General Trucking Career Questions

Topic 28158 | Page 1

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Phil K.'s Comment
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Hi.. total new guy here.. hope ok ask few questions here... tried to read alot good stuff here... so much.. 1. How do ya get home back home after u doing OTR company driving let's say 14-15 days onjob straight out.. you're due to go home now... . but You and your tractor are down in Phoenix let's say... and home is back Boston ??? So what happens? Like I guess you got maybe 3days off usually for days off home... ?? Do you not get get to go back to "home" in Boston and have suck it up stay in sleeper sit wait parked for 3days in company Terminal pkg lot. ( that would suckk).. or Do you get drive the tractor all way back home ?( don't laugh ... I know ridiculous. . but want to know Truth Facts... How does it work ? ) Even if company is good tried to sched me to drop a load closer back to the northeast .. then do they release you for timeoff and then go back to "Home" for just few days ? Seems like almost impossible thing to ever get back "Home" for the days off, if your hundreds or thousands miles away ( always) driving OTR all over. 2. Where do drivers leave park their personal car when they go initially to start pickup their truck and start trips ?? Can do they park their car longterm at closest company yard or something and then jump into their truck ?? Or just leave it at home ( if lucky have one)... and hitch ride or Uber to company yard ?? thx for helping a new guy... soo many questions.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

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.

Turtle's Comment
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Hi Phil, and welcome to the Forum.

1- Typically, a major carrier will have freight that runs all over the country. Getting you home for time off won't be a problem. You just have to give them plenty of notice, so they have time to find you a load that delivers near home. Once your load is delivered, you can either take the truck home or park at the nearest truck stop.

2- Most of the time you will either fly, bus, or hitch a ride to the terminal initially. Once your orientation/training is over, you'll be assigned a truck. Your personal car will stay at home. In some cases yes you can park your car at a terminal also, if you live near one. But that's rarely the case.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Phil K.'s Comment
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Thanks Turtle for reply... u sound look like been around. I just hope yur right.. I believe you.. but still lots of doubts how it works or will work for me.. First.. I'm not so lucky.. i got no home like 1-2 acre spread to park my bighuge rig on grass next to my private hse ya know. ... like i see O/O drivers do. 1. And I'm sure if I live in some apt complex.. None NO apt place gonna let me park my big tractor rig in the pkg lot for hardly even few hrs let alone couple nites every every month.. even if I have a paid apt there... They all got lots rules.. legal pkg so limited today everywhere. Am i right? 2. Like why even bother pay $800-$1000+ /month for apt if driving OTR big rigs... I would only be " home" for like 3 days maybe twice monthly for most big truck companies ? right? Seems like might as well have no apt place of my own.. just live in the sleeper truck or my own car for couple nites.. then " hittheroad" again. What do u think ? Any ideas suggestions? Any options I might have?

3. So for me kinda think why bother even have apartment or "room' or so-called "home" bc I can't really take park the rig anywhere.. plus I got my personal car i want need to keep.. ya know. I can't drive both at same time. So I got a two vehicle pkg problem right off the bat. You look like successful family trucker got prob nicehouse land so can park yur rig at "home", right? I can't. Only reason for a "home" for me, be for company tax, state inc deduction,fica, and paycheck reasons right? It's sorta like I be homeless or almost living out of nearest company terminal... sad.. and would suckk.

2. With these monster rig tractors can u legally even park on a side road in a suburb let's say like a car even pay pkg meter for few hrs and not get ticket or worse towed even.. I dunno no clue. Isn't tractor first wayy too big wide to even park in a pkg spot for cars ?? Like cops be all over u fast right? Only place be they truck stop or rest stop or Terminal ? Sorry so long... have no idea how it realy works. 5. Is there even big need now or jobs for "old guys in 60s" "newrookies"like me.. with companies like Roehl or CFI ? Esp now with Covid virus stupid thing and economy down so much. i hope so... but wonder. Thx for the help.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

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.

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.

