Off To Stevens Transport On Monday The 10th, After 20+ Years Off The Road

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Old School's Comment
member avatar

Brian, I can tell you are right on the verge of quitting. I'm not sure we can help you or not. I want to remind you what you said to me after my last response to you. Here's what you said...

I know better but being in truck with a trainer telling you things like I mentioned previously kind of brain washes you,

One of the things we stress to people getting into trucking is to ignore the talk they hear from other drivers. You have been unable to avoid your trainer's comments and attitude. That's understandable - you are living in a truck with him. What you had the power over was whether you allowed him to influence you. That's where you failed.

Your latest post seems to lay blame on the company that gave you a shot at this career, but I think you are only fooling yourself. Let's break down some of your comments.

My trainer decided to call it quits.

You make it obvious that you have had to listen to him complaining about the company. You described his frustration level as high. What is he frustrated with? I already know he is upset with the company and he is filling your mind with his frustrations and regrets. He is doing you and the folks who pay him every week a great disservice. Let's look at why he is frustrated. He hasn't been keeping up with the maintenance that he is supposed to. That is on him. That is his responsibility.

He is eager to get the miles and make the money, but he has got to keep up with his regular maintenance. We all do that or we get shut down. That is his fault and no fault of the company. Without performing our regular scheduled maintenance we void the warranty on our trucks. That would be a foolish move on anyone's part. He pushed it too far, so the company had to step in and protect their investment. Your trainer brought that on himself. There is no justifiable reason for him to bad mouth the company for that.

Now you are doing much like your trainer when you decided to wait on a trainer. Here is a situation where the company was prepared to take care of you and you chose not to take part in their generous offer.

They did offer me a new trainer but I need to fly somewhere to met up with him. I turn it down and said I would wait for someone who was in the yard. I too am frustrated and thought a day or two of rest would be a good thing but it's going on 4 days now and if I don't get a trainer today or tomorrow I am not sure what I going to do. The sitting around has given me time to wonder if is all worth it.

What were you thinking? You should have jumped at the first opportunity to grab another trainer. It's not easy to have a trainer just magically appear where you are. The precautions that most people are taking with Covid has made it increasingly difficult to have trainers available. Now you are complaining about sitting and thinking. You could have been on the road knocking out some more of your required training time. You are letting all your trainers comments and attitudes stew in your mind. They are eating away at your confidence. That's a bad move on your part. The company found a solution and you chose your own path. You are making some bad choices. That is no fault of the company.

You continue to be guided or misguided by your fellow peers. You go on to share your roommate's experience...

Funny thing, my current roommate got his 240 hours but failed his Stevens road test. Said his bumper was just over the white line at a cross walk and in the city did not maintain a 6 second following distance at all times. Pretty hard to do in city traffic. He was assigned 90 more hours with a trainer. That definitely would be the end of Stevens for me.

It sounds to me like your roommate wasn't a very conscientious driver. That's what a road test is for. They want to see him showing some skills and some good safety practices. Sure it may be tough to keep a good following distance in traffic, but good grief man, that is when it is most important.

I'm not trying to be hard on you. I'm trying to get you to reset your way of thinking. I had a really tough training experience. I had three times the issues you have shared with us. I heard all the comments just like you. I even had a roommate fail his final road test, and he blubbered on and on to me about how unfair it was. I ignored all that nonsense and did what I knew was right. I kept my following distance. Every time some four wheeler would jump in front of me I would back it down and make a new space for another one to pull into. Then I would back it down again. That's how professionals drive a big rig - with patience and care. If we can't drive like that during a road test, we are surely not going to be trusted to run solo. It was good of Stephens to offer him more training. He needed it.

You are going to do what you decide, but I hope you realize that your trainer has influenced you in a way that is not conducive to success. I want to see you make it out here. I always want to see our members thriving in an industry that has been very good to me. Trucking is tough - nobody can deny that. Trucking is also very good to those who know how to handle the job. There are a lot of quitters in trucking. It is sad because most of them quit because they have been influenced by the poor attitudes of others. Try to make sure you are using your own good reasoning, not the poor attitudes of others.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

After over a million miles driving, a 30 minute road test evaluation should be a snap.

