Starting My New Career With Prime Inc.

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Victor J.'s Comment
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March 16th, 6:00am,

Up bright and early to start my journey to Springfield this morning, I picked up my rental car last night, and got my belongings packed. Loading everything in the car this morning, and will be stopping at my mothers house for a few minutes on the way out of town.

7:30am,

Done visiting and saying goodbyes with the family, just a short 5 hour 30 minute drive separates me from Springfield.

1:30pm,

A fairly uneventful trip, stopped twice for fuel, once halfway, and another right around the corner to top up the tank before turning in the rental car. I've just finished dropping off the keys at the airport here in Springfield. I've got to wait for the prime shuttle to take me to campus now, next round is at 3:15pm. So I have some time to kill, going to call family/friends and let them know I'm here. I'm excited and can't wait to get to campus and get settled in for the surely hectic days of information and learning ahead of me.

3:15pm,

Shuttle arrived right on time. Verified my identity with the driver and got my belongings on board and we were off towards campus. I was the only one on the shuttle, so a pretty quite trip.

3:35pm,

Arrived at campus inn, immediately checked in, had to fill out 2 pieces of paperwork, one answernig COVID questions, and one with my info and what program I was here for, off to the computer lab to register my permit for the alcohol & drug clearinghouse, then I'll get my room key.

3:50pm,

got my key, and got into the room. I was informed due to COVID nobody will have roommates, so that is nice. No need to worry about getting someone that I don't get along with. I got everything unpacked, and I'm going to relax/look around campus for a bit.

4:30pm,

Found the cafe and got some food, they were very nice and even though I was after the 4pm cutoff, they let me get both my lunch and dinner credit, which was nice as I neglected to stop for lunch on the trip over here. Back to the room to chow down.

5:30pm,

Decided I needed a couple things from walmart, like some bottle water to keep in the room, its actually not a far walk at all. Nice to have access to that so close especially since I have no vehicle here.

6:30pm,

Back at the room now, going to watch some TV, and write this update and then its off to bed early for me, class starts at 7am tomorrow morning, and I surely want to get some breakfast before then. I'll be back again tomorrow with another update.

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.

PackRat's Comment
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Good luck! You're on the neverending journey now.

Victor J.'s Comment
member avatar

March 17th, 6:00am,

Day starts early with breakfast @ about 6, class begins at 7.

6:50am,

The group is let into the class room a few minutes early, instructor confirms everyone's name, and where were from. Then we collect a couple pieces of paperwork and a safety handbook from a table before taking our seats.

First up was brief introductions, then it was right into business,

We got our documents(Driver's License, CDL Permit, Birth certificate) and were escorted down the hall to the office to have copies made.

After we got back to the classroom we were greet by the head of security, he gave us a rundown on who and what the company was, and his job here. Told us some things we should do, and should not do. Overall he spoke for 15 minutes or so and offered to answer any questions.

Next we were introduced to the chef for the cafe, he gave us our meal cards and explained how everything worked. We get $5.75 for breakfast, $7.25 for lunch, and $7.25 for dinner. None of which is transferable and can't be carried over to the next meal. It may seem like not that much, but it's quite a bit considering the prices in the cafe are really reasonable.

8:00am,

After filling out our "green folder" which was alot of information from the original application, like work history, references, ect. We went back down to the office for document verification, basically they are just checking over to make sure what your saying now lines up with what you originally gave them.

9:00am,

Done with document verification, off to the room to do computer based training(CBT), according to the lady from class this morning, its about 7 hour's worth of videos to watch, and 35 total modules. Thankfully I can do these on my laptop and not have to sit in the computer lab all day.

11:30am,

Took a break from CBT's to get some lunch, and sandwich and a salad both fit into the allowed budget.

1:00pm,

Time for simulator training, class started with a powerpoint presentation, explaining the fundamentals of a tractor + trailer and how the simulators work. After that we got right into simulator training routes, this went well. although it was different from what I expected. the brakes seems about 100 times more sensitive than I imagined.

