Schneider VTL Orientation 2021

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Dean R.'s Comment
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Recap of day 1.

Met the Schneider minibus at the hotel at 0600 for a 0630 start to the day. Lots of paperwork and online learning modules. Then came a urine and hair follicle drug screen followed by a DOT physical. The came more paperwork and reading a couple of chapters in Schneider's big handbook ("Your Highway to Success.") We also had to endure an "EMERGE" exam which measures your muscle reaction to different types of movement and stretching. Basically you have electrodes placed on your body which record data while you perform various movements. We were issued our Schneider gear, which consists of a safety vest, ice cleats, and safety boots (if you didn't have your own boots). We took a rather simple DOT test which consisted of reading comprehension of short paragraphs from the DOT regs. To end the day we learned how to use the paper log books that Schneider prints for company use. Pretty standard actually. We get breakfast from the hotel and get a lunch ticket to get a meal from the OC. Dinner is self-pay. Tomorrow we get more paperwork and learning modules. Tomorrow afternoon we are learning Schneider's way of pre trip inspections and coupling/uncoupling. It's been an exhausting day.

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.

Anne A. (momcat)'s Comment
member avatar

Recap of day 1.

Met the Schneider minibus at the hotel at 0600 for a 0630 start to the day. Lots of paperwork and online learning modules. Then came a urine and hair follicle drug screen followed by a DOT physical. The came more paperwork and reading a couple of chapters in Schneider's big handbook ("Your Highway to Success.") We also had to endure an "EMERGE" exam which measures your muscle reaction to different types of movement and stretching. Basically you have electrodes placed on your body which record data while you perform various movements. We were issued our Schneider gear, which consists of a safety vest, ice cleats, and safety boots (if you didn't have your own boots). We took a rather simple DOT test which consisted of reading comprehension of short paragraphs from the DOT regs. To end the day we learned how to use the paper log books that Schneider prints for company use. Pretty standard actually. We get breakfast from the hotel and get a lunch ticket to get a meal from the OC. Dinner is self-pay. Tomorrow we get more paperwork and learning modules. Tomorrow afternoon we are learning Schneider's way of pre trip inspections and coupling/uncoupling. It's been an exhausting day.

Wow, long day!

Get some rest, Dean. I'm following, as well. G'night!

~ Anne ~

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Dean R.'s Comment
member avatar

Recap of day 2.

I forgot to mention that we were given parking passes yesterday for the Schneider OC where we train. I skipped taking the shuttle at 0600 this morning and drove myself in at 0545. Breakfast at the hotel is cold. The breakfast at the OC, which is not free, was hot and delicious. Bacon and eggs FTW!

Began our day with a HazMat test. Even if you have the HazMat endorsement, which I do - I have the "X" endorsement, Schneider drivers still have to take HazMat training. You get a wallet card that certifies that you completed company HazMat. You have three tries to score at least 80%. It wasn't hard, you were already told what to know. One failed, but they passed the second try.

More form filling today. Bank account info for direct deposit, and reimbursement for taking your own vehicle to orientation. We were also issued fuel cards that we can use for cash advances. Schneider gave us all a $65 advance - some of the student drivers here really need a few bucks. Some came here with nothing.

Oh yeah - as of today we are no longer just new orientation students - we are now "Driver Associates in Training." We can now logon to Schneider's portal and check for pay, create emergency contacts, and see tidbits of information from corporate.

This afternoon we worked on Schneider's pre-trip, post trip, VTI (Verification of Trailer Integrity) and couple/uncouple. They are VERY specific how they want these done. You don't have to memorize them tho - you have trifolds you can follow. A driving instructor monitored me as I drove around the area, paying special attention to buttonhook turns and lane discipline. Today was the first time I went thru a roundabout in a tractor/trailer. I always wanted to try that and now I know what it's like.

Last part of the day was learning the Schneider way of 45 degree parking. It was easier than the method I was taught in CDL school. Still need to practice more. We actually got out at 1600 today instead of the scheduled 1700. Yay! I grabbed some Culver's and some McD's coffee on the way to the hotel. Now I'm going to read for a little while and sip some coffee, then take a shower and catch up on a few YouTube channels.

Goodnight!

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.

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

Brian W's Comment
member avatar

Hey Dean R., Just to introduce my , Brian W. , here . Just wanted to ask where is your orientation at? I’m getting ready to leave for Carlisle in a couple of weeks. I find your imput very informative and will continue to read as I am wanting to get a realistic idea of what I’ll be looking at and to get any “nice to know” things to help in my preparation. Thanks in advance, I’ll keep in touch.

Dean R.'s Comment
member avatar

Hey Dean R., Just to introduce my , Brian W. , here . Just wanted to ask where is your orientation at? I’m getting ready to leave for Carlisle in a couple of weeks. I find your imput very informative and will continue to read as I am wanting to get a realistic idea of what I’ll be looking at and to get any “nice to know” things to help in my preparation. Thanks in advance, I’ll keep in touch.

Hey Brian,

I'm in Gary, Indiana. Training for Walmart Dedicated. From what I heard orientation throughout Schneider is relatively the same, except for location-specific training. Just finished my third day, so far so good.

Dean R.'s Comment
member avatar

Recap of day 3.

Not much classroom today! Yahoo! My driving instructor and I went thru Schneider's Pre Trip with a fine toothed comb. They don't cover as much as the CDL Pre Trip would if you had to do the tractor AND trailer but it was lengthy. The Pre Trip is part of the road test after you complete entry training. Same with Post Trip. They are very specific as to what you need to inspect.