If you are able to snag any other trainer, do it ASAP. Sitting around thinking too much will not be helping yourself at all.

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.

Brian K.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the words of wisdom,

Just got called a few minutes ago to meet another trainer in 3 hours. Getting my stuff together. Kind of excited again. I will post again when I get my last 44 hours of driver trainee in.

Your comments above are spot on. I am letting others influence me negatively. I will try to keep that in mind,

Off to meet the trainer,

Brian

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Good luck Brian - hang in there!

Anne A. (G13Momcat)'s Comment
member avatar

Good luck Brian - hang in there!

Ditto.

I'm still following, excitedly.

Hang in there, man.

Blessings;

~ Anne ~

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Brian K.'s Comment
member avatar
I don't know, think trouble follows me around,

Hi Brian here with more trials and tribulations,

Well, I really hate to go on about these types of adventures but it's getting where I expect something to go wrong on every trip. I know things happen but here is the latest. I get pickup by the new trainer in Dallas headed to Houston to swap trailers with a guy and make a delivery to Laredo by 9 am on Friday. It's about 6:30 pm right now. I start driving right out of Dallas. We swap trailers and continue to Laredo; I am still driving. It's getting late and they don't like trainee's driving after 3 am so we swap drivers and continue. As I mention before, I need 44 hours to complete my driver trainee hours of 240, getting closer now. On the way to Laredo the Driver is noticing the air pressure dropping a little but hovering around 100 psi and believes there must be an air leak somewhere. It's almost 9 am by this time but the trainer suggest we better stop at the TA a few miles outside of Laredo and get it checked. The leak is getting worse. We have to pull over multiple time on the off ramp and buildup pressure to get to the TA. Lots of truck traffic and waiting for the green light etc...

TA mechanic diagnoses the problem and replaces an airbag on the tractor. There is a 3 to 4 hour wait for the Stevens office to approve the repair and another hour or so to do the work. Don't know where all the time went but we entered the shop at approximately 10 am and left around 4:30 pm. We got to our delivery a few minutes after 5 pm. We were supposed to drop the trailer but the security guard said no, come back on Monday. Believe it or not, please do, the air leak was not fix and we were still pulling over when driving in traffic. So, we go back to the TA, trailer and all. We found a spot out of the way and I asked him if we could do a few air tests of our own. We turned off the refer unit for a few minutes and disconnect the airlines to the trailer, built up full air pressure and turn off the truck leaving the brakes off. After crawling around under the truck, I could hear air leaking out around one of the brake chambers. Running my hands over the chamber I could also feel the air coming out as well. That must be the problem. Later that night the TA mechanic replaced the brake chamber and next morning we drop the trailer at the Stevens yard in Laredo, picked up a loaded trailer going to Fort Worth and we were off again or at least I thought we were? By the way, the brake chamber was the problem and the air pressure is back to where it should be, leak fixed.

I am driving again and as we are going through San Antonio, traffic is extremely heavy, a lot of stop and go and now the low fuel light come on. We have about 60 miles or so to the designated fuel stop provided by Stevens in the pre-trip. The trainer says no worries, we can make there with no problem, and we did. Ok it felt great to pulled into the fuel island. Don't stop reading now, lol. I have to laugh or I might just get too upset. It was a new place neither of us every been to. Think it was called "Rowdies" of something like that. Our fuel card worked somewhat but would not accept the truck's mileage. As soon as I put the mileage in it would come back saying incorrect mileage and cancelled the purchased. Tried at the fuel desk as well. We tried calling Steven but after a half an hour we decide to go to the Flying J just 7 mile down the road. Card always works there. I pull out of the fuel island and I get about 300 yards towards the exit and the trucks quits. It runs out of fuel. The good thing is we were still in the truck stop. We finally get Stevens on the phone about 45 minutes to an hour and says a service truck will be there to assist in about 90 minutes.

I need to end this blog, it getting too long but we get up and running, the fuel card is working again, and I am in Fort Worth. It’s about 10 am Sunday morning and waiting to be dispatched. Wonder what the next trip is going to be like. I'm not really upset but wondering when I will have an uneventful trip. The trainer is laid back and takes things in stride so no tension which makes the downtime easy to managed.

