My Truck Driving Mentors

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RedGator's Comment
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I was sitting back thinking the other day on how fast these last 16 months solo have went. Truth be told I didnt think Id make it out of school and here I am a real truck driver! One things for certain I dont think I would have made it out here without 2 folks. A man named Shep who had been driving for 5 years but had an old school trucker mentality and Starcar. Shep helped me with trip planning (my company doesnt have gps or routes) the driver does it all. What truck stop to stay at, best routes. He was there anyday and time that I needed advise or someone to listen. And Star taught me as a lady not toget caught up out here. How to handle myself. After taking the journey as a mentor with Special K I realized how important it was for myself and her and everybody to have a mentor. I wouldnt have made it out here without one. Now ai know this board is here to act as a piece of the mentor part but maybe anyone willing to mentor or who would like to be mentored can post here. Everyone needs that one person. I also wouldn't have made it through without the stories I read on here. And the encouragement I received from so many. Im not nearly as active now as I used to mainly because I hate typing on my phone. I need a laptop! But Im a lurker;-) And around all the time.

Tracey K.'s Comment
member avatar
Best Answer!

OK. I have been watching with delight at all the responses, so let me chime in with my few words.

Brett, we talked about "Knights Of The Road" a while back and think that would be a great name for the mentor program. But, I think we have all missed out that we are already mentors and of those that are on here more than myself, have been doing an excellent job at being mentors. To mentor is to; teach, give advice to those who are less experienced and or younger. (Daniel is one hell of a mentor at his young age) And that is what all of your have been doing. The Moderators are already mentors. I know that what you are looking for is something more, but you can't get any more that what you are giving. You just want to do it in a different way.

Well, that's where some of your moderators graduate to becoming mentors and move to another forum. One that is by membership/password only. The question will be more serious and life changing to some degree. Brett you would have to create another forum. And then look at selecting some new moderators. Its a step process. To be a mentor you would have to prove yourself worthy of being a mentor. For to be a mentor is a great honor and huge responsibility. These are other truck drivers lives your are shaping. We have some GREAT people here who will make wonderful mentors. Everyone of your moderators now are what you are looking for. As time goes by more moderators will become mentors and that will solve the problem of ratio.

You will also have to be selected as a new driver to be in the mentor program. This does not in any way suggest that some of the new drivers are not honorable people. Don't twist what I am saying. Everything we do in life is a process. We evolve into what we are or do. That is what this needs to be to be successful. The general forum would still be there for the new moderators to moderate and mentors would be coming in as an even higher source of involvement. Just as you have done with GuyJax. Their is a reason he has the level of moderatorship that he has.

Mentors and Mentee's can exchange phone numbers and emails if they wish. The forum would be a place for them to go though so that others can see what each other is dealing with. Yes, their are some private words and times in peoples lives, but not everything. Openness is a path to learning. Subjects that take place in the Mentor forum could be posted as articles with the permission of those involved.

I know I need to go further with this concept and idea, but I am late for work now. I had to put something down because I have been thinking so much about it.

I just wanted you guys to know that you were already great Mentors and I am honored to be a part of this Website.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Ya know, I've been following this thread with great interest and thinking about some ideas.

Redgator, you're totally right of course - it would be great to have people you could count on for honest advice and encouragement, especially those first 6 months or so running solo. And once in a while you get stuck in a spot where you just need a quick answer to one or two questions because you're not sure what to do but you don't have 6 hours to wait on someone to answer you. You need a quick phone call or email to get through the situation you're in.

Having some sort of mentoring setup where we could get answers to people quickly would be pretty cool. Getting a quick response to an email would do the trick sometimes, and other times a short phone conversation would be perfect.

There's only one problem. Last year TruckingTruth had 1.78 million visits from 1.08 million unique visitors. We "feel" like a small website because there are only two or three dozen of us in the forum talking on any given day. But there is a huge audience of lurkers out there reading along with us. So the workload could become overwhelming.

One idea I have would work well with email. I could gather a list of volunteers that would be added to our list of mentors. I would approve the people that get put on that list so that we know they have proven themselves to be valuable advisers that see things "The TruckingTruth Way" I guess you could say. Then, when someone has an urgent or private question they would like feedback on they could send the request and all of the mentors on the list would instantly receive an email with the subject "Mentorship Request" or something to that affect so we all know what it is and that it's urgent. Then, whoever happens to have the first opportunity to answer can do so. There's bound to be someone sitting at their computer at the time that can throw out a quick answer. And if the person would like a phone call they could leave their number in the request and someone can call them if they have the opportunity.

