Dean Of Mack's CDL Training Diary

Topic 27354 | Page 4

Page 4 of 5 Previous Page Next Page Go To Page:
Dean R.'s Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

You mentioned your schools PTI is more comprehensive than the state test. Can you be more specific?

double-quotes-end.png

I can't speak for Deans experience but the study guide I was given at school was much more detailed with the wording than the state exam required. I was even told this by the examiner while we were doing my road test. At that particular DMV they refer to the students from that school as Rays' Robots because instructor is named Ray and he has a pass rate for trifecta of roughly 90%. Of course most of that is due to a students willingness and ability to learn and listen. I wish I'd kept the paper the study guide we were given.

I would have the same experience as Rob T. We do bumper-to-bumper PTI's. Cover it all. Properly mounted and secured. No abrasions, bulges, or cuts. Not cracked, bent or broken. No dry rot. All mounting hardware in place - no missing bolts, etc. No leaks. Wipers have adequate pressure against the windshield. And on and on... Much more than required by the state test. I live in Illinois which is notorious for failing CDL testees. I heard that only 16% in my state pass the first time. Maybe it was 26%? My school also has a trifecta rate of 90%+. They won't let us use a truck for testing until we pass their test.

I thought about one of the 160 hour schools but went for the 320 hour course. We'll get more than 160 hours behind the wheel. The regional carriers in the area, eight of them, hire almost all of the grads.

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.

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.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Okay.

My test in PA (almost 7 years ago) covered bumper to bumper and expected the same level of detail you expressed. Took over 45 minutes to recite chapter and verse of the PTI.

If you know the material and the correct/complete wording, no matter what state your are testing in, you will pass.

Not questioning your decision to go with this school. 160 hours of formal schooling is the minimum requirement for any reputable carrier and their insurance company for hiring entry level drivers.

Good luck!

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

Dean R.'s Comment
member avatar

Week #2 in the books! Lots of driving and learning FMCSA regs this week. We started out with 10 students and now we are at 6. Since Illinois is new to legal weed usage, one student decided to partake in the magical smoke two weeks before class started. Guess who didn't pass the urinalysis?? One never showed up, two disappeared after week one not to be heard from again. We now have four instructors and 6 students. Lots of time behind the wheel the last five weeks. We could get 200 hours behind the wheel.

Recruiters from the regional carriers start coming in next week. The director said there are more positions open than he has students. I'll take those odds. We have Dot Foods Transportation, Sharkey, Gully, Sisbro, Thompson Inc. (flatbed for Knapheide and many others), and a few more. A few select mega carriers will be coming in also (Schneider for sure). I ranked my carrier preference with the director and he agreed with my choices. Unless I really screw-up royally I should get my choice. And no, I won't list them here. They may be watching...

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.

CSA:

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle

FMCSA:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The FMCSA was established within the Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000. Their primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.

What Does The FMCSA Do?

  • Commercial Drivers' Licenses
  • Data and Analysis
  • Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement
  • Research and Technology
  • Safety Assistance
  • Support and Information Sharing

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.

Fm:

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

I guarantee you the mega carriers are reading this site every day. No need to worry for those that have nothing to hide.

Great update for your second week that I really enjoy following. Drop one more student there, and you'll get the coveted One-On-One ratio.

good-luck.gif

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Dean R.'s Comment
member avatar

Week #3 of 8 finished! Almost halfway there. Lots of backing drills. Road time was a little limited due to road conditions but we got some miles in. Two more weeks of classroom twice a week and then we drive all week thru week eight. We should get 200 hours behind the wheel. We are lucky our class size is small.

The job prospects are looking good. My driving instructor is retired from the road but still dispatches for a carrier. Next week the regional carriers come in and we'll start filling out applications. Schneider and a few other megas will be coming in later.

I'm starting to get clutch knee. I've been using Icy Hot and elevating when I can. For me it's Veterans Knees. After being a grunt and road marching with a M60 other veterans will understand.

When the lead instructor told us that a previous class took trips to Washington State and Texas we got excited.

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.

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.

Dean R.'s Comment
member avatar

Week #4 finished! Four weeks to go. I'll test for my CDL in 3 weeks and have the last week of class for a retake (if needed) and get some more time behind the wheel.

