Getting Back Into Trucking After Long Absence

Topic 28404 | Page 1

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John W.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi Everyone. I need some advice from Seasoned Truckers.

I'm a Retired Trucker who has been out of Trucking for a considerable amount of time. I still keep my CDL (with ALL Endorsements) and Medical Card Current. One of the things on my Bucket List is to get back into Trucking. I was a Local Driver for a Large Grocery Company in Southern California for over 30 years (I now live in the east coastal area in Central Florida). As a Local Driver I never did any real Long Haul except for some day trips to Las Vegas and back. I drove many years pulling Doubles until 53 footers became the norm. We did Paper Logs and only had Manual Shift Transmissions back then.

I know it wouldn't be hard to get back into the actual Driving of a Truck. The problem I see is learning Electronic Logs and Time Management. Seeing as I was a local driver, the only thing I had to worry about then was running out of hours. If I did, I would simply start my shift a few hours later the next day. Long Haul is a different story. From what I've read, Planning several days in advance to keep your hours in check is a big part. And at the same time making your appointments on time...plus lots more.

In talking with some Recruiters, I get different stories on their recruiting of Drivers that have been out of Trucking for a period of time. Sure would appreciate any advice from Seasoned Drivers on subjects from getting hired, to Time Management, to a Company to work for and any other pertinent information.

Thank You, John

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.

Electronic Logs:

Electronic Onboard Recorder

Electronic Logbook

A device which records the amount of time a vehicle has been driven. If the vehicle is not being driven, the operator will manually input whether or not he/she is on duty or not.

Doubles:

Refers to pulling two trailers at the same time, otherwise known as "pups" or "pup trailers" because they're only about 28 feet long. However there are some states that allow doubles that are each 48 feet in length.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Hey John, welcome to our forum!

You'll have to start just like a new rookie with no experience. Recent verifiable experience is a requirement now days. Somebody will give you a shot for sure, but they will put you with a trainer. That time will help you get a grasp on the HOS rules and electronic logs.

I'm 60 years old and love my OTR job. There's no reason you can't do this.

We have a convenient way you can fill out one application and have it go to a lot of different companies. Click on this link and start getting your name out there.

Apply For Truck Driving Jobs

Electronic Logs:

Electronic Onboard Recorder

Electronic Logbook

A device which records the amount of time a vehicle has been driven. If the vehicle is not being driven, the operator will manually input whether or not he/she is on duty or not.

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.
Michael W.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi Everyone. I need some advice from Seasoned Truckers.

I'm a Retired Trucker who has been out of Trucking for a considerable amount of time. I still keep my CDL (with ALL Endorsements) and Medical Card Current. One of the things on my Bucket List is to get back into Trucking. I was a Local Driver for a Large Grocery Company in Southern California for over 30 years (I now live in the east coastal area in Central Florida). As a Local Driver I never did any real Long Haul except for some day trips to Las Vegas and back. I drove many years pulling Doubles until 53 footers became the norm. We did Paper Logs and only had Manual Shift Transmissions back then.

I know it wouldn't be hard to get back into the actual Driving of a Truck. The problem I see is learning Electronic Logs and Time Management. Seeing as I was a local driver, the only thing I had to worry about then was running out of hours. If I did, I would simply start my shift a few hours later the next day. Long Haul is a different story. From what I've read, Planning several days in advance to keep your hours in check is a big part. And at the same time making your appointments on time...plus lots more.

In talking with some Recruiters, I get different stories on their recruiting of Drivers that have been out of Trucking for a period of time. Sure would appreciate any advice from Seasoned Drivers on subjects from getting hired, to Time Management, to a Company to work for and any other pertinent information.

Thank You, John

My story is somewhat similar to your. I drove in the 1990's for a few years, got out, removed CDL from my license, and 15 years later went back. The good thing for YOUO is you kept up the CDL and endorsements. Half the job is already done. All you'll have to do, as Old School mentioned, is go out for training driving teams for a couple of months. Like me, you'll probably find driving in general is like riding a bike. You'll fall right into it as if there was no break. The technology has changed, but driving itself hasn't.

Logs are easy enough. Everything is done for ya! All you have to do is make sure you're properly logged in and keep an eye on that time.

Now, since it's been so long, you'll probably have much the same reaction to the new trucks as I did. "Geez, man," I said to my first trainer, "this is an f'n spaceship! Does it fly??" Not a joke. I really said exactly that. If you're thinking of going back local again, then find a small company. Usually, they'll put you with one of their drivers for a week (or until you understand it all).

If you're going OTR or overnight regional/line-haul, then yeah - you'll do 35K to 50K teaming to fulfill company/insurance requirements. Like me, you'll probably be mildly irritated after 2 weeks because you'll get it and be ready. Thank God I had great trainers who cared and that I liked.

You'll be okay. You just have to be patient with the standard training pay structure companies LOVE to use for trainees in team situations.

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.

Electronic Logs:

Electronic Onboard Recorder

Electronic Logbook

A device which records the amount of time a vehicle has been driven. If the vehicle is not being driven, the operator will manually input whether or not he/she is on duty or not.

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.

Doubles:

Refers to pulling two trailers at the same time, otherwise known as "pups" or "pup trailers" because they're only about 28 feet long. However there are some states that allow doubles that are each 48 feet in length.

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