CDL School Doesn't Teach The New Drivers Everything They Need To Know To Succeed According To Old School And Brett.

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G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Rob D...I am glad your intention was NOT to do something unsafe.

That said, if the average person who knows nothing about trucking, were to read your statement about "Roger That"...very easy to take it at face value as a blanket statement. I had to "check" it, clarifying that is not the way to proceed in this career in most everything. That might not make any sense to you now...but it will eventually.

Here is just one example:

I frequently back-haul water from Nestle', especially during the summer. 99% of the time, it's a "drop empty, grab and GO" with the pre-loaded trailers in the ready line. On this particular day, the load I was assigned to was not ready, meaning I'd have to take a door and wait for a live unload. My hours were short and at the time, there were no "open" dock-doors, all were occupied. Thus leaving me with no alternative but to deadhead back to the DC. I asked the shipping clerk if there were other Walmart trailers pre-loaded and ready. She confirmed there were several, and my load was the only one not-ready.

What do you think I did?

I called Dispatch, informed them of the situation and suggested they swap me with a load that was ready to go and give mine to a driver that was hours from arriving. They agreed and minutes later I had a new dispatch on the QC that I accepted. Point is, I took ownership of the situation and kept moving. Our job is to safely and efficiently move freight from point A to point B. It pays to think outside of the box and not take an attitude of "Roger That"...

Pick your spots...

Deadhead:

To drive with an empty trailer. After delivering your load you will deadhead to a shipper to pick up your next load.

Rob D.'s Comment
member avatar

G--Town,

Thanks for sharing.

That's why I keep reading this forum. To learn from experienced drivers.

It sounds like with your dedicated account, you have a lot of flexibility with loads.

To the extent that I can work with my FM to keep rolling, I will do that. I don't plan to sit idle if there is something that I can do about it. As you pointed out, I'm not even in CDL school yet, so I've got a ways to go before I learn the nuances of load assignments.

My main focus right now, is preparing for CDL school and making sure to have the right attitude when I get there.

That's why I posted about my experience in the military. If someone was a "complain, blame, criticize" person in the military, they will probably be a complain, blame, criticize person as a driver.

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.

Fm:

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.
Banks's Comment
member avatar

I considered going with CDL school. I want to drive, but I didn't want to be away for a month. Some things changed and I wasn't able to pay the tuition. I ended up as a driver apprentice at FedEx freight and I'm glad I did.

I met a bunch of people (including my trainer) that paid for CDL school. They learned the skills necessary to obtain their license and that was all. They learned on crappy equipment (like Stevo Reno) and once they finished the program the education ended. 5 Grand to take turns driving a crappy truck well enough to get your license.

At FedEx I received 1 on 1 instruction for 6 or 7 weeks. I was able to focus on my struggles without the distractions of having to keep up with everyone else. The equipment was old, but well maintained. I was paid about 800 a week during my training. The best part is there are always people around willing to help. If I have any issues I can call someone. If I mess up, FedEx will retrain me at their expense to make sure I get better and it doesn't happen 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.
Bruce K.'s Comment
member avatar

Just a couple of examples. In CDL school we spent approximately 1 hour on coupling/uncoupling. We had no practice on sliding tandems. No HOS training. No Qualcomm training. No log book training. Never saw the inside of the trailers we were training with. And most critical of all, no classroom safety training. All of these things were covered in company training. Can you imagine what a disaster it would be to send a driver out, on his own, just out of CDL school? That's why company sponsored CDL training is the superior way to get into trucking.

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.

Tandems:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

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.
Donald B.'s Comment
member avatar

Rob D...I am glad your intention was NOT to do something unsafe.

That said, if the average person who knows nothing about trucking, were to read your statement about "Roger That"...very easy to take it at face value as a blanket statement. I had to "check" it, clarifying that is not the way to proceed in this career in most everything. That might not make any sense to you now...but it will eventually.

Here is just one example:

I frequently back-haul water from Nestle', especially during the summer. 99% of the time, it's a "drop empty, grab and GO" with the pre-loaded trailers in the ready line. On this particular day, the load I was assigned to was not ready, meaning I'd have to take a door and wait for a live unload. My hours were short and at the time, there were no "open" dock-doors, all were occupied. Thus leaving me with no alternative but to deadhead back to the DC. I asked the shipping clerk if there were other Walmart trailers pre-loaded and ready. She confirmed there were several, and my load was the only one not-ready.

What do you think I did?

I called Dispatch, informed them of the situation and suggested they swap me with a load that was ready to go and give mine to a driver that was hours from arriving. They agreed and minutes later I had a new dispatch on the QC that I accepted. Point is, I took ownership of the situation and kept moving. Our job is to safely and efficiently move freight from point A to point B. It pays to think outside of the box and not take an attitude of "Roger That"...

Pick your spots...