Phil K.'s Comment
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Oh forgot one more thing.. How or why would any big or small company let you drive their tractor back to your "home" if let's say u still gotta drive another 200-300 miles or more (after dropping the load ) to get from the closest Terminal back "home" ???

1. Are they really gonna let u use their truck and " their" Diesel fuel to just get back home? Does driver have to pay or reimburse the company some $$ ? ohh and put alot extra Mileage on their rig... carrying no load meaning no moneymaking for company , right?

2. And again.. Liability.. with their Truck.. if yur officially off-duty and offclock ... what if have breakdown or worse accident on way back to get "home" ? then what?

3. Or does company just cover Driver anytime if yur driving it ? Is driver just Always covered by company insurance and all gas and oil used is paid for by the company ??

Is the gas, oil, and wear tear on Truck really so little minor for major truck company - they will cover it ? since (maybe) if they want care bout their Driver's rest and chance to go "home" regular like?? thxxx

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Viking's Comment
member avatar

Oh forgot one more thing.. How or why would any big or small company let you drive their tractor back to your "home" if let's say u still gotta drive another 200-300 miles or more (after dropping the load ) to get from the closest Terminal back "home" ???

1. Are they really gonna let u use their truck and " their" Diesel fuel to just get back home? Does driver have to pay or reimburse the company some $$ ? ohh and put alot extra Mileage on their rig... carrying no load meaning no moneymaking for company , right?

2. And again.. Liability.. with their Truck.. if yur officially off-duty and offclock ... what if have breakdown or worse accident on way back to get "home" ? then what?

3. Or does company just cover Driver anytime if yur driving it ? Is driver just Always covered by company insurance and all gas and oil used is paid for by the company ??

Is the gas, oil, and wear tear on Truck really so little minor for major truck company - they will cover it ? since (maybe) if they want care bout their Driver's rest and chance to go "home" regular like?? thxxx

Typically they will get you a load passing by where you live. You park the truck in a nearby truckstop for a few days while still loaded. Enjoy your time off. When it's time to go back to work you finish the load and get back to making that$$. Running empty is called Deadheading and you'd be surprised how much of it you do sometimes.

Even if taking the truck home (assuming you have a place to put it) that will be considered driving on duty time.

I for example have no where to put a truck at home. The nearest truckstop is 25$ a day at the T/A in Jessup MD. However I am on a dedicated account with a terminal about 90 miles from my residence. So I just park the truck at the terminal and commute the 90 miles home. I go home once a week. Still less miles on my personal vehicle then if I worked a normal job 20-30 mins from home.

Deadhead:

To drive with an empty trailer. After delivering your load you will deadhead to a shipper to pick up your next load.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Spaceman Spiff's Comment
member avatar

My example... Live in a tiny house in the suburbs of San Diego. Before I left, I drove around the secondary and primary streets in my area looking for other trucks. I found three areas clear of signs, private entrances, etc and photographed them.

When I ask for home time, I let the dispatcher know about two weeks before I need to be there. I can do this from anywhere in the country because they have time to work me back to the socal area now.

Usually I don't get into San Diego directly, but they put me in the LA or San Bernardino county area. Then I can drive the truck and trailer all the way south. No cost to me.

I unhitch the trailer on the curbside in front of a storage facility on a main road that has a clearly marked parking lane. There are usually two other trucks there. I purchased a kingpin lock and lock it in. Then I drive the mile or so back to my house and just ease the truck back onto my tiny driveway.

If I'm visiting family on the east coast, I will get unloaded either NC or the DC area usually. Family is in the Roanoke area so I will drive from Raleigh or northern VA. Park the trailer at a warehouse my dad used to work for and apply the kingpin lock. Drive tractor to my parents house and park on the lawn.

The company will help you , just give notice early, not last minute.

And you're right, some folks get rid of their apartment and do a year in their truck or longer to stack cash. Maybe a storage facility to park your car in is an idea?

If you're in apartments, you'll have to find nearby street parking and make sure its clear of no parking signs etc.

