Going From A School Bus Driver To A Tractor Trailer Driver

Topic 25334 | Page 1

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Bob R.'s Comment
member avatar

I’ve been a school bus driver, in upstate New York, for several years. Now I’m thinking of getting my CDL-A. If I attend a company sponsored training program, will the training be any shorter/easier since I already have a CDL-B?

Thanx,

Bob

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.

Company Sponsored Training:

A Company-Sponsored Training Program is a school that is owned and operated by a trucking company.

The schooling often requires little or no money up front. Instead of paying up-front tuition you will sign an agreement to work for the company for a specified amount of time after graduation, usually around a year, at a slightly lower rate of pay in order to pay for the training.

If you choose to quit working for the company before your year is up, they will normally require you to pay back a prorated amount of money for the schooling. The amount you pay back will be comparable to what you would have paid if you went to an independently owned school.

Company-sponsored training can be an excellent way to get your career underway if you can't afford the tuition up front for private schooling.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

I’ve been a school bus driver, in upstate New York, for several years. Now I’m thinking of getting my CDL-A. If I attend a company sponsored training program, will the training be any shorter/easier since I already have a CDL-B?

Thanx,

Bob

Welcome to Trucking Truth, Bob! There are a few differences both in the written test and in basic driving. If you have the Air Brakes done that in the bag. Click on the three-bar menu on the top left of this screen. Select "CDL Training Materials", then "High Road CDL Training Program" (our free test study/ preparation program), and you'll see the list of study sections. The ones noted with "(Permit)" are the ones required for the CDL-A permit.

As for driving, you know semi-trucks are "bent" between the tractor and the trailer so they are a different animal in the driving and skills department.

It can be done! Good luck!

Here's out "starter kit" reading for newbies:

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.

Company Sponsored Training:

A Company-Sponsored Training Program is a school that is owned and operated by a trucking company.

The schooling often requires little or no money up front. Instead of paying up-front tuition you will sign an agreement to work for the company for a specified amount of time after graduation, usually around a year, at a slightly lower rate of pay in order to pay for the training.

If you choose to quit working for the company before your year is up, they will normally require you to pay back a prorated amount of money for the schooling. The amount you pay back will be comparable to what you would have paid if you went to an independently owned school.

Company-sponsored training can be an excellent way to get your career underway if you can't afford the tuition up front for private schooling.

Bruce K.'s Comment
member avatar

With my company, Schneider, you would have to go through the same program at training, but they don’t do CDL training so you would have to get that first. I believe company sponsored programs are pretty structured so they don’t customize For individuals.

But at least you would have a good background in the safety department which is a big deal. I wish you great success with your driving career.

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.
Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar

Short answer is NO. Driving combination vehicles with manual transmissions is a totally different animal from driving a school bus.

Take it from me. I owned a 48' RV/Bus for a number of years. Tractor trailer is 100% different.

Rick

Combination Vehicle:

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

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Short answer is NO. Driving combination vehicles with manual transmissions is a totally different animal from driving a school bus.

Take it from me. I owned a 48' RV/Bus for a number of years. Tractor trailer is 100% different.

Rick

Well, my first CDL , was for School Bus. (In the district I grew up in, and I believe I drove a coach I may have ridden in as a student. I did drive the very same route once.) I drove the kiddies for about six months then I started college. That was in the 1970's and that's where I learned double clutch.

40 years later, I learned to drive 18 wheelers. The double clutch "click-click" never left me. True, as I noted above, a 45' bus is not a 70' semi. But the clutching will work. The coordination of shifting in a big truck is a Level Boss for many diving students. I had no problem.

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.

Double Clutch:

To engage and then disengage the clutch twice for every gear change.

When double clutching you will push in the clutch, take the gearshift out of gear, release the clutch, press the clutch in again, shift the gearshift into the next gear, then release the clutch.

This is done on standard transmissions which do not have synchronizers in them, like those found in almost all Class A trucks.

Chris L's Comment
member avatar

I was in the same boat as you at the beginning of the year. Since you already have your Class "B" CDL the only permit test you have to take is for combinations NYS DMV waves basic knowledge and Airbrakes. The test costs $5.00 and you only pay when you pass the test. You can also take additional endorsement test if you want for an additional $5.00 per test. Once you get your Class "A" permit it will only show your "P" & "S" endorsement. Once you pass the Class "A" road test then it will list all your endorsements. Also you will get a pro-rated on the license fee depending when your current license expires. I think I paid $16.50 when I upgraded. Review the High Road CDL training program here on TT it covers all the endorsements that you can take. Good luck.

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.

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.

Donna M.'s Comment
member avatar

I drove a school bus for five years before I started at prime. School buses have been automatic for 20 years. However with prime we’re pretty much all automatic trucks. My answer to u on the driving part is no it won’t help at all. Probably, will make it harder. The difference in the way it turns and backs and just the general difference in size, takes lot of getting use to. I took my cdl test in Missouri. The parts U took for class b u don’t retake, like the other guys were telling u. However my license cost me more than everybody else’s because of the extra endorsements from the bus that was added to my cdl.

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.
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