Coupling/uncoupling. Schneider has a very specific way for this. The good news is that Schneider has a detailed cheat sheet that you can use, even for the final test. But... don't even think about dropping a trailer. That's a really big no-no here.

We drove around East Chicago, Gary, and Hammond, Indiana. East Chicago is a heavily industrialized area that had the streets laid out in horse and buggy days. Really tight right and left turns. In CDL school they didn't want us to learn buttonhook (jug handle) turns.Here in some places you have to.

Practiced 45 degree backs for a couple hours. I'm finally getting the hang of it. I had problems with it in CDL school but my instructor knew how to correct my errors and, uh, "coach me a little bit." rofl-3.gif

We are almost done keeping paper log books. Next week we get Schneider tablets. Tomorrow is another driving and backing day. Saturday is for computer based training and simulator work. We get our 34 hour reset Saturday night and all day Sunday. Then it's one more week in Gary and then week or so with a Training Engineer.

If you have any questions please reply. Thanks.

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.
Dean R.'s Comment
member avatar

Recap of Day 4.

Started with practicing the Schneider Pre Trip and VTI (Verification of Trailer Integrity). Then I took my turn at coupling. I had to deal with an incorrect coupling first thing, and it was windy and cold. The locking jaws did not fully engage even though I heard a definite "clunk" sound and two tug totes were successful. When I went to check the locking jaws I saw a small patch of bright metal showing. Not good... Not knowing Schneider's policy I told the instructor what happened. He suggested moving back gains the trailer again a couple more times, since the bitter cold may have made the grease a little solidified, or something like that. So I backed against the trailer a couple more times, did two more tug tests, and checked the coupling. This time it was fully engaged. Whew!

We made a few laps around East Chicago, Hammond, and Gary Indiana. Tight turns, a couple of round-bouts, and plenty of road crews and electrical crews to avoid. As I was making a sharp left turn at a light a pickup truck came flying up behind me and swerved around me while I was turning. What a jack wagon he was. Back to the OC to practice backing and learning more about operating within the OC's yard and meeting some maintenance people.

The rest of the day consisted of Sexual Harassment, Bullying, etc., classes. We also had to take a basic test of FMCSA regulations straight from the book. Tomorrow, Saturday, will be the end of the first week. Tomorrow will be simulator and more CBTs. We'll start our 34 reset tomorrow afternoon and start all over at 0630 Monday. I'm looking forward to a little R&R and some football. I decided not to make a 7.5 hour roundtrip home. My wife and son may drive up here Sunday for football and pizza. They can take turns driving back Sunday evening.

Th-th-th-th that's all for now folks.

CSA:

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle

FMCSA:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The FMCSA was established within the Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000. Their primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.

What Does The FMCSA Do?

  • Commercial Drivers' Licenses
  • Data and Analysis
  • Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement
  • Research and Technology
  • Safety Assistance
  • Support and Information Sharing

Fm:

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Anne A. (momcat)'s Comment
member avatar

No questions, just kudos!

~ Anne ~

Dean R.'s Comment
member avatar

Recap of Day 5.

Another 0630 start time, last one for the first week. We did a hands-on demo of the Schneider Tablet and all of the workflows. Spent most of that time on the ELD apps. From 8:30 to 1:30 I used that 5 hour block to finish all of the CBTs that are required. Accident procedures, FDA food regs pertaining to carriers, human trafficking awareness, and much more. Made it back to the hotel by 1400. Went to pick up some fajitas for dinner from this small place in the hispanic part of Hammond, IN. Good stuff! I went in to get my food and watched them make their own tortillas. Best tortillas ever!

Spoke with the head of training. Since I'm going to be Walmart Dedicated it will mostly be fresh and frozen loads. I guess you can say that I'm going to be a "Refrigerated Consumable Commodity Relocation Professional."

I should be done and graduated by next Friday. The thing is this... I will be tested on driving and backing next week, but... I won't know when I'm being tested. It could me Monday, or Tuesday. or Wednesday or Thursday. Maybe Friday morning? Oh boy...

Dean R.'s Comment
member avatar

Recap of day 6 - Monday 1-25-21

I'm getting used to the 0500 wake-up calls. My body starts waking around 0430 for bio fluid relief. Reported to the OC at 0630 and was promptly taken to the bobtail area to get the tractor warmed up. From there we practiced coupling and our pre-trips. I was given a from to fill out with my driver's license number info. I thought that was odd, since they already know that. Then, as usual, we started our way out of the yard.

We traveled through Gary, Hammond, and East Chicago Indiana. Changing from highway back to city streets, practicing lane discipline and tight right turns. We went out to the casino area on Lake Michigan. More city driving on narrower streets and some tricky left turns. After about an hour we headed back to the OC to practice backing in a controlled area.

My 45 was spot-on this time! I was set so nicely that I just wheeled her right in the hole without needing a pull-up. Did one GOAL right after set-up to see where I was. I felt good about that! I usually need a pull-up or two. The method I was taught at Schneider was much easier than the CDL school method.

The paper I filled out earlier? It was the backside of my score sheet. I was put through the Schneider Driving Skills Test and I didn't even know it. I have some area to improve on - come around sooner on right turns and lane control in traffic circles. I was happy that I wasn't being told that I was being tested. Didn't have that nervousness to think about. Just drive and pay attention.

The rest of the week should be smooth. I should meet my Training Engineer later this week and get my 5 day finishing training completed and get my own truck. Life is good.

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.

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

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