First Few Months Trucker Wife - Am I Overreacting?

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Amelia M.'s Comment
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My husband finished his training and got his CDL the last week of September. CREngland trained well, got him on the road immediately (DM actually called to ask him why he refused a job in Saturday - answer, he did finalize paperwork and get approved until Monday) and we knew the pay was pretty awful going in. We would have trained together but it wasn't financially feasible and I needed physical therapy to be able to climb into the trailer unassisted (scoliosis plus wide load).

He's been home once in all that time and largely because he had to go over his DM , despite approval and being willing to wait a few days, because that home time was also including a doctor's appointment for maintenance medication adjustment and a death in the family. It's been 8 weeks since that visit and we're both very much getting the feeling the DM really doesn't see anything wrong with that. Am I over reacting or is it time to start putting out feelers for other companies? If so, how many really allow a spouse to ride along and how quickly? JB Hunt says immediately, but... Well, recruiters.

We don't have children and we've been together in a truck for days and even weeks before when he drove a box truck for a small company years ago. We loved it! I enjoy navigation, route planning, scheduling and paperwork and he's an exceptional driver with stellar night vision. We'd like some time together with him solo driving for a few months before I go to schooling (I'm less confident and want some familiarity before jumping in) especially after so much fighting to see each other even for a few days out of three months. Any advice is welcome!

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.
Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
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When you say finished "training" do you mean schooling? or did he get his own truck and go solo. I ask because at prime the schooling takes a few weeks and the actual "training" is months long.

My boyfriend came to Prime in May and has been home only twice since. he is going home soon... like this week. I say this because home time is often up to the trainer if he is still on a truck and i do know CRE has 2 phases. My guy didnt go solo until the end of October then went home for.thanksgiving. After this home time, it would get a lot.more regular, but we have decided to.team starting next month.. so he will go.home Feb, then get on my truck.

It is possible he just needs to push through the initial breaking in period but wil soon be getting home on a schedule.

A "death in the family" which is an immediate family member is one thing... but a cousin, aunt etc may not be a priority for a trucking company. Medication management is a whole different animal and he can't be denied treatment.

It is possible another company would put him through some sort of additional training, delaying the regular home time cycles.. and he would owe CRE thousands of dollars. So leaving isnt a good answer.

You mentioned the poor pay... is it possible he is trying to stay out to earn more rather than go home and not get paid? Especially around the holidays?

When i went through Prime training in Sept, i went home in Nov due to my mothers heart surgery, then Christmas. I didnt go home again until Mar 1st. After that i was home regularly and when i requested.

so what you are daying is not so unusual for a newbie.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

Amelia M.'s Comment
member avatar

No he finished his phase two. He's a company driver so not with his own truck, though he's been driving teams since CRE requires that for awhile. Currently his partner is on home time. No, he's not currently trying to stay out for more - the per mileage with CRE during your first year is very low but we knew that going in. He's been pushing for home time but they've got him in a fleet that services the mid-west and west while we're in the southeast which, unfortunately, is proving to be almost entirely regional driving.

We know he'd owe for the schooling, but that is significantly less important to us than being together. We've been married soon-to-be 13 years and together for 17. Repaying the loan for the schooling is fine. We can't have children and have no property to worry about (I'm actually staying with my mother which is part of the problem). All we've got is the cat up there and a car. I'll be doing my schooling work a technical college that's had a program for over a decade and it'll be covered by a grant - just waiting for the next program start. I'd have gone through CRE myself but after these experiences, I don't actually trust them to put us together as a team if it's at all inconvenient for them.

A very large part, I suppose, is wondering if I'll get through this rough phase, then. The separation is bad enough but my mother is the last person I should be around for a year. I have severe chronic depression and PTSD partially genetic and managed well with medication (depression) and partially situational largely from being the only child of a rapid cycling bi-polar parent. Generally I have very few issues despite the severity of my illness but my mom, much as I love her, is a direct trigger so I'll be living the entire time we're together on pins and needles keeping a lid on a very over reactive flight response - not exactly a good setting to add more stress to.

I guess my best option is to finish getting my CDL as soon as possible and see about getting set up as a team for the remainder of his time with CRE?

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.

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.

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

OMG i know exactly what you mean about the mom!

Check with CRE about your meds. Just because DOT accepts a med doesnt mean the company will.

i would imagine depression meds may be a problem... certain ones are banned at prime.

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.

