Getting Back Into The Industry After A Long Hiatus And Have Questions.

Topic 2600 | Page 1

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Matthew D.'s Comment
member avatar

After more time than I care to admit, I've decided to get back into trucking and I have some questions. I did go to a driving school, and remember quite a bit, however a lot has changed since i drove last, and there are things that I have forgotten. The first step I've taken is to take the online CDL course to refresh myself and get acquainted with the newer regulations and the like. The first question I have is, where do you obtain a DOT medical card? Do I go through my family doctor or the company I end up driving for? Second, where do I go to put applications in? Like I said, I went to driving school, and we applied in the classroom, and the internet was a non factor. The driving school is no longer in business, so going back to get apps isn't an option. I'm in an odd situation for sure, I have OTR experience, but it's been so long that basically I'll be considered a new driver. I know the rules regarding on duty/off duty time and all that have changed. It's been 14 years since I last drove, so any advice will be greatly appreciated. Really looking forward to getting back out there again!

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.

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.

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.
Old School's Comment
member avatar

Matthew, welcome to the forum, and welcome back into trucking!

It's going to be just about impossible for you to get hired anywhere without going through a truck driving school again. The insurance companies just will not cover anyone unless they have a recent training certificate from a driving school or at least one or two years recent experience. There's a couple of different ways for you to accomplish this. You can pay the tuition and attend one of the many private Truck Driving Schools, or you could go for the Company-Sponsored Training that is offered by several different companies. If you decide to go the company sponsored route they will pay your way on a bus to get to their location and also pay for your lodging and most of your meals. We have an article on How To Choose A School that may be helpful to you in making this decision. I know you've been there and done that, but I'm sorry to say that's the way you get back into the driver's seat.

The first question I have is, where do you obtain a DOT medical card? Do I go through my family doctor or the company I end up driving for?

You could ask your doctor if they do DOT physicals, many family practitioners do them, but I would recommend that you decide how you want to do your training first. If you go to a school they will have someone that does the physicals for them, and if you go to a company for training they will provide the physician. The medical card is something that has to be re-done whenever you start at a new company. So if you go and pay for your own physical, whoever you go to work for will more than likely just make you get another physical even though yours is new.

Second, where do I go to put applications in?

Follow this link to Apply For Truck Driving Jobs. You can fill out one application there and have it sent to as many different companies as you like.

One last thing, there are a few companies that will offer you a refresher course type training if you still have a CDL but have been out of a truck for awhile. Western Express has a program like this that I'm familiar with and I think the rough details are that you go out with a trainer for approximately two weeks or until he feels that you've got the hang of it, and then they put you into a team truck with another person who just finished their refresher training. I think you run as a team with that person for one month and then they will put each of you into your own solo truck.

Hope some of that helps you figure out what to do, and if I only muddied the waters then feel free to ask us some more questions and maybe someone else can do a better job at it. Again, welcome back!

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.

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.

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.

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.

Matthew D.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the info1, I kind of figured that going to a company driving school was going to be the route I had to take, but wasn't sure. I did find out where to get the DOT medical taken care of, so that is out of the way. So it looks like I'll have to go through a company sponsored school. Thanks for the info again, it points me in the right direction!

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.

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