**New flash, Pre-Trip just came in. Going to Denver but load will not be ready until 3 am. Oh man, going to have to sit here all day and night. Getting a little frustrated now. Trainer thinks we will be headed to California after Denver and then hopefully back to Dallas. The round trip should give me all my trainee hours and I'll be done. So, I will grin and bear it knowing the end may be near, provided we don't break down. lol

That's it, I hope the next update I will have completed my hours and, on my way to solo driving in my own truck.

Brian

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Anne A. (G13Momcat)'s Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

I don't know, think trouble follows me around,

double-quotes-end.png

Hi Brian here with more trials and tribulations,

Well, I really hate to go on about these types of adventures but it's getting where I expect something to go wrong on every trip. I know things happen but here is the latest. I get pickup by the new trainer in Dallas headed to Houston to swap trailers with a guy and make a delivery to Laredo by 9 am on Friday. It's about 6:30 pm right now. I start driving right out of Dallas. We swap trailers and continue to Laredo; I am still driving. It's getting late and they don't like trainee's driving after 3 am so we swap drivers and continue. As I mention before, I need 44 hours to complete my driver trainee hours of 240, getting closer now. On the way to Laredo the Driver is noticing the air pressure dropping a little but hovering around 100 psi and believes there must be an air leak somewhere. It's almost 9 am by this time but the trainer suggest we better stop at the TA a few miles outside of Laredo and get it checked. The leak is getting worse. We have to pull over multiple time on the off ramp and buildup pressure to get to the TA. Lots of truck traffic and waiting for the green light etc...

TA mechanic diagnoses the problem and replaces an airbag on the tractor. There is a 3 to 4 hour wait for the Stevens office to approve the repair and another hour or so to do the work. Don't know where all the time went but we entered the shop at approximately 10 am and left around 4:30 pm. We got to our delivery a few minutes after 5 pm. We were supposed to drop the trailer but the security guard said no, come back on Monday. Believe it or not, please do, the air leak was not fix and we were still pulling over when driving in traffic. So, we go back to the TA, trailer and all. We found a spot out of the way and I asked him if we could do a few air tests of our own. We turned off the refer unit for a few minutes and disconnect the airlines to the trailer, built up full air pressure and turn off the truck leaving the brakes off. After crawling around under the truck, I could hear air leaking out around one of the brake chambers. Running my hands over the chamber I could also feel the air coming out as well. That must be the problem. Later that night the TA mechanic replaced the brake chamber and next morning we drop the trailer at the Stevens yard in Laredo, picked up a loaded trailer going to Fort Worth and we were off again or at least I thought we were? By the way, the brake chamber was the problem and the air pressure is back to where it should be, leak fixed.

I am driving again and as we are going through San Antonio, traffic is extremely heavy, a lot of stop and go and now the low fuel light come on. We have about 60 miles or so to the designated fuel stop provided by Stevens in the pre-trip. The trainer says no worries, we can make there with no problem, and we did. Ok it felt great to pulled into the fuel island. Don't stop reading now, lol. I have to laugh or I might just get too upset. It was a new place neither of us every been to. Think it was called "Rowdies" of something like that. Our fuel card worked somewhat but would not accept the truck's mileage. As soon as I put the mileage in it would come back saying incorrect mileage and cancelled the purchased. Tried at the fuel desk as well. We tried calling Steven but after a half an hour we decide to go to the Flying J just 7 mile down the road. Card always works there. I pull out of the fuel island and I get about 300 yards towards the exit and the trucks quits. It runs out of fuel. The good thing is we were still in the truck stop. We finally get Stevens on the phone about 45 minutes to an hour and says a service truck will be there to assist in about 90 minutes.

I need to end this blog, it getting too long but we get up and running, the fuel card is working again, and I am in Fort Worth. It’s about 10 am Sunday morning and waiting to be dispatched. Wonder what the next trip is going to be like. I'm not really upset but wondering when I will have an uneventful trip. The trainer is laid back and takes things in stride so no tension which makes the downtime easy to managed.

**New flash, Pre-Trip just came in. Going to Denver but load will not be ready until 3 am. Oh man, going to have to sit here all day and night. Getting a little frustrated now. Trainer thinks we will be headed to California after Denver and then hopefully back to Dallas. The round trip should give me all my trainee hours and I'll be done. So, I will grin and bear it knowing the end may be near, provided we don't break down. lol

That's it, I hope the next update I will have completed my hours and, on my way to solo driving in my own truck.

