Just Getting Started, Have Some Questions

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Christopher S.'s Comment
member avatar

Hello everyone! I recently obtained my CDL A permit with air brakes. I am training on an older Cummins 10 speed with my step dad who is a local terminal manager and I have some questions.

1, I have a felony that I got 16 years ago for stealing video games😕 I was 18 at the time. And I have 1 reckless driving that is just over 7 years old. Other than that I'm clean. Will these things prevent me from obtaining hazmat and passing the TSA background?

2, I'm basically going to be obtaining my CDL with a 3rd party instructor and not a school since I work full time. Will companies hire someone who doesn't attend school?

3, what advice can you offer to someone just starting out in the field?

I consider myself an experienced motor vehicle Operator and so far I'm doing ok learning the 10 speed. I have a motorcycle endorsement and have operated many different types of vehicles and enjoy being on the road. Any help you guys could offer would be great! Thanks

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

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.

Bruce K.'s Comment
member avatar

Chris, as far as your legal history, I can't say how that will be viewed by trucking companies. What I can say is that if trucking companies only hired drivers who never made mistakes in their youth, then there would be a critical shortage of drivers. Just keep your record clean from now on and you will be fine. Any company that you apply to, and shows interest in hiring you, will probably bring you in for company training. That is a good thing. Just keep pursuing your dream and acting responsibly and it will work out for you.

LDRSHIP's Comment
member avatar

The 16 year old felony will probably not be a huge deal breaker; especially, if you kept your nose clean since. The Reckless driving charge WILL be an issue at many places.

As far as getting a job, I am willing to bet that any larger, successful company will not touch you without 3-6 month’s verifiable OTR experience OR 160 hr training certificate from a driving school. Trying to circumvent the process is shooting yourself in the foot. You would be better off either going to a school or choosing a company sponsored training course. I am sure someone will post a link to “apply to company sponsored training.” Just know that link only sends applications to a very small slice of available training out there. It is not the end all, be all. It only sends applications out to those companies that pay for such advertisement.

There are a couple company sponsored training that does pay you while in training for your cdl. Roehl is such a one if memory serves me correct. All the big companies pay you during your training after you have a CDL.

A big advantage of company sponsored training is your are applying for a job at a place. So if they extend an invitation to their own school you are more or less guaranteed a job as long as you pass training. The other advantage is little to no money up front. You only have to guarantee your time. Usually 10-14 months.

To put it simply: either go to school or join a company sponsored training. Anything other than that and you are wasting your time and effort.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

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.

Christopher S.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks! I appreciate the feedback. I work 4 12s currently and just found overtime hours are being cut so it's going to affect my income significantly. This seems like a great time to pursue a career as a driver. I am very concerned with getting hazmat as it seems most companies prefer you have it. I am looking at doing regional or otr since rent has skyrocketed I'd rather just sleep in the truck and bank the income. I have found a few companies that look promising so far like schneider and roehl.

Chris, as far as your legal history, I can't say how that will be viewed by trucking companies. What I can say is that if trucking companies only hired drivers who never made mistakes in their youth, then there would be a critical shortage of drivers. Just keep your record clean from now on and you will be fine. Any company that you apply to, and shows interest in hiring you, will probably bring you in for company training. That is a good thing. Just keep pursuing your dream and acting responsibly and it will work out for you.

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

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

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.

Christopher S.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks! I've been considering that option and Roehl was one of the companies I looked at but I don't think they operate near me. I'm in Oregon . Almost every single job listing I see says no reckless driving in the last 3-5 so I figured I'd have a shot at it being just over 7 years. I will be up front with everyone.

The 16 year old felony will probably not be a huge deal breaker; especially, if you kept your nose clean since. The Reckless driving charge WILL be an issue at many places.

