Approaching 5 Years Of CDL Driving

Topic 28705 | Page 1

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Joseph D.'s Comment
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Just wanted to share an honest self review of my driving career so far. It's had a lot of ups and downs. The self reflection has helped me and maybe could help others.

My career basically started here. Ive always been fascinated by trucks so i decided getting a CDL was a career path i wanted to venture into. That's when I found this wonderful site. I spent months studying,researching and preparing myself for CDL school and my first driving job. I started (private) school in October of 2015. Spending all the time studying on this site put me way ahead and i was feeling confident as ever in the classroom side of schooling. I still remember my first time driving the truck in the yard practicing straight backs. It felt somewhat natural to me and in 5 short weeks i obtained my CDL on my first attempt taking the test at the DMV. I was riding high at this point! I was already set up to attend Roehl orientation the following week and was feeling good about life. I went to Roehl's Appleton terminal and a week later was out with a trainer. I hit the trainer jackpot. He was 3 time driver of the year and more importantly a great human being. He taught me so much. To this day i still think of him and the knowledge he instilled in me. I thrived with him and 2 and a half weeks later was assigned my very own Pro-Star in mid December 2015.

The first week solo was tough, but i made it through without any real problems and quickly became one of my dispatchers go-to drivers (averaging 2400-3000 miles per week). I was good at every aspect of the job except for one of the most important parts. The lifestyle. I wasn't mentally prepared for the living in the truck aspect and it slowly burnt me out. My attitude was negative and I let it get the best of me. Fast forward to June 2016. After a string of terrible consignees and hours upon hours on docks, I quit. Still one of my biggest regrets in my 29 years on this planet. I have no one to blame but myself. Roehl was a great company to me. I had only 9,000 miles left before my obligated 75,000! I was so stupid! I was able to save up a decent amount of money working with them and paid my way out of the contract ($4800). At this point i had no back up plan.

I got home feeling like such a loser, but was also relieved that I didn't have to live in the truck anymore. So I decided to go onto craigslist and man did i get lucky. A family owned distribution company had just picked up a big contract and needed drivers. I lived 15 mins away from their yard. I immeidiatly called them and was hired on the following day after short interview. This job was a different world of truck driving compared to Roehl. I got lucky again with a good trainer and learned how to drive and deliver in Chicago. Fast forward to today and i still work for this company. It's been a bumpy road learning how to deliver milk, but now i am a true professional at it. I put this truck places i didn't ever think a truck would fit. In my 4 years of employment here i have been fortunate enough to purchase a beautiful home, a car, motorcycle and a hot tub.

Trucking has been great to me. As much as i regret quitting Roehl my timing in doing so couldn't have been better. I am one of the top drivers (humble brag) at my current company and make a decent living. I have learned so much about the industry but more importantly, i have learned a lot about myself. To this day this site continues to be a resource for me. So to Brett i say THANK YOU! You're the man. You have helped me more than you'll ever know. If you're reading this and thinking of getting into trucking please remember it's a lifestyle as much as it is a career.


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.


The customer the freight is being delivered to. Also referred to as "the receiver". The shipper is the customer that is shipping the goods, the consignee is the customer receiving the goods.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Operating While Intoxicated

Bobcat_Bob's Comment
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Congratulations! Personally I couldn't stand having to drive in Chicago, im all about open interstates.


Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

Joseph D.'s Comment
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You get used to it. I’m out in the suburbs nowadays. I enjoy the challenging backing maneuvers. Keeps the job interesting. What I will never like the is anxiety of low bridges everywhere.

Old School's Comment
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Congratulations Joseph! Five years is awesome! Watch those bridges! smile.gif


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Joseph D.'s Comment
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Thank you Old School! Nothing like seeing the ole 13’6” bridge sign. Or even better the unmarked ones...

PJ's Comment
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Congrats Joseph... You have done well. Roehl was also where I started. They were good to me as well. I am still friends with my trainer. It is always great to hear stories such as yours. Keep up the great work and stay safe in Chicago.

Uncle Rake's Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the honest update, Joseph. As an aspiring driver, it’s helpful to hear about the potential highs and lows of the profession. Glad you found a way to persevere. Congratulations on the five successful years!

Joseph D.'s Comment
member avatar

I have had a lot of good luck in this career. You also get out of this career what you put into it and I have worked very hard to make it to this point. Thank you all for the kind words.

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