Brian

Oh. My. Wow. ~~!!!!!!

Sure hope things go a bit smoother, as you fly SOLO, good sir!!!

Gotta laugh sometimes; i hear ya! (Lest ya cry!)

~ Anne ~

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Scott M's Comment
member avatar

Thanks. Very helpful. I’m in a similar situation as you. I’m 67, have CDL , haven’t driven for 4 years, and will need a refresher. So your writing was spot-on for me.....Where did you end up? Solo? How much was pay during 240 hours?..... If you write more, I’m looking forward to doing some reading! Good luck and God bless.

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.
Brian K.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi Scott,

I did 3 weeks of training on the Stevens yard and 240 hrs of otr with a trainer, about 6 weeks but we had 5 breakdowns. If you read my postings you know what I went through. They payed me only while getting my 240 hrs. The pay was $497.00 per week after taxes, payed on Friday. So about $3000.00 by the time I am issued a truck. Then starting pay of .40 cents a mile driving solo. I should start my solo driving later this coming week. I was concerned about riding with someone for that many hours but time went by faster than I thought. Don't get me wrong, there were time I almost went home but I stuck it out and looking back i have to say it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. So if you really want to drive, I say go for it!

Brian

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.

Brian K.'s Comment
member avatar

Things are looking up,

I am finally back in Dallas. Like I assumed, after Denver we went to Kansas and picked up a meat load delivering to a place near Sacramento CA and reloaded close by for Denton Texas. I racked up a good amount of driving time, 262 hours, well over my 240 requirement. In the morning I go to classes for two and a half days and if all goes well I will be assigned a truck and headed out solo.

You can stop reading here, the rest is just my thoughts. Continue if you like.

The second trainer was much different than the first. It's amazing, after talking to some of the others who just finished their 240 hours on the road, each trainee's story about their trainer was very different. Mostly the way they did trip planning, driving time etc.... My first trainer was very detailed in creating a trip plan but the second was minimalist. But either way, I never received any comments back on the qualcomm. However, the trip plan was rarely followed, too many variables along the way. I guess the office just wants to ensure you know where you were going and you know how to get there.

I remember many updates ago I mentioned I have a plan and that I would disclose this plan when the time is right. I feel now is as good of a time as any. My plan is to purchase my own truck. Many people out there have the same idea but because I have worked a life time and have put a side money for this purpose, I am fortunate enough to pay cash for a fairly new tractor with money left over for repairs, insurance, and plates. I want to drive debt free, haul to areas I want, and go home when I feel like it and take as much time off as I want. I would also like to lease to company such as Landstar, that has a loading board where you pick your loads and can run as little or as much as you want. I found a few companies that were similar to Landstar and required only six months of otr experience, Landstar requires a year.

So my plan came to a halt when no one would hire me because of no recent experience. Even when I mentioned I would buy a truck and lease it to them, the result was the same, sorry no recent experience. Upset that my past experience was stale and no longer taken into consideration, I vowed to myself I would find a way to get back on the road. At 67 years of age I didn't know how hard or easy it would be but by the end of the week If all goes well I will accomplished that goal. Now, just need to get some experience and my plan will be back on track. I must say, the experience using a electronic log was valuable along with getting familiar with the roads again. More construction out there than I thought and where there was empty fields or nothing at all, there are new bridges, highways, and buildings. You can definitely see a difference in the landscape from the 70's, 80's, and early 90's when I was driving otr to today's landscape. I can also feel a difference in attitude around the truck stops. Years ago it was a little more wild west but the people seemed more friendlier then. Don't know how to exactly explain it but there are subtle differences. Between the then and now, I prefer the then but still enjoy driving. BTW, the truck plan is currently under review and not necessary written in stone. Will have to revaluate at the six month point.

That's it for now. The next update will be soon after I pull out of the yard solo, hopefully this coming week. After that this blog will probably come to end or at least the updates will much farther apart.

Thank you all for the advice and continued support. I might not have made it this far if it had not been for you helpfully comments.

Brian

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.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.
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