And due to the character/word limits on each post... this will be a multi-section/post update. I'm currently finishing PSD and will, in a few days, head back to Prime Springfield to test out and enter TNT phase.

First, for the mods of this forum, I had a post about a month or two back about preparing for Jim Palmer training. I can't edit or delete that so if it could be taken down that would be appreciated. I decided at last minute to go with Prime and that's exactly what I did.

OK, let's get started.

ORIENTATION For starters, a tip of the hat is in order for those who complete orientation week and move into actual PSD phase. To say that was a tough week and extraordinary test in mental fortitude would be a gross understatement. I'm 39 years old. I've worked hard all of my life. I've worked extremely long hours across a wide range of industries. I found that while I was about as prepared as I could possibly be, I still wasn't quite prepared.

It all started with that dreaded Greyhound bus ride. Yes, we all went through it. Yes, everyone says it will be bad. But just how bad it would be didn't quite click for me until I actually went through it. I suppose I sort of thought maybe I would luck out and get a half decent experience. Didn't happen. Now unlike some of my classmates I only had to ride two busses and transfer once. The first bus was very misleading and set me up for mental failure on the second. The first bus was nearly empty. It smelled like air freshener, had a friendly driver, was comfortable, all power outlets worked and it had great wifi. It was an incredible ride and I couldn't figure out what everyone was complaining about.

Until I had to transfer in Joplin... that's when s**t got real. The transfer station in Joplin is a crappy little room off to the side of a gas station. Pulled into it at around 9:00 PM or something. It had a bunch of stinky people scattered around with smelly bags opened up, shoes off and sleeping in all corners of the room. It was raining outside so I was forced to sit in this room. I watched multiple drug deals occur, I watched a sex act price be negotiated and then both participants leave the room for approximately 15 minutes before coming back without washing up or anything. I heard conversations about which county jails had the best food... on and on it goes. It was awful.

Then the final bus to Springfield arrived. It was JAM PACKED. In fact, it was oversold by a few seats. I shuffled out and stood in the rain to ensure I got on it. As the seemingly angry driver got off he proclaimed backpacks would have to be held in laps and several ticketed passengers wouldn't get seats. Crap. When a few people got off I left my bag with the driver and bolted onto the bus. I was getting to Springfield. Period. The only seat that wasn't piled with luggage or sideways bodies was a seat at the very back by the bathroom. I took it. And for that roughly hour and 15 minutes I endured a smell that will never leave my mind. It was beyond any putrid foulness I have ever smelled. And it permeated the part of the bus I was on. There was no escaping it.

It was so bad I was afraid my clothes and bag would smell that way for days and weeks. And I was arriving in Springfield at like 00:30 on a Sunday morning. I had no idea what I was about to walk into. For all I knew I was going to have to wake up a stranger in a motel room, introduce myself stinking of raw sewage and climb into a bed in the dark so as to be polite to this new strange roommate.

Arrived at Greyhound in Springfield, shuttle came and got me, checked in and fortunately had no roommate yet. I was able to shower (Room 125) and relax for a few minutes before falling asleep. And I had a day to do some more CDL permit test studying before the Monday morning chaos began.

Some say that Greyhound ride is an intentional test. I think that the "mental test" is just an added bonus for Prime. Upon reflection it's more a logistical benefit for Prime. There are more bus stations than airports, more seats available at better prices and the Springfield bus terminal is a couple minutes from Prime campus. And if someone can deal with the headache of going through it, they have better odds of being able to deal with shippers/receivers, traffic and long lonely drives at 58 MPH.

I made it through the Greyhound stage. But as a short amount of time would tell, that was nothing. It wasn't even the beginning.

At around 09:00 I got up, walked down the street for breakfast and when I got back there was a dude in the room. His name was Mike. We talked a bit. He seemed pretty quiet and kept to himself. He was clean and didn't have a ton of luggage. Didn't smoke (I only vape and only outside) so it was shaping up to be a best case scenario.

On to part 2

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.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

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.

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.

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.

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.

EricTheRed's Comment
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The roommate thing working out was a really big deal. I’m relatively socially introverted. Very introverted, actually. I also try really hard to keep good hygiene practices alive and well at all times, and I don’t want to have to stress about whether or not my personal belongings are going to be messed with.

That Sunday morning before Mike arrived it became very apparent to me this could have gone south in a hurry. I don’t mean to sound negative on any of my fellow classmates. I mean, to each their own. Different strokes for different folks. And for some good hygiene seemed to be an afterthought. Some played loud music from their rooms. Some were outside chain smoking all day. Some were extremely socially active and would spend every extra minute of the day telling stories to anyone who would listen.

No offense folks… but I’m here to learn how to become a professional driver. Not for social hour and treating orientation like a bar without booze. My mission was simple. Learn everything possible, excel as best as I could and GTFO.