As far as getting a job, I am willing to bet that any larger, successful company will not touch you without 3-6 month’s verifiable OTR experience OR 160 hr training certificate from a driving school. Trying to circumvent the process is shooting yourself in the foot. You would be better off either going to a school or choosing a company sponsored training course. I am sure someone will post a link to “apply to company sponsored training.” Just know that link only sends applications to a very small slice of available training out there. It is not the end all, be all. It only sends applications out to those companies that pay for such advertisement.

There are a couple company sponsored training that does pay you while in training for your cdl. Roehl is such a one if memory serves me correct. All the big companies pay you during your training after you have a CDL.

A big advantage of company sponsored training is your are applying for a job at a place. So if they extend an invitation to their own school you are more or less guaranteed a job as long as you pass training. The other advantage is little to no money up front. You only have to guarantee your time. Usually 10-14 months.

To put it simply: either go to school or join a company sponsored training. Anything other than that and you are wasting your time and effort.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

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.

LDRSHIP's Comment
member avatar

Hazmat is in no way a huge necessity unless you specifically are looking to haul hazmat. If you are don’t want it, then simply don’t get it.

Not having a hazmat endorsement on your CDL with Roehl or Schneider is not a deal breaker.

Endorsements are truly not a necessity in this profession unless your looking so a specific type of job.

Tanker only if you plan to do tankers.

Double/Triples only if you plan to do LTL.

Hazmat only if you plan to haul hazmat.

Granted most LTL companies will require hazmat and doubles/triples endorsement.

But I am definitely just carrying on at this point.

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

LTL:

Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier

Doubles:

Refers to pulling two trailers at the same time, otherwise known as "pups" or "pup trailers" because they're only about 28 feet long. However there are some states that allow doubles that are each 48 feet in length.

LDRSHIP's Comment
member avatar

If Roehl interests you, the simplest answer is call them. Put in an application to apply for training. The worst thing they can say is: NO!!! Ok, if that happens then move along. The list of companies that offer in house training is fairly extensive.

If a local CDL school is something you are considering, then look around. See if any community colleges in your area offer training. If they do, they may have a night or weekend type class schedule available.

Ask any the Truck driving schools or community colleges with CDL programs if they are partnered with any larger companies. Many of them do have partnerships. It would work out very similar to company sponsored training at a companies in house cdl school. The difference being is instead of going away to a school, you would do your training at whatever truck driving school or community college.

Remember there is always more than one way to skin a cat. Persistence and creativity will be your friends.

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.

Christopher S.'s Comment
member avatar

If anyone has links/ names of companies close to Oregon that offer on the job programs that would be super helpful. I'm in a tricky situation where I have to keep income flowing to pay rent until my lease is up in the spring. I have been saving though if the right opportunity presents itself to get trained with a company I could swing rent for a few months. Living where I live is extremely expensive.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

LDRSHIP's Comment
member avatar

Look at Craigslist, you will be surprised at the number of large companies that post ads on Craigslist.

Other than that, call any Truck driving schools or community colleges in your area.

Christopher S.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks again for the replies. Currently at work finishing a 12 and getting ready to go practice downshifting and backing later today. The big CDL school near me is iitr but I've heard mixed reviews. I'm having an interesting time learning to downshift because the old truck I'm in has no working tach and my stepdad doesn't believe in dbl clutching. I can float up well enough but going down is a different story doing it by engine sound only.

If Roehl interests you, the simplest answer is call them. Put in an application to apply for training. The worst thing they can say is: NO!!! Ok, if that happens then move along. The list of companies that offer in house training is fairly extensive.

If a local CDL school is something you are considering, then look around. See if any community colleges in your area offer training. If they do, they may have a night or weekend type class schedule available.

Ask any the Truck driving schools or community colleges with CDL programs if they are partnered with any larger companies. Many of them do have partnerships. It would work out very similar to company sponsored training at a companies in house cdl school. The difference being is instead of going away to a school, you would do your training at whatever truck driving school or community college.

Remember there is always more than one way to skin a cat. Persistence and creativity will be your friends.

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.

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