That's the best idea I have so far. Basically, an "emergency email" kinda thing that which can include phone call requests.

I'd love to hear more ideas on it. And if anyone would like to keep those ideas private just send me a private message.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

Personally, most of the time I don't have Internet and I'm usually driving. It you email me, you'll never get a quick response. So if I was to help anyone I would strictly prefer communication via phone call only. And I definitely won't stop just to answer an email. I generally type a lot and that's never quick. And my schedule is always too tight to be stopping unnecessarily. Also, if someone needs a quick answer and an email was sent then they'll be spammed by all the mentors. We won't know that it got answered so next thing you know the driver has a long list of emails from a bunch of different mentors. So if we do that I think we must also send out a "urgent question was answered" email.

What I was thinking:

We have a page of a list of mentors. Only approved drivers with "enough" experience so that we know their information will be legit.

The person needing a mentor will simply pick one and it'll send an email to that driver. We could add some information about the mentor so that the person can have some background information on him/her.

Example:

TruckingTruth Mentors

Driver A (Driver A is an experienced driver with 8 years of OTR experience. He boasts an accident free record! He has worked for Company X, Y and then worked at company Z for 5 years. He is an experienced flatbed driver.) *must click on Driver to see his bio come up*

Driver B (Driver B is a driver with 9 months of experience. He specializes in assisting students with their CDL school. It hasn't been long since he was in school so he's definitely still knowledgeable about the schooling experience. He has strictly pulled a reefer."

Driver C (Driver C is a veteran with 23 years of experience. She has been through it all and is one of our most experienced drivers. He has pulled a reefer and is currently pulling a tanker for the past 18 years."

Driver D (Driver D is a female driver with 4 years of experience. Her experience is primarily with flatbedding and she knows what she's talking about! She has worked for a tanker company for a year also!)

Driver E (Driver E is one of our most active posters and has a long and successful track records of helping folks start their career. He is very knowledgeable about DOT physicals and all kinds of Grants!)

Obviously I didn't use name. Just an example.

The student would then decide which one he wants.

For example, if the student is a female interested she will choose Driver D. That way we match the student with the best possible instructor. If the student clicks on the drivers name it will show a bio and a link to email the mentor. The mentor will get back to the student and give them their phone number. And the mentorship will begin until the student feels he no longer needs the instructing.

So in a way. It's kind of like an NFL Draft.

What does everyone think?

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.

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

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.

Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

We all have our strengths and weaknesses.

For example, I know that Starcar is much more educated than me on the subject of prescription drugs and blood pressure and all that good stuff. So if a student needs someone very involved in that subject than they could seek out Starcar.

If someone is just starting their year with Central Ref. then they would seek me out because I worked their for a while.

Someone starting with Prime? Ernie is much more educated than me on Prime.

Female wanting a female mentor? Starcar or Redgator would do.

Going to be teaming up and running hard? Guyjax is doing that right now he would be an excellent mentor for a student going into that.

Need guidance with Swift? Logan can help!

Pulling flatbed? Starcar, Ernie, and a few others.

Pulling tanker? ThinksTooMuch is the guy for that!

Pulling reefer? You have a long list to choose from.

Want an ignorant, self-righteous, 22 year old in a Pink truck? Look me up.

You see? We all are different in some aspects than others. So whatever a student needs, there's a mentor that fits his agenda. We won't be having mentors answering questions about subjects they know nothing about. That's why I think my "draft" idea is a good idea.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

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.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!
You see? We all are different in some aspects than others. So whatever a student needs, there's a mentor that fits his agenda. We won't be having mentors answering questions about subjects they know nothing about. That's why I think my "draft" idea is a good idea.

Interestingly enough, that's why I liked my email idea. Because that way a group email gets sent out to each of the volunteer mentors and whoever has the opportunity and the expertise to answer it can do so. And I'm almost certain I can set it up so that we can hit "reply to all" and everyone will see each reply. That way we'll all know everything that everyone has said - a group discussion.

And of course if the person requesting a mentor would accept or prefer a phone call instead of an email we can let them specify that. So as a mentor you might receive an email message that says:

"Hey guys, I can't figure out if I should use the split sleeper berth rule for my current situation or if there's a better way to do it. Could someone help me out with this?"