Mike’s mission was exactly the same. He was the perfect roommate. And through this mutual understanding we became good friends without ever having to say much. We still text each other daily as PSD is coming to a close for both of us. It really worked out and I’m extremely happy with the way it all went down.

We both laid in bed all day that Sunday with our CDL Prep apps open. We studied, studied, studied more and then studied more. We were down the hall yapping about nonsense. We just studied. All day.

Monday morning arrived and the hardest day of the entire week began to unravel. You read about being shuffled around like cattle but it doesn’t become real enough until you experience it in full force. There were I think 95 students at first roll call. We were broken into four groups, each with a custom schedule based on group assigned. My group was to start at File Review, then move to drug test followed by DOT physical. I purposefully sat at the back of the room so that I could be one of the first out once I knew where I had to go. That strategy was successful.

I was 5th in line at file review and got right through within minutes. Many others who dilly dallied didn’t have the same experience. I immediately bolted to drug testing. While I was maybe 15th or so in line, it took a LONG time. I think I was in that line for an hour and a half. It seemed excruciating. To help pass the time I opened up the CDL Prep app and continued to study.

It should be noted that I went through the entire High Road Training Program on this site before going to Springfield. That was wise, as would be later proven at testing time. Thanks to having gone through the High Road online courses, the CDL Prep app was really just teaching me how to take everything I knew and segment it into the kind of questions the test would give me.

I finally got to the stage of the peeing in a cup, knocked that out then bolted down the hall to the room for weight, eyes, hearing, height, etc. Got through that and pondered breaking for lunch before going through the pain of the rest of the physical segments (Blood pressure, physical review, etc) and opted to just get it over with. That part was about two hours of bizarre musical chairs. Wait 5-10 minutes, then shift one seat over. For two full hours. While listening to some of the silliest nonsensical small talk I’ve ever heard.

Got through all of that and then went to eat. Thanks to getting through it all a bit earlier I had a little time to kill. So I studied more. Then went to my first simulator class. Got through that then went to dinner, then back to room for late shower and more studying.

Next morning arrived with an early class then groups were told to prepare to go test for CDL permit. I wasn't going to wait around. I wanted to be one of the first to test and I was. I think 5th or so to get into line at the DMV. I was a bit stressed but felt I was well prepared. I ended up getting through them all with a 100% on general knowledge, 87% on airbrakes, 100% on tanker and 94% on combination vehicles.

Got my permit and because I tested so early in the day I had some free time to kill. So I spent the afternoon cranking through my CBTs. They say it takes around 5 hours for the CBTs but I don't see how that's possible. I didn't screw around with them and in total it took me closer to 6 and a half for all of it. Maybe I was doing something wrong but to me it seemed like there was well over 5 hours of content there in all of the CBTs.

Anyway got through about half of my CBTs that afternoon. Went to Sim class then finished the CBTs later that night. Wednesday rolled around with various classes and such. Worked my way through them and began to read through pre-trip. I found that because I didn't have any issue with the CDL permit, physical, file review or anything else I began to have free time. Whereas those who weren't as well prepared were still scrambling to get things done. A lot had failed multiple attempts at the permit test, many had issues on file review and there were quite a few still working on CBTs.

If I could give one piece of advise to new students headed to orientation it would be this. Study your brains out, have your paperwork in order and do not mess around with anything on Monday or Tuesday. Get into everything as early as you can, and get everything done the second you can.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

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.
PackRat's Comment
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Great posts, Eric!good-luck.gif

EricTheRed's Comment
member avatar

It will drain you. It will stress you out. It will make you tired beyond words. But then come Wednesday and Thursday you get to rest and relax while everyone else is scrambling to figure it all out. Well worth the hardcore two day investment for the reward it brings on the third and fourth day.

On Thursday morning a few were booted for drug tests. Some booted for file review. Some couldn’t get through physical, some booted for being late and a lot had quit. We were down to maybe 65 for Thursday morning roll call, and I think down to about 50 for roll call the following day. This was down from around 95 at roll call just four days earlier.

Those who made it got purple badges that would provide access to the main Prime facilities and would begin the process of entering PSD phase.

Did some final classes and such on Thursday, then Friday morning we were rewarded with an epic breakfast at the Millenium building. We got a tour of all facilities, then broke for lunch and told to come back to Plaza to get our first shot at bobtailing a tractor/truck around the practice area that afternoon.

I got back to the Plaza early, got my spot in the classroom and when roll call came a guy yelled at me from the back of the room telling me to stay put when everyone else went out onto the practice pad.

This guy turned out to be my trainer. He wasn’t interested in me going out on the pad. He intended to pull me from class before it even began, thus initiating my PSD phase.