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.
Mikey B.'s Comment
member avatar

Hello Phil, first, welcome to trucking! This is one job that has absolutely zero age discrimination. I know many drivers that started their careers in their 50s 60s and even 70s. I live fulltime in my truck with a dog. I've lived in truck over a year so far and just stack cash and invest in stocks. I got rid of my house so I wouldnt be paying for a place I'm rarely at. You will still need a physical address, no PO boxes or UPS store type addresses. I use my parents but you can use a family member or friends. It's a place to fill the legal requirements and get mail. I have my personal car parked at the terminal I work out of and is closer to "home". Most companies have a drivers lot just for our car(s) to park free. In the grand scheme of things a couple hundred miles to get you home is nothing to these companies. Just give a few weeks notice and they will route a run close by. When going on hometime or shopping using PC you are still on the clock as you are still logged in as driver. Their insurance covers you anytime you are driving their truck and covers the truck 24/7. Generally park at the nearest truckstop, terminal or wherever you can legally park. Remember, home time doesn't have to be at home. If your wanting to go to the beach or an amusement park or national park, whatever, hometime can be done anywhere. If you are tired of staying in the truck, rent a hotel room and rent a car for vacation type hometime. Just remember though once you get home most all companies dont want you to use the truck as a personal vehicle to run around in. Make sure you are parked legally as to not be towed or booted as you will be on the hook for that cost.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

My company automatically routes us home when it's time. So if regional , every weekend or if OTR routes home every other weekend. Yes, I get paid the miles to go home.

Something crazy.. once, I'd been in Miami and they managed to get me a load out and to the Atlanta area. It was Friday night and they were having trouble finding me a load home (Kentucky) and I generally go home on Saturday morning or if lucky, Friday night. Nothing was loading before Monday. I offered to sit in Atlanta for my hometime, but they actually deadheaded (sent empty) me home to Kentucky, and yes, paid me for the miles.

If we choose to stay out longer, that's fine. But we have to let them know at least 3-4 days in advance so they can have loads planned for us and know not to send us home. Same if we want to take time off somewhere other than our home.. have to let them know preferably a week or more ahead of time on an alternate location... especially if it's not in our typical freight lanes.

I take my truck home (well near home) because I don't live near a terminal. Some companies require you to park at a terminal (Averitt and Tyson foods) immediately comes to mind. I park in a city owned lot that they allow trucks to park in. It's less than 2 miles from my home and pretty much truck stop central every weekend. There's also 2 lots where drivers can rent parking space by the month on the south end of town. The lot by the skating rink allows nightly parking too. My take is why pay for parking when I don't have to. We all leave our cars there. It's quite safe.. small town and in easy view of the security cameras on Fort Knox.

A funny story.. they watch our trucks in particular as a favor to the company, because West Side Salvage division does work for Ft. Knox on occasion. Michael and I both had trainees. Monday morning ready to head out and had already picked them up from the hotel. We arrived at the trucks and couldn't get near them. Turns out someone had left a blue plastic cooler about 20 ft in front of Michael's truck. Our trucks were surrounded by caution tape and none other than the Ft. Knox bomb squad was out there in full gear investigating the blue cooler lol. They finally determined the cooler was empty and let us access our trucks. It was fun explaining to our dispatcher why we were going to be late leaving out.. and Michael too as neither was aware of the arrangements west side safety department had made for the secure parking of my truck when I began working there. I dare someone to mess with my stuff when I'm home, because post security keeps an eye on my equipment. In the last year or so a guy who pulls a hazmat tanker has began parking near me as well every weekend. Easy view of Wilson Gate security and cameras for the Navy FCU across the street. At the other end of the lot are a bunch of JB Hunts, Hill Brothers, Schneider, Ryder Logistics and about 6 owner operators. If you're ever near Fort Knox/Radcliff KY on 31W in a truck and need a place to park, it's the place to be and plenty of room. Corner of Knox Blvd and Wilson Rd.. old Redmar shopping center.

Deadhead:

To drive with an empty trailer. After delivering your load you will deadhead to a shipper to pick up your next load.

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

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

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.

Owner Operator:

An owner-operator is a driver who either owns or leases the truck they are driving. A self-employed driver.

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.

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.

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.

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