4:00pm,

Simulator class is over, we did 2 different driving training courses, first was a simple on with no other traffic, just start on an onramp, and go down the highway a few miles, then get off on an exit and stop the truck smoothly. Next one was the same road but on the highway for longer, encountered some traffic/cars on the side of the road to slow down and move out of the way from, aswell as ascending/descending a slight grade. This got us changing lanes and learning how to use are decent control(cruise control + engine brake) correctly. Definitely going to need some more practice to get good at that.

The rest of the day will be filled with doing more CBT's and some dinner, then off to bed for class at 7am tomorrow. I'll be back tomorrow evening with another update.

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.

DWI:

Driving While Intoxicated

Victor J.'s Comment
member avatar

March 18th, 630am,

Off to roll call class this morning. Once arrived we had a substitute because the primary instructor had a couple days of vacation planned. after he introduced himself we got setup on the computers to take a Core Values Assessment. This helps them pair you with a trainer that your more likely to get along with I guess. After we completed this we were released to finish CBT's, I had mine all done last night, and our next scheduled activity was sim class @ 915pm.

4:00pm,

After studying pretrip for awhile I decided I'd take a short nap since its quite a long day. After getting up I took a trip over to walmart, grabbed a few things and then came back to my room. Going to study more pretrip until sim class tonight.

9:15pm,

Sim class started, this time we had 3 different scenarios, one was just plain highway with light traffic, nothing too new here, just getting us warmed up for what's next. The next was snow/icy conditions, this was very slippery and you must go VERY slow, the simulator did well on having smaller cars that were ignoring the conditions and flying/sliding past and out of their own lanes. And the 3rd was a city that you needed to pay EXTREME attentions to signs to know which way to go, most ways either said no trucks, or had a low bridge warning sign.

11:10pm,

After these 3 training scenarios, we were setup to take our assessment, it was actually quite a bit easier than the city scenario, but it had elements from all of the practice scenarios, traffic, important signs, roadwork, ect. I scored a 98/100 and passed on my first go. Apparently I did signal properly at the very start of the test when merging into traffic from the shoulder on an offramp. I was told I didn't leave my signal on long enough before starting to move, so the computer didn't register it properly. Either way I'm happy with it. the clearing process starts tomorrow for us to get our badges and be put in the pool to get assigned a trainer. Hopefully I get a trainer early and get behind the wheel sooner rather than later, I'm very excited to get going! I'm off to bed for the night, I report to class @ 8:00am tomorrow. I'm happy we get an extra hour to sleep, especially since it's almost midnight before getting back to my room.

Victor J.'s Comment
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March 19th, 8:00am,

Roll call class and to start the clearing/badging process. This needs to be done for us to be assigned a trainer. I wasn't in the first group cleared at 8am, so I was sent back to my room to study pre trip/do what I need to do, and wait for a phone call to tell me I was cleared and head to the badging room.

9:30am,

I was called down to the office, I meet requirements for them to have to send me to their doctor at the end of training to have a sleep apnea assessment done, they say this wont have any negative effects on getting offered a job after training, hopefully they are correct. Basically they said I get another DOT Physical from their doctor and if he determines I need to go for a sleep study then I will, and if that comes back positive for sleep apnea then they get me all the equipment for CPAP machine and stuff and payroll deduct it in small payments. After signing this form and putting it on file they said ill be back in line for the clearing process and ill get a call later to get badged.

2:00pm,

Got the call, went down to the room to get badged, after being badged they sent me right over to join classes at the Plaza building.

2:30pm,

arrived at plaza building and got put into a class room with all the other students still awaiting PSD trainers. We had a class on pretrip, and a class on tires. They also gave us a sheet to log all of our practice hours on, sections for Backing, Classroom, and Pre-trip. They also had us turn all our phones ringers on, and told us to expect a call at anytime from a trainer.

5:00pm,

Class is all over, we did some pretrip on a practice truck outside, and then got called into the class room to get our weekend schedule. I have tomorrow off and then go to class on 1pm on Sunday. Also ill be in class 8-5 M-F until I get a trainer. After you get a trainer you disregard this schedule and do whatever the trainer says.

