Former Driver, Current Amputee🤪 Is Trying To Get Back Into Proffesional Truck Driving

Topic 26198 | Page 1

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PegLegPete's Comment
member avatar

Hi, let me start by saying thank you for accepting me to this forum and truckingtruth.com. I really like the articles and company reviews in addition to the posts on the forum boards here. Really inspiring!

Let me get right to it... I’m currently in a CDL training course, I’ve got my permit and all my endorsements, and my hazmat background check is in the process. Should be done by the time I finish training and acquire my CDL. I am a freelance audio engineer and musician, well I’m a drummer... not sure if that qualifies as being a musician. Lol. As some of you know, those jobs don’t pay much and offer no job or financial security. And don’t offer any “job history”. I haven’t punched a clock in 15 years. All I have is my portfolio containing my body of work.

This brings me to my next point. I am an amputee. I lost my left foot in a motorcycle accident back in 2004. At the time I was a driver on Schneider’s dedicated GM account out of Rancho Cucamonga, California. I was approaching my two years of experience when I had this accident, ironically driving home from work. Long story short; I was unable to return to work because I was seriously injured and nearly died. I spent over a year in physical therapy and occupational therapy... lots of medical stuff that I won’t bore you guys with the details. I really haven’t worked a regular job since except for a brief one year job as a case manager at mental health clinic in Mojave’s. Found out real quick that wasn't for me... never was one that understood people’s excuses of why they can’t. Whatever that may be.

I’m sorry this is so long but I don’t want to leave you all confused... anyway I was able to draw my social security and Medicare and still do to this day. I’m grateful for that because it helped my family and I when we needed it the most. However, there is no future in collecting a check and everything stays the same. I’m in a good situation now, after several surgeries and modifications I am really doing well physically. It’s like I’m not even an amputee anymore, that’s how good I get around now.

I’m 50 years old and in good shape and I am determined to get back to driving professionally. I’ve got my D.O.T. Physical card and it says I’m fit to drive. However, it doesn’t mention that I’m an amputee even though I put it on the form to apply for the physical. Very curious... but whatever at this point, I’ll have to tell any companies I apply to about it as it must be disclosed according to DOT regulations. Not a deal killer by any means but definitely an added barrier. But I’d still be driving if I wouldn’t have been in the MC accident in the first place. Being a freelance audio engineer and drummer working on mostly local projects and playing bar cover bands doesn’t exactly help either.

I’m sorry again, didn’t mean to write a damn book... oh my! My questions are these:

What companies are willing to hire people with so called “disabilities” (mine is real unfortunately, but doesn’t hold me back) and would be leaneant on the work history question. I’m already committed to this and really want to make this happen. End my working years in prosperous and honorable manner not just scrounging for a buck when I can make it.

Any advise would be welcomed even the stuff I don’t want to hear. Btw I live in California where there is a lot of trucking. I would really like to become an O/O after a few years of relearning the job, maybe sooner.

Thank you in advance for any insight or experiences you might share with me.

Tim

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

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Hi Tim, welcome to the forum!

First, props to you for wanting to rejoin the workforce. You could just ride out your days collecting checks, but you want more. That's admirable.

I don't think being an amputee will be as much of a hindrance as the lack of work history. However, your situation is a little different. The accident and resulting disability can explain some of that. You may not get your first choice of companies, as many of them want to see a solid work history. But there are still some companies who will take you on.

There are plenty of drivers that have disabilities. Heck, I've even seen a one-armed flatbedder. If you can demonstrate enough agility to handle the basic tasks a driver faces, there shouldn't be a problem, in my opinion.

You're already in a CDL school, so it's too late for me to advise against that. We'd rather see you attend Paid CDL Training Programs, so that your company will have more of a vested interest in your success. Nevertheless, you should start by applying at all companies that match your criteria. Let all prospective employers know your situation, and someone will surely take a bite. Put the feelers out now and start getting some pre-hire invitations, so that once you graduate you can roll seamlessly into a job.

Good luck, and let us know how is working out for you.

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.

Pre-hire:

What Exactly Is A Pre-Hire Letter?

Pre-hire letters are acceptance letters from trucking companies to students, or even potential students, to verify placement. The trucking companies are saying in writing that the student, or potential student, appears to meet the company's minimum hiring requirements and is welcome to attend their orientation at the company’s expense once he or she graduates from truck driving school and has their CDL in hand.

We have an excellent article that will help you Understand The Pre-Hire Process.

A Pre-Hire Letter Is Not A Guarantee Of Employment

The people that receive a pre-hire letter are people who meet the company's minimum hiring requirements, but it is not an employment contract. It is an invitation to orientation, and the orientation itself is a prerequisite to employment.

During the orientation you will get a physical, drug screen, and background check done. These and other qualifications must be met before someone in orientation is officially hired.

Bruce K.'s Comment
member avatar

Timothy, sorry about your accident, that's a tough one. But also very inspiring about persevering despite adversity.

Does your CDL school have a person who liaises with trucking companies about job placement? If they do, that might be your best bet of finding the right match for you.

Most companies can put you in an automatic tranny truck, so your amputation should be a non-issue. I really hope you will keep us posted on your job search. I'm sure you will find a good job to get things started 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.
Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

We have another member here, Forrest B., that is a left leg amputee. He has been going through the process of trying to get a waiver, or SPE certificate I believe it was called, to be cleared to work. Hes been dealing with that for quite a while it seems so you may want to see if you need one and get the process started. He was accepted by CFI, the only issue you may or may not have is demonstrating you can safely climb into the back of a trailer. We have a couple drivers here familiar with CFI and have said very good things about them.good-luck.gif

Grumpy Old Man's Comment
member avatar

I just saw a double amputee this morning delivering to Walmart DC in Lewiston ME.

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