G-Town, you just gave me an example of whereby being a driver is a "thinking man's position". Apparently, you were smart enough to think about that. It sounds like the smartest drivers will get the richest of the lot. It sounds like you can't always rely on your company to assign you loads in such a fashion that you will max out your paycheck each and every time. Reading stuff by Brett and Old School here, I gather that drivers may have to fight tooth and nail to get loads. No loads, no money for the driver, righto? Unless drivers still get pay for deadheading. I understand they get detention pay, maybe, but most of us would rather roll than wait. The "Roger That" is where a soldier is given an order and nothing more is said. In the military we get a monthly salary, base pay. Drivers get paid by the mile.

Deadhead:

To drive with an empty trailer. After delivering your load you will deadhead to a shipper to pick up your next load.

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar
Reading stuff by Brett and Old School here, I gather that drivers may have to fight tooth and nail to get loads. No loads, no money for the driver, righto?

occasionally you'll find yourself in a location you need to sit and wait a day for a load due to it being a dead zone with no freight. Eventually if they still dont have a load theyll have you deadhead to a better freight lane. If you want to keep moving the best way is to have a great working relationship with your dispatcher and be one they can count on. Giving the dispatcher an accurate time you expect to be ready for your next load, and informing them of any possible delays that require the load to be rescheduled as soon as you're aware of them will make their job much easier. Taking every load they assign you without complaining will also help. We've had numerous people tell us they got stuck in the northeast for over a week and a simple message to the affect of "I dont mind these loads, but it would be nice to see the west coast too" has gotten them a nice 2000 mile run. You will be given crappy loads but they still pay the same. Just remember, they may have 50 drivers they're responsible for and if you're someone that goes weeks without talking to them you're doing great and they know they can rely on you.

Deadhead:

To drive with an empty trailer. After delivering your load you will deadhead to a shipper to pick up your next load.

Dispatcher:

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.
Rob D.'s Comment
member avatar

Donald,

Do you know any of these people?

John Preston Bailey, Todd Holmes, Cantankerous Amicus?

Did you recently relocate from Boise, Idaho to Lawton, Oklahoma?

Just curious.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Donald replied to G-Town:

G-Town, you just gave me an example of whereby being a driver is a "thinking man's position". Apparently, you were smart enough to think about that. It sounds like the smartest drivers will get the richest of the lot. It sounds like you can't always rely on your company to assign you loads in such a fashion that you will max out your paycheck each and every time. Reading stuff by Brett and Old School here, I gather that drivers may have to fight tooth and nail to get loads. No loads, no money for the driver, righto? Unless drivers still get pay for deadheading. I understand they get detention pay, maybe, but most of us would rather roll than wait. The "Roger That" is where a soldier is given an order and nothing more is said. In the military we get a monthly salary, base pay. Drivers get paid by the mile.

There is a lot going on here... Donald I do not think we are "reaching you" quite yet...

Trucking is about: P E R F O R M A N C E !

Please burn that into the firmware of your brain and apply that thought to everything you read from me, Old School, Turtle, Brett, Rainy, Errol, Susan, Pack Rat and many other "experienced" regulars in this forum. It's the mortar that holds all of the bricks in place.

Top Performers make the most money, get the best loads, and have the most flexibility. They are also the most valuable drivers to their employers. Simple. Top performers make their company the most money and deliver excellence in service to their customers. Top performers make their Driver Leaders & Planners the most money. It's not about fighting tooth and nail, it's about making adjustments, anticipating issues, effective/timely communication, building upon experience and becoming a student of your profession and the specific job you are assigned. It's also about teamwork...and the relationships within that team.

I am assigned to a Walmart Dedicated account. You are new here, but ask anyone who reads my stuff on a regular basis, I love running Walmart Dedicated. In this case, load assignment had nothing to-do with the example I provided. My rationale for the way I handled it was deeper than just my own personal income. Yes I was paid for delivering the water load back to the DC. Probably amounted to an additional $22. I get paid to deadhead , same CPM as when loaded. But the question is; does the truck make Swift the same money when there is a long deadhead? "No" is the answer. So that there, is a key piece of what motivates me.

The bigger picture here is about servicing the customer; "Walmart", maximizing Swift's Service Level Agreement (SLA) with Walmart and optimizing my utilization rate which is big part of how driver management is compensated and evaluated. It's all inter-dependent. Swift makes more money on a route that has a back haul, as opposed to one that doesn't. I, like many of the senior drivers on the account request loads with back-hauls. Some of the back hauls can be lucrative, some are a PITA. Either way, it improves the performance numbers and utilization rate that are markers in the SLA we have in place with Walmart. It helps "keep" the account and maintain really good performance scores and on-time delivery.

Again...it's all about performance, but my decision was driven by an overall desire to move the freight I was assigned, and not necessarily about the money.

Performance.

Deadhead:

To drive with an empty trailer. After delivering your load you will deadhead to a shipper to pick up your next load.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

Rob D.'s Comment
member avatar

G-Town,

I think your dealing with Todd.

Rob

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
I think your dealing with Todd.

Oh, no. I think you may be right.

That's ok, because what a gem this is:

It's not about fighting tooth and nail, it's about making adjustments, anticipating issues, effective/timely communication, building upon experience and becoming a student of your profession and the specific job you are assigned. It's also about teamwork...and the relationships within that team.

That was fantastic. I hope people will read that two or three times and really digest it. That beautifully sums up the path to success in this industry.

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