This driver is ok with a reply email or a phone call to 555-111-2222

So the driver would be able to specify if they prefer a phone call, an email, or both.

I totally understand what you guys are saying about driving all day and not being able to stop in order to send emails so you would prefer phone calls. Makes perfect sense.

I'm in the exact opposite boat. I'm kinda like a dispatcher where I'm always in the middle of things. I'm either writing computer code or doing chores outside or any number of different things so phone calls are something I try to avoid at all costs. I prefer to answer questions by email in case I'm in the middle of something when the question comes in. I also prefer email because I can take the time to think through my response to make sure it covers everything and is said properly.

I'm interested in hearing more opinions on how we can pull this off. Many of the large carriers have something they refer to as "driver liaisons" or some similar name. They're supposed to be mentors and you can call them up anytime you have an issue. The problem is that the liaisons are normally trainers and the complaints are often about things being done by other trainers. So there's not only a conflict of interest, but the student driver is taking a risk by questioning or ratting out a company trainer to another company trainer. That can end badly for the student driver. With us, we're independent. So we can answer questions honestly without any inherent risk on the student driver's part or a conflict of interest on our part.

I mean, mentoring is what TruckingTruth does. It's what we are from top to bottom. But adding a program like this would put us at a whole new level.

Sleeper Berth:

The portion of the tractor behind the seats which acts as the "living space" for the driver. It generally contains a bed (or bunk beds), cabinets, lights, temperature control knobs, and 12 volt plugs for power.

Dispatcher:

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.
Daniel B.'s Comment
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I agree with you. Ernie helped me with my transition to Prime. It always helps to have someone to call when you need the assistance. A 'Mentor' program sounds really fun.

Starcar's Comment
member avatar

Redgator...I think you have come up with a great idea !!!!! I'm kinda like Daniel...I get quite few emails from people who have questions they don't feel comfortable asking on this board...I figure they must have asked something on one of the "other" boards, and got flamed. But it doesn't bother me...I'm glad to email, and answer, or give advice to anyone.... But a Mentor, who is there when you need them can be a saving grace in alot of situations. So I hope some of you current drivers will step up and offer your time, and experience to those new drivers just starting out...Its one more way to help change the face of truckers...

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Ernie is awesome! I emailed with him a few times when I was considering Prime Inc. He gave his personal phone number and offered me help. Things changed for me a bit and I decided to not choose Prime. I really did appreciate Ernie. Then there is PJ who has helped me a lot too. He has answered a lot of questions and been a big help! Everyone here has been awesome for us new guys! Thank you!

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.

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.

Flatwater 's Comment
member avatar

I have yet to run into anyone on TT who has been anything but helpful. A mentor program would be very cool!

guyjax(Guy Hodges)'s Comment
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I have talked to a few people here on the phone including Ernie. As Ernie found out you better have at least 30 minutes to burn cause once I start talking I don't shut up. embarrassed.gif

I have had several people email me or talked to on the phone that might not otherwise asked anything on the forums. I have no problem with that. It's what we are here for.

Daniel B.'s Comment
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I have talked to a few people here on the phone including Ernie. As Ernie found out you better have at least 30 minutes to burn cause once I start talking I don't shut up. embarrassed.gif

I have had several people email me or talked to on the phone that might not otherwise asked anything on the forums. I have no problem with that. It's what we are here for.

Haha it's ok we're truckers! We all talk a lot when we get the chance. I do the same thing!

Wine Taster's Comment
member avatar

I have talked to a few people here on the phone including Ernie. As Ernie found out you better have at least 30 minutes to burn cause once I start talking I don't shut up. embarrassed.gif

I have had several people email me or talked to on the phone that might not otherwise asked anything on the forums. I have no problem with that. It's what we are here for.

Ol gwad..... I can talk a mile a minute!

Tracey K.'s Comment
member avatar

Looks like things are really cooking around here Brett.

Mentor-ship is a great idea. Have to put some good rules and policies in place. But it would work great.

I get emails too and love getting them. Some have been life changing. That's what this is all about. Helping others.

"Knights Of The Road"............It's what you wanted Brett!confused.gif

Steven N. (aka Wilson)'s Comment
member avatar

I know I will need a mentor once I get going. Mentors in the Army were so helpful. Not everyone got a mentor. But the ones that did, they were always the ones that moved up the chain faster than the ones that didn't have one. I will always welcome a mentor.

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