That was it. It was a LONG week, yet everything had happened so fast. I got off that stinking bus on Sunday morning, the 24th of March, and now less than a week later I was about to hit the road with a PSD trainer. I had read about this so many times here on this forum. And to be experiencing it myself was almost surreal. It was here. I was about to learn to drive a truck and see if I could make it as an OTR driver for Prime.

I had endured Orientation. I had made it through the week long interview process. I survived the filter. Orientation was now behind me. PSD ahead.

PSD PHASE - When my trainer introduced himself in the classroom at the Plaza I thought I was getting a bit of a head start on the others. I had read about others taking a week or more to get a trainer and I wasn’t interested in waiting around like that. I also heard non-smokers can sometimes have a tougher time getting trainers. My trainer took me outside and immediately lit up a cigarette. Oh boy… I don’t smoke. I had made that clear in all of my documentation. Yet here was this smoker talking to me and telling me he was putting me on his truck for both PSD and TNT.

When I came to Prime I was convinced I wouldn’t have to be with a smoker. But when push came to shove… my care about it went, pun intended… up in smoke. F**k it I thought. I did smoke for ten years earlier in life and I didn’t want to delay any of this any longer than it needed to be. I know I could have turned him down and waited for another trainer, but again… my mission here is to learn everything I can, become a professional driver and then GTFO there in my own truck making money.

My thinking that I was ahead of the game turned out to not be true. Turns out his truck was going in for repairs the following Monday morning. He was going to put me on the backing pad at 5:00 AM Saturday morning, then have me drive with a trailer for a few hours in and around Springfield at 5:00 AM Sunday.

One good thing about this minor delay is that I needed to do laundry and would be able to keep my room at Campus Inn until Monday. I was also given a new meal card and could now use it at the Grille over at Millenium. MUCH better food. Much better environment. For the most part it was a weekend of rest, laundry and occasional pre-trip reading. Some of my fellow classmates were leaving and hitting the road. I was a little because I just wanted to get this phase going and move on, but truth be told I was grateful for the small break before it began. My roommate was yanked from his slumber at 2:00 AM that Sunday morning with no warning from his trainer and no time for laundry. I know he would have prefered the break I had, and for that reason I was ok with it all.

A LITTLE ABOUT MY TRAINER - I’m not going to name him. And what I say here is not meant to be negative on him. Everyone is going to have their quirks. Just as he has things that drive me nuts… I’m sure I annoy him occasionally too.

Generally speaking, my trainer is a great guy. I really like him in terms of his personality and I think we’ve become friends pretty quickly. He’s financially motivated on the training program and doesn’t pretend otherwise, but I also genuinely think he cares about making his trainees good drivers. He’s an excellent veteran driver who has been with Prime for a long time. He gets good loads and a ton of miles.

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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.

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.

Doug C.'s Comment
member avatar

Eric, thanks for the posts. I'm heading out for school with CRST early in May, in Cedar Rapids. Your experience gives me some idea of what I might be able to expect. My Greyhound leaves at midnight. Good luck to you.

EricTheRed's Comment
member avatar

That said there are some adjustments that I’ve had to make. His smoking for example… he doesn't just smoke. He chain smokes. He’s a two pack a day guy. At least. He does at least have the decency to not smoke in the bed because he knows he would hot box me up here in the top bunk. But even smoking up front it didn’t take long for everything I own to smell like an ash tray. It sucks but whatever. Life goes on.

That said, it means that when I shift to the drivers seat there is ash EVERYWHERE. In the door handle area, all over the floor, all over the steering wheel, in the gauges, on top of the steering wheel, in the cup holders… everywhere. And if it’s windy that ash just blows around all over the truck.

Once we hit the road he wasted no time in throwing me into the deep end. He runs HARD. We’ve now been on the road for 8 days, I think, and we’ve completed a 600 mile run/load, a 1700 mile run and are on a 34 hour reset before dropping off a 2,000 mile run Thursday morning. My third day driving I pounded out 500 miles of my own. Yesterday I knocked down nearly 500 of my own, most of which was two lane going from north of Salt Lake City to just east of Gallup New Mexico. It’s nearly all two lane with twisty climbs and descents, construction zones and constant 45 mile zones while going in and out of indian reservations. Not to mention the most unlevel and wavy road I’ve ever experienced. We generally put in about 13-14 hours a day start to finish. With nothing more than a 30 minute break and occasional pee/cigarette re-supply stops that last no longer than 10 minutes.

I think some trainers help their students with a more gentle adjustment period. Mine did not. We ran hard the first day and until today our mission has been to eat, sleep, drive. Period. No down time. No time to walk around and stretch. No time to clear the mind in a driver’s lounge, etc. It’s literally eat, sleep and drive. He runs like this 24/7 until his HOS service dictate he stops. And he’s done it for some 7 years now. He only goes home maybe once every four months. He’s a f****ing machine. And he expects me to be one right there alongside him.

