Dean Of Mack's CDL Training Diary

Topic 27354 | Page 1

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Dean R.'s Comment
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One week from today, January 13th 2020, I start training for my second career. I'll be attending a Professional Truck Driver Institute certified course at John Wood Community College in Quincy, Illinois. The course is 8-weeks long. First week is orientation and physicals, testing, etc. Weeks 2 thru 5 are two class days and two driving days per week. Weeks 6 thru 8 are driving four days a week. Classes run Monday thru Thursday. I served six years in the USMC, went to college for six years, and spent 21 years in IT at the same college I graduated from. I bought my military time thru a state retirement system and retired at 55. Time to move on to something different. I thought about staying retired, but decided to work after my son expressed a desire to attend Stanford for college. :-). Companies near me are Sharkey, Dot Transportation (I had a falling-out with their contract nurse so I won't be going there). That's another forum post - Veterans dealing with DOT physicals. Looking forward to the conversations!

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.

Dean R.'s Comment
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Quick update: My DOT Physical is complete. I have a two-year card. I brought a copy of my CPAP report with me as well as some docs form the VA hospital. I take a couple of meds - one for cholesterol and another. I also have my CLP "A." I already had a CLP "B" since I considered driving transit. I just had to take the combination vehicle and tanker exams. passed both easily.

Combination Vehicle:

A vehicle with two separate parts - the power unit (tractor) and the trailer. Tractor-trailers are considered combination vehicles.

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.

CPAP:

Constant Positive Airway Pressure

CPAP is a breathing assist device which is worn over the mouth or nose. It provides nighttime relief for individuals who suffer from Sleep Apnea.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

CLP:

Commercial Learner's Permit

Before getting their CDL, commercial drivers will receive their commercial learner's permit (CLP) upon passing the written portion of the CDL exam. They will not have to retake the written exam to get their CDL.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi, Dean, welcome to Trucking Truth. Looks like you have your entry to trucking planned out. Did you know some big companies offer special deals for vets? Look here: Military Veterans Into Trucking - The Complete Guide

I signed on to Swift. They gave me the training (6 weeks full time) and after a year commitment the whole deal was free. I realize some people can't go six weeks without a paycheck (my wife + savings + sometime relatives got me through) but you be in the road much faster going through Paid CDL Training Programs

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.
Errol V.'s Comment
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sometime relatives

Actually these relatives are permanent. And they were thankfully generous.

rofl-3.gif

Rob T.'s Comment
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Thank you for your service, I look forward to following along in your journey. Many of us will be reading but wont respond so dont think you're wasting your time. I see you mentioned companies near you, I just wanted to make sure you know that company location doesnt matter for an OTR driver (best way to get started). Was your goal to start as a local home every night driver?

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Dean R.'s Comment
member avatar

Was your goal to start as a local home every night driver?

Home every night isn't a goal. That would be near impossible. Sharkey offers home at least part of the weekend. Dot Foods has an attractive 4-on 4-off schedule, along with a 6-3. A good friend of mine works for Don Hummer, who has an excellent record of getting you home after 5 days and whenever you need to be home. At one time I considered Prime, but my family is unwilling to let me go for a month or more at a time. Sharkey, Dot, and Hummer are all within a couple hours of my home. Sharkey and Hummer allow you to park at home.

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.

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

Another thing to consider is that while being home may be great, most local or regional routes don't pay as well as OTR. Lots of time off and great pay are a myth for most drivers, especially those just getting started.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Another thing to consider is that while being home may be great, most local or regional routes don't pay as well as OTR. Lots of time off and great pay are a myth for most drivers, especially those just getting started.

Thanks. I retired early from a state university system. If you know the State of Illinois' finances you can figure out why I retired early. My full pension isn't available to me until I'm 59.5 years old, so I want to make some income and continue to add to my retirement savings. I guess you could say that high dollars aren't a priority. besides, a second career sounds interesting. I have family member who drive. Thanks for the comment.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

State of Ill is the only state where you cannot directly transfer a CDL. Meaning that if you get qualified in another state, once you return, you have to do their state tests all over again.

If this has changed, someone will correct me on this.

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.
Dean R.'s Comment
member avatar

State of Ill is the only state where you cannot directly transfer a CDL. Meaning that if you get qualified in another state, once you return, you have to do their state tests all over again.

If this has changed, someone will correct me on this.

Still true. If I get an IL CDL and move to Texas, I can transfer my IL CDL to Texas. If for some bizarre and strange reason I move back to IL, I have to take all the tests (written, skills, and driving) all over 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.
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