PLEASE HELP!! New To Trucking, Need Advice!

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Tanner B.'s Comment
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Hello all, I love this site and have used everybody's posts for tons of research so i want to say thanks first and foremost. First time poster, so I apologize if this is a lot but I am super anxious and need any and all help possible please and thanks!

Ok, so!!

I enrolled into Commercial Driver School in Olympia, WA to get my class A license a couple weeks ago. Just started week 2 today, and got my permit last Friday while passing my air brakes, general knowledge, and combination tests relatively easily however only passed the tanker endorsement test. Probably not necessary to know but still kinda cool and proud of my accomplishment.

However, today I spoke with a couple of recruiters from companies like Schneider and Fastenal and was almost crushed when listening to their schpiel. Maybe naive or oblivious or just all too anxious and excited about starting this new career that I didnt even think about the possibility of disqualifications or automatic non hirable offenses.

But what they said really stuck out to me and completely devastated my entire mood. They said if you've EVER failed a drug test for any reason in your lifetime that NO company would hire you to drive for them. Period.

This is where I need the help from and please be as honest as possible and any help is tremendously appreciated as I am quite literally freaking the freak out right now. I recently separated from the Navy (28 days ago today) with an under honorable conditions (general) discharge.... however line 28 narrative reason for separation says misconduct- drug abuse.

Yes, I know... I am scum of the earth and disrespected my fellow brothers and sisters and completely let down my friends, family, and myself for a stupid decision that may have literally ruined my life more than I ever could have imagined.

I consumed 2 weed brownies about a year ago and low and behold the next day was randomly drug tested just like everybody else at my command. I was one of 4 sailors to pop for marijuana. I soon after voluntarily went to rehab for 45 days and have been sober for 344 days now.

I fought hard to try and stay in the Navy, but was unable to be retained. Was advanced to E4 literally 2 weeks prior to this whole situation after only being in for 6 months. I was able to receive an general under honorable conditions because of my exemplary service record to that point and even after the failed drug test, however was only in the service for 18 months.

So, my question, albeit long and scattered and drawn out... is am I ever going to be able to obtain a truck driving job??

I want to do OTR and just drive the country, dont have any idea of what companies I'd like to drive for or what kind of haul I'd like to transport, just know I'd prefer to be out for weeks to months at a time and just drive safely as possible and explore the vast roads of our country.

I'm only 28 years old and have had about 4 speeding tickets, all when I was 16. No other incidents, accidents, or the like. Never had any issues with drugs and alcohol, except of course for my huge mistake in the Navy.

I have been told I shouldn't disclose that I was even in the military, but that doesn't make practical sense as its 18 months of my life and would leave a huge gap for employment verification. As well as would likely show up on any background check I am assuming. But I honestly dont know what companies look for or how the process works.

Like I said, this is my first experience in the trucking world. I paid 4935$ for this class that I am in and very focused about obtaining my class A CDL and being a committed safe driver.

I also now havent been able to stop freaking out about the likely possibility that I just wasted all that money and ruined any chance at being hired by any company if they were in fact to check my dd214.

I obviously could pass a drug test right this second, and would be willing to take one daily for my entire career if need be. But Schneider and Fastenal are very reputable companies and they both said, at separate recruiting pitches, that ANY failed drug test EVER was an automatic disqualifier to be hired by ANY company.

Please, for the love of god, somebody help me out. Am I completely ruined?? Did I waste all that money just to be shunned from another great opportunity in life? I was so excited to drive trucks and do OTR. Now I am a wreck.

I am afraid to ask my instructors at my school in the chance they kick me out of class without any refund. I figured I would at least finish the course and pass my test to acquire my A license no matter what. Finish what you start plus even if there's a millionth of a tenth percent chance I could actually get a job I am holding out for that opportunity.

Sorry for the absurdly long post, I am very nervous and incredibly distraught about this whole endeavor. Any and all help would be appreciated more than you know. Please, I'm begging for somebody wiser and more experienced to be able to give me some sort of answer. Anything and everything possible!

Thank you so much for your time.

Sincerely, Scared ****less

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.

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

PackRat's Comment
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A failed drug test in the USN is an OTH discharge, when I was there. If it was changed to an Honorable, Other that's a real shame. Anyway....

How long ago were you discharged? It's not impossible to get hired, but many companies are going to require you to successfully complete a SAP program prior to looking at you. Poor choices are something that will hamstring you before you ever start.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

Big Scott (CFI's biggest 's Comment
member avatar

This is one of the reasons we always stress going through Paid CDL Training Programs. Don't spend thousands of dollars on a gamble. Companies that train you, will not take you if there is no chance they will hire you. Good luck.

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.
Brett Aquila's Comment
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Tanner, welcome.

Listen, there's no reason to beat yourself up over what happened or panic because you may have trouble finding a trucking job. Keep in mind that your entire life does not ride on whether you land a trucking job. The world is full of opportunities. You could always start a business. No one will ever know or care about your failed drug test. So don't panic. You're young, the world is full of opportunities, and you'll find plenty in the coming years.