For the first 5 or so days he would watch my every move like a hawk. Opining on what I did wrong or right, offering tips/pointers, etc. After that he starting spending more time watching his phone while I cracked out the miles. I think he’s generally confident with my understanding of the pedal, the way the truck reacts to what I do, how it climbs and hauls down mountains, the rules of the road, what to watch for, etc. I’ve been backing into spots at truck stops. My turns, both left and right are getting better. But while him taking his eyes off me has been refreshing a bit, it’s also the source of some of my annoyances.

You see, him watching his phone means he’s not really always in tune with the situation around us. Yet, many times a day he’ll come up from his phone and jump on me for something that I just want to be like WTF dude? Like, for example, he’ll look up at the Qualcomm and realize I’m only doing 54, not the 58 or 62 he prefers. He’ll say something like “come on you’re going too slow you need to get it moving so we aren’t wasting time” or something like that. Not even realizing that I’ve got the pedal hammered down and this truck sometimes struggles against slight inclines and wind. There is only so much I can do dude. I will always go the speed limit that I can legally go, and that the governor allows me to go without wasting fuel. I don’t need to be constantly told I need to speed up. If I’m not sped up there is a good and legitimate f***king reason for it.

He also hung me up in Spokane a few days ago. He was looking at his phone when I saw a sign that said “through traffic use left two lanes.” So, naturally, I got in the right left lane. He looked up a minute later and said I was too far to the left of the 5 lane highway and demanded I move a couple lanes to the right. I tried to say the sign directed me to that lane but he wasn’t having it. Sure enough, about a mile later all three of those lanes came to an abrupt end, forcing me to get all jammed up in traffic trying to work my way across packed lanes to get back to one of the two lanes that actually continued on, and that I should have been in all along.

But hey… he’s the captain of this ship. I’m not going to argue. I’m going to learn from him, learn how to do all of this and move on with my new career. So I don’t talk back. Don’t try to be all prideful about it, etc. I just take it all and move on.

Also, he can get very cranky. When he’s in a bad mood I just stay the hell out of his path. If his fuel lane has an out of order DEF pump and he has to circle all the way around and wait for a new lane to open up… hell hath no fury like… well you get the picture. The good news is he cheers back up pretty quickly. I just let him fume and sit quietly.

It’s all a part of the journey. All a part of the test. I wouldn’t say I’m fully adjusted just yet. But at least none of it is any longer a mystery. I know what to expect now. I know what it’s going to be like. And that has helped me push forward.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

EricTheRed's Comment
member avatar

Great posts, Eric!good-luck.gif

Thanks! Will try to update as much as possible.

EricTheRed's Comment
member avatar

Eric, thanks for the posts. I'm heading out for school with CRST early in May, in Cedar Rapids. Your experience gives me some idea of what I might be able to expect. My Greyhound leaves at midnight. Good luck to you.

That's awesome! Good luck and have fun with that Greyhound ride!

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Eric, there's nothing unusual about your experience. Hang in there. It sounds like you're keeping the proper attitude and that will help you get through the training. Most of us had completely false expectations about what our training would be like. There's nothing like driving hard and experiencing real world stress to help a newbie adjust to this new lifestyle.

Remember this training time is limited. It's a small blip in your career. It's very temporary. Deal with it as best you can. You may feel like you're serving your trainer more so than them actually teaching you, but you are learning a great deal just by the heavy exposure to driving that rig in all sorts of conditions.

Check out these articles. You may find them helpful.

What Should I Expect From My Trainer

Riding The Emotional Roller Coaster Of Paid CDL 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.
Turtle's Comment
member avatar

Great posts Eric, very detailed and informative.

Your good attitude will serve you well in the upcoming weeks and months. There will be many more trying times ahead, and keeping a proper focus will get you through them all. Just soak up as much knowledge as you can. He sounds like a pretty good trainer so far.

You mentioned his somewhat relentless schedule, as well as the fact that he gets good runs. There's a lesson to be learned in there. Work hard, bust your tail, and you'll get the reward.

Keep up the good work! Looking forward to following the rest of your journey. Good luck!

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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About Us

TruckingTruth was founded by Brett Aquila (that's me!), a 15 year truck driving veteran, in January 2007. After 15 years on the road I wanted to help people understand the trucking industry and everything that came with the career and lifestyle of an over the road trucker. We'll help you make the right choices and prepare for a great start to your trucking career.

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Becoming A Truck Driver

Becoming A Truck Driver is a dream we've all pondered at some point in our lives. We've all wondered if the adventure and challenges of life on the open road would suit us better than the ordinary day to day lives we've always known. At TruckingTruth we'll help you decide if trucking is right for you and help you get your career off to a great start.

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