Amelia M.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks! All good. I keep my stress as low as I possibly can and have rather good coping skills so my medication is very mild and was already accepted by CRE. I have no intention of training or driving with them myself, though. Honestly if they'd been up front about things at any point rather than giving us a run around, that would be different but I have 0 trust in the company now. Also, fortunately, both of my issues are easily managed with trigger avoidance and management (normally easy, anyway, haha). My doctor has already signed off and I have my provisional med card - the only reason it's provisional is because I have to do a sleep apnea study from being overweight which is another thing I've been working on. Logistically, I'm good to start a training program once I can afford the study and could go get a CDL permit tomorrow. I'm personally not comfortable doing so, yet. I am no where near as good a driver as my husband and terrified of spending time in close living quarters with a stranger. Honestly if I could ride with him as a solo driver and myself as a passenger forever, I'd be happy doing that but it doesn't really seem feasible.

If we can't find a company that allows an adult passenger soon, I'll just have to try going into training without the time, but I'm hoping we can avoid it. Too many stressors at one time for me is rather like a diabetic overdosing in insulin and I'm already spread a little thin.

OMG i know exactly what you mean about the mom!

Check with CRE about your meds. Just because DOT accepts a med doesnt mean the company will.

i would imagine depression meds may be a problem... certain ones are banned at prime.

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.

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.

Sleep Apnea:

A physical disorder in which you have pauses in your breathing, or take shallow breaths, during sleep. These pauses can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. Normal breathing will usually resume, sometimes with a loud choking sound or snort.

In obstructive sleep apnea, your airways become blocked or collapse during sleep, causing the pauses and shallow breathing.

It is a chronic condition that will require ongoing management. It affects about 18 million people in the U.S.

James J.'s Comment
member avatar

Just wondering if it might disqualify you from riding as a passenger if you get your permit.Thought i read something about passengers cant have licence for most companies .Not sure if the same goes for permit.I recall reading a post from a drivers wife who hopped into driver's seat and drove when he had a "medical emergency".I thought she got pulled over and got a ticket and he got fired.My point is maybe check before getting permit.Good luck

Amelia M.'s Comment
member avatar

Oh, thank you! I hadn't even thought of that so definitely something to ask about. I do know you can't drive a company truck without being a company driver whether you have a permit or not, regardless of emergencies but I will definitely make sure it wouldn't disqualify me as a passenger before getting a permit!

Just wondering if it might disqualify you from riding as a passenger if you get your permit.Thought i read something about passengers cant have licence for most companies .Not sure if the same goes for permit.I recall reading a post from a drivers wife who hopped into driver's seat and drove when he had a "medical emergency".I thought she got pulled over and got a ticket and he got fired.My point is maybe check before getting permit.Good luck

Viking's Comment
member avatar

Your husband should be looking for dedicated solo opportunities on the cre career path on his toolbox app. They open anywhere from 3 - 6 months experience usually and you can actually get on the wait list while waiting for your trainer.

Dedicated usually pays much better then OTR with England

Dedicated has more home time options.

Dedicated usually in my personal experience has better DMs.

Dedicated has Solo positions, which is the only way you can ride with him.

Source: Been with CRE for Two years. Been on a dedicated account for 1 year 8 months.

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.

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.
Amelia M.'s Comment
member avatar

He's been on the wait list for several solo positions since he was with his trainer. It's beyond aggravating to have so little information about his chances of actually being moved into one and when. "We'll see" is just not a response we can plan decisions around which is the major problem I've been having with CRE on several fronts. I am glad to know home time that rarely in the first year is relatively normal, that actually helps a lot.

Unfortunately, even frequent home time wouldn't solve our difficulties. Essentially we're stuck at a point where I can't live where I have been much longer but the only alternative we could afford would be my living out of my car or an extended in patient stay which would negate my doctor's verification of stability. Right now I think I'm stuck holding on and hoping JB Hunt really does allow passengers as immediately as their recruiters say they do. At that point this truly becomes a dream job (he really, really, really loves driving and I really, really love maps and navigation and time management and planning, bit terrified of the driving but I can learn).

In any case this forum and all these responses are immeasurably helpful. Like few others, I think you guys can appreciate how incredibly helpful and, honestly, life saving just not feeling alone with a stressful situation can be. Thank you!

Your husband should be looking for dedicated solo opportunities on the cre career path on his toolbox app. They open anywhere from 3 - 6 months experience usually and you can actually get on the wait list while waiting for your trainer.

Dedicated usually pays much better then OTR with England

Dedicated has more home time options.

Dedicated usually in my personal experience has better DMs.

Dedicated has Solo positions, which is the only way you can ride with him.

Source: Been with CRE for Two years. Been on a dedicated account for 1 year 8 months.

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.

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.
IDMtnGal 's Comment
member avatar

Amelia, when I hear from my brother, I will let you know. While he left JB a year ago, he is still in touch with a friend who is driving for them out of Chicago. Laura

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