One Month Experience! Am I In The Wrong Place?

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James C.'s Comment
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Hi folks! Happy trucker appreciation week! I’m 43, combat vet and recently retired from 20 years corporate management. I wanted to drive a truck and it fit in with mine and my wife’s future plans. I started CDL school the first week in June of this year (2019). It was 2 weeks. We drove one hour the entire 2 weeks. The rest of the time was backing and pre-trip. It was literally CDL test prep, that’s all.

I did very well, my instructors pulled me aside often to tell me I was going to do good things in trucking etc. I scored perfect on my CDL testing in all sections. I studied really hard and soaked up as much knowledge from my instructors as I could. Then I went to my trainer. Training was supposed to be 5-6 weeks (200 hrs driving OTR). However, my trainer was on a dedicated account. So we ran nonstop. I drove 12hrs straight most days, while he slept and vice versa. My trainer said I was a natural and drove like someone with years experience, blablabla! Well my 200 hrs training was done in almost 2 weeks. I did so well that they wanted me to stay on the dedicated account. I “upgraded” and the examiners were the same way. “We are really impressed, you drive better than guys with several years under their belt.”

Then came the reality! I was put in a truck by myself running 2000+ miles a week, 20 stores and 6-10 backhauls a week. Not like with my trainer. We ran long and to remote towns. The routes I’m being given are in major cities in rush hour. The stores are in extremely tight quarters and smaller than the ones when I was with my trainer. My company runs freight for these stores third party. The stores are designed for day cabs with 48ft trailer or delivery vans. My company has me delivering in a sleeper and a 53ft. The account requires 6 months experience, obviously I’m 5 months short of that! I’ve already had an “incident” scraping a trailer turning behind a store. The space is ridiculously tight and my loads are around 43-44k so the tandems are not where they should be for these turns, to make weight.

My company pays $175,000 a week in damages for incidents on the store chains property nationwide! Maybe that’s a sign! So, my question to you guys? As a driver with less than a month experience, should I even be in this account? I’ve slowed everything I do down to a creep. I try not to take loads in the major cities with the smaller cramped stores or the super heavy dry vans. However, those are the loads no drivers want, so I end up taking these crappy loads because I’m the new guy trying to earn his stripes. I love driving! I love it! I love the money!

My family and kids have never had even a 4th of this kind of money! I just think I ended up in a spot that a guy with a month of experience shouldn’t be in! If I mess up again, I’m probably gone. Then I leave without the 6th months experience most companies are looking for, I miss out on the $3000 signing bonus I get over the first 6 months, plus they are paying for my $6000 tuition to the crappy “pass your CDL” driving school that really didn’t let us drive but an hour.

I don’t want to get fired! I’ve never been fired from a job my whole life. Every job I’ve ever had hated to see me go. I have a day long “close quarters maneuvers” class scheduled next month, which was supposed to be a prerequisite to be on this account along with the 6 months experience. I’m thinking I just shouldn’t be on this account with one month of driving. You folks shed some light for me?

This is my only experience so far with the trucking industry. Is this typical? Everybody at the office says “don’t sweat this man, you're doing great! But if it happens again you’re probably fired.” At the same time, guys in the same account with much more experience, in those two weeks rolled over in the lot because he didn’t check his kingpin and he flipped when his trailer uncoupled, totaled tractor/trailer.

A guy jackknifed and totaled tractor/trailer speeding in the rain with his cruise on. A guy punctured his full refer fuel tank on a concrete post behind a store, spilling it right there. That’s just in the last 2 weeks. Those guys got years of experience compared to me. What do you guys think I should do? 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.

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.

Day Cab:

A tractor which does not have a sleeper berth attached to it. Normally used for local routes where drivers go home every night.

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".

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
G-Town's Comment
member avatar

What account are you on? What company?

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

...and the reason I asked those 2 simple questions?

Because much of your post as written is bogus. As follows:

2 weeks of CDL school? No, 3 weeks minimum, otherwise no legitimate company will hire you.

1 hour total of driving while at school? No way you’d pass the State CDL exam with zero mistakes if you only drove for 1 hour total.

Driving 12 hours per day, every day with your trainer? No, it’s illegal.

Driving 200 total hours over a two week period while with your trainer? No way, that’s over 14 hours per day of driving.

Please take a deep breath and get real if you are serious about seeking our advice and provide us with accurate information,...void of exaggerations.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

I have to agree, most of those numbers were bogus.

It does sound like you're on one of the dollar store accounts, and we have always recommended that rookies stay away from those accounts because of the difficult backing and navigation. You should switch to an OTR if they'll allow it.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
icecold24k's Comment
member avatar

So, my question to you guys? As a driver with less than a month experience, should I even be in this account?

If this is one of the horrible dollar store accounts then you should absolutely not be on that account. You are a braver man than I. Anyway can your current company not switch you to something else like regular OTR.

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.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

So, my question to you guys? As a driver with less than a month experience, should I even be in this account?

double-quotes-end.png

If this is one of the horrible dollar store accounts then you should absolutely not be on that account. You are a braver man than I. Anyway can your current company not switch you to something else like regular OTR.

Yeah,... I would have thought the same thing (Dollar), except that he mentioned a driver hitting a yellow Poll Deer and puncturing the reefer fuel tank. As far as I know, there are no perishables delivered in bulk to a DG or other $ type accounts. Smacks of Walmart Grocery because of the reefer reference and the multiple stops per week of 20+.

I'm not yet convinced this guy is genuine...notice he never replied to my questions. Hope I am wrong, time will tell.

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

icecold24k's Comment
member avatar

G-Town I think you may be right. I didn't catch that about the reefer. You are correct though, this may not even be legit. A lot of what he is saying just doesn't add up. Hopefully he will pop back in and clear some things up.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

G-Town I think you may be right. I didn't catch that about the reefer. You are correct though, this may not even be legit. A lot of what he is saying just doesn't add up. Hopefully he will pop back in and clear some things up.

T O D D

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

G-Town I think you may be right. I didn't catch that about the reefer. You are correct though, this may not even be legit. A lot of what he is saying just doesn't add up. Hopefully he will pop back in and clear some things up.

double-quotes-end.png

T O D D

Think so? Again?

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

If not Todd, or some version of him, rather Troll-Like when you look at the initial post and the "crickets" to all of the replies and questions.

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