As far as trucking, I honestly don't know how it will go. One thing I want to emphasize is to always be honest on job applications but never disclose anything they didn't specifically ask for.

ANY failed drug test EVER was an automatic disqualifier to be hired by ANY company.

No, that's not true. There are companies that will accept drivers that have failed a drug test, but most companies require it to be several years in the past. So that's going to be a problem you'll face.

I have been told I shouldn't disclose that I was even in the military

Always be honest on your applications. Trucking companies do very thorough background checks.

All you can do is apply like crazy to every company you can think of and hope someone will give you a shot. Make sure you try Western Express. They will often give opportunities to drivers having a problem finding work.

I really don't know if you'll find an opportunity in trucking right now, but you may. Go after it hard and try to make it happen. But don't panic. You'll be fine. There are opportunities everywhere. Trucking is far from being your only hope.

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
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Hi. We had one member here who failed a drug test before going to Prime. When Prime found it, they told her to reapply at the one year point of the drug test. HOWEVER, when they re-read her application, they saw she lied and checked that she never failed a drug test. THAT banned her from Prime permanently.

PAM and CR England were the only two companies that would take her after that. She went to PAM. After a few mos there, she went to Roehl. She posted videos all over Facebook and Youtube so i know it is true. Then she stopped posting....that usually means termination.

My point is....some company may take you, but you need to apply everywhere. You may have to go to a lower paying "second chance" company first.

good luck Apply For Truck Driving Jobs

Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar
This is where I need the help from and please be as honest as possible and any help is tremendously appreciated as I am quite literally freaking the freak out right now. I recently separated from the Navy (28 days ago today) with an under honorable conditions (general) discharge.... however line 28 narrative reason for separation says misconduct- drug abuse.

First off - you don't have to show them the line 28 narrative (the little tear off portion on the bottom of the DD-214). You will likely have to explain why you only have 18 months of service.

I got out under a "general under honorable conditions" - in 1983 - after 4 years of service. My line 28 said: "for frequent contact of a disreputable nature with civilian/military authorities: drug/alcohol abuse". I was a pothead back in the day - and wasn't interested in quitting - BIGGEST MISTAKE OF MY LIFE. I could have been a FAT RETIRED MASTER CHIEF at 45, and I REALLY LOVED the work (ET) and being on ship and at sea (being stoned helped though). I went from E-5, to E3 real quick.

I would also look into getting the general UPGRADED TO AN HONORABLE. There are veterans groups that can assist with that.

Yes, I know... I am scum of the earth and disrespected my fellow brothers and sisters and completely let down my friends, family, and myself for a stupid decision that may have literally ruined my life more than I ever could have imagined.

No - you're not scum of the earth. DUMB - sure - knowing you could be tested at ANY TIME - and consuming a substance that could pop for upwards of 60 days. And I was in BEFORE DRUG TESTS - they had to catch you WITH THE GOODS (and they NEVER DID - a weed pipe once, but the knew I was stoned all the time - and the MAA drove himself NUTS trying to catch me - it was TONS OF FUN).

At any rate - what companies are concerned about - is FAILING TESTS WHEN IN A SAFETY SENSITIVE POSITION - that is DOT TESTS.

As others have mentioned - kinda dumb going private school and paying $$'s - without knowing if you're even going to get a hire.

BUT - get a COPY of your DD-214. The COPY doesn't have the tear-off portion of the bottom with the "reason for separation on it" - or at least MINE DIDN'T (the form may have changed in the 27 years since mine was issued).

So it's a COIN TOSS - if any trucking company is actually going to find out WHY you were separated.

Now - we don't advise people to LIE on applications. But if the app says: "have you ever failed a DOT Drug Test" - then you NEVER HAVE. Get the drift?

Also - VOLUNTARY REHAB in the military - is called SAP. Or in the Navy NASAP (Navy Alcohol Substance Abuse Program) - so YOU DID COMPLETE A SAP. FIND THE PAPERWORK FOR IT!!!

Best of luck to you - thank you for your service - DESPITE YOUR STUPIDITY.

And PLEASE LET US KNOW HOW THINGS WORK OUT FOR YOU!

Rick

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

What is this "tear off portion" you keep talking about, Rick?

Rob D.'s Comment
member avatar

My DD214 from the late 80's doesn't have tear off form, per se. See below.

0108066001574180246.jpg

However, the boxes 23 to 30 on bottom of the first page of the carbon form are blacked out.

When, I took that to the DMV to get my veteran endorsement, she handed it back and said "show me where is says honorable." After not being able to find it, I showed her the pdf copy of the second page on my phone.

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.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

My DD214 from the USN in 2012 doesn't seem to have one, either. Not much I agree with in your post, Rick.

PJ's Comment
member avatar

I just checked mine from 1985 and it is like what Rob posted. Never heard of a tear off portion either.

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