I finally got the double-clutch downshift figured out. It took awhile for the old brain and legs to coordinate. I've really enjoyed driving the highways and using the county roads as a place to practice shifting. We were snowed-out yesterday. The weather got bad quick so the instructor drove us home. The off-ramps were in really bad shape.

Three regionals have given us their sales pitch so far: Sharkey, Thompson, Inc., and a Allied Van Lines affiliate. Soon we will hear from Schneider National, Maverick, Dot Foods Transportation, Gully, and JB Hunt. Still more regional carriers will be appearing soon.

Today I did the background check and fingerprints for HazMat and did the same for the TWIC card.

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

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.

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.

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.

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

Halfway there, Dean! Outstanding!

Papa Pig's Comment
member avatar

Sounds like you are having a blast Dean. My knee was feeling the clutch on my last day when we did our “backing rodeo” Keep up the good work!

Dean R.'s Comment
member avatar

Week #5 of 8 complete! Almost there...

Short week this week. We usually end our week on Thursdays but Mother Nature had other plans. Currently it's a whopping 4 outside with an expected low of -5. Ice and blowing snow contributed to our early shutdown. It was my day to bring the donuts ("do-nots") so I took the donuts to the police station.

Lots of city driving this week. They took us to downtown Quincy IL to make sharp right turns on narrow streets as a confidence booster. That was fun. Not sure if some of the four wheelers enjoyed our fun. We also drove a section of the DMV course. Lots of tight right turns, uphill starts, and track crossings.

No major hiccups this week other than getting confused with offset backing. I had it down when driving with an instructor but lost it after breaking for lunch. I got better after some of the cones behind me were removed. Nothing like a sea of orange cones in your convex mirror! I couldn't tell which ones were mine.

I should take my first stab at the license test the Monday after next.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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.

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

Sounds like things are going great! I was down by you this morning, those roads sucked! It was terrible until I got into Macomb, then trash again until I got up by the quad cities for my backhaul.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Page 4 of 5 Previous Page Next Page Go To Page:

New Reply:

New! Check out our help videos for a better understanding of our forum features

Bold
Italic
Underline
Quote
Photo
Link
Smiley
Links On TruckingTruth


example: TruckingTruth Homepage



example: https://www.truckingtruth.com
Submit
Cancel
Upload New Photo
Please enter a caption of one sentence or less:

Click on any of the buttons below to insert a link to that section of TruckingTruth:

Getting Started In Trucking High Road Training Program Company-Sponsored Training Programs Apply For Company-Sponsored Training Truck Driver's Career Guide Choosing A School Choosing A Company Truck Driving Schools Truck Driving Jobs Apply For Truck Driving Jobs DOT Physical Drug Testing Items To Pack Pre-Hire Letters CDL Practice Tests Trucking Company Reviews Brett's Book Leasing A Truck Pre-Trip Inspection Learn The Logbook Rules Sleep Apnea
Done
Done

0 characters so far - 5,500 maximum allowed.
Submit Preview

Preview:

Submit
Cancel

Join Us!

We have an awesome set of tools that will help you understand the trucking industry and prepare for a great start to your trucking career. Not only that, but everything we offer here at TruckingTruth is 100% free - no strings attached! Sign up now and get instant access to our member's section:
High Road Training Program Logo
  • The High Road Training Program
  • The High Road Article Series
  • The Friendliest Trucker's Forum Ever!
  • Email Updates When New Articles Are Posted

Apply For Paid CDL Training Through TruckingTruth

Did you know you can fill out one quick form here on TruckingTruth and apply to several companies at once for paid CDL training? Seriously! The application only takes one minute. You will speak with recruiters today. There is no obligation whatsoever. Learn more and apply here:

Apply For Paid CDL Training

About Us

TruckingTruth was founded by Brett Aquila (that's me!), a 15 year truck driving veteran, in January 2007. After 15 years on the road I wanted to help people understand the trucking industry and everything that came with the career and lifestyle of an over the road trucker. We'll help you make the right choices and prepare for a great start to your trucking career.

Read More

Becoming A Truck Driver

Becoming A Truck Driver is a dream we've all pondered at some point in our lives. We've all wondered if the adventure and challenges of life on the open road would suit us better than the ordinary day to day lives we've always known. At TruckingTruth we'll help you decide if trucking is right for you and help you get your career off to a great start.

Learn More