Since I have no class on saturday there won't be an update unless I get a trainer. But Ill be sure to have a recap for Sunday after class.

Thanks for everyone's kind words and hopefully those that are following are enjoying my diary.

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.

Sleep Apnea:

A physical disorder in which you have pauses in your breathing, or take shallow breaths, during sleep. These pauses can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. Normal breathing will usually resume, sometimes with a loud choking sound or snort.

In obstructive sleep apnea, your airways become blocked or collapse during sleep, causing the pauses and shallow breathing.

It is a chronic condition that will require ongoing management. It affects about 18 million people in the U.S.

CPAP:

Constant Positive Airway Pressure

CPAP is a breathing assist device which is worn over the mouth or nose. It provides nighttime relief for individuals who suffer from Sleep Apnea.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

PSD:

Prime Student Driver

Prime Inc has a CDL training program and the first phase is referred to as PSD. You'll get your permit and then 10,000 miles of on the road instruction.

The following is from Prime's website:

Prime’s PSD begins with you obtaining your CDL permit. Then you’ll go on the road with a certified CDL instructor for no less than 75 hours of one-on-one behind the wheel training. After training, you’ll return to Prime’s corporate headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, for final CDL state testing and your CDL license.

Obtain CDL Permit / 4 Days

  • Enter program, study and test for Missouri CDL permit.
  • Start driving/training at Prime Training Center in Springfield, Missouri.
  • Work toward 40,000 training dispatched miles (minimum) with food allowance while without CDL (Food allowance is paid back with future earnings).

On-the-Road Instruction / 10,000 Miles

  • Train with experienced certified CDL instructor for 3-4 weeks in a real world environment.
  • Get 75 hours of behind-the-wheel time with one-on-one student/instructor ratio.
  • Earn 10,000 miles toward total 40,000 miles needed.
Anne A. (G13Momcat)'s Comment
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Still following; still enjoying!!

Today is the day ??!? Trainer ?

Let us KNOW~~!!!

~ Anne ~

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Victor J.'s Comment
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Quick update for yesterday(Sunday the 21st) while on on lunch today.

Class was quick, got to do a few laps around the training pad driving a lightweight with a trailer. No trainer call yet.

These updates are probably going to shift to daily recaps as I've not done really well with writing down this by the hour in my notebook, and I forsee it being harder after I get on the road.

I'll have post a recap for Monday the 22nd after I'm out of class for today. They have us in an 8a-5p class as a big group doing pretrip and some backing practice taking turns. This will continue until I get trainer.

Victor J.'s Comment
member avatar

Monday, March 22nd.

Today was fairly straightforward, we had class from 8a to 5pm. all of it was spent as a large group, around 25 of us, on the pad, rotating between straightline backing, driving laps around the pad, and going through pretrip on a few trucks they brought out there. Still no call from the trainer today.

There seems to be a shortage of trainers at the moment or something, theres people that have been cleared and waiting for over a week now. really hope that doesn't turn out the be the case for me. I had 2 people from my orientation class that were already out with trainers over the weekend.

Hopefully I'm not significantly reducing my chances by requesting a non smoker. Ill be back tomorrow with another update on how that goes, hoping for a trainer!

Victor J.'s Comment
member avatar

Monday, March 23, 9:00am

Been in class for about an hour, and RING RING, there goes my phone. I step away to answer and its my trainer! Met up with him around 10am, he went over his training plan briefly and got me hooked up with his videos for pre trip, and outlined on a sheet of paper which sections to work on today. He said he has multiple students, so today he is taking a different one on a quick haul, and he is going to meet me tomorrow at 8a and he said we'll start with going for a bobtail drive. After asking around, I learned that this guy was Instructor of the Year not too long ago. and other instructors that I talked to all seem to have good things to say about him, so I think I'm in good hands.

The rest of today is going to be spent continuously saying my pretrip, really focus on saying it aloud because I have it well memorized at this point, but I really just need to make sure I'm 100% used to saying it all so I don't get hung up or say the wrong phrase/verbiage.

I've been alittle worried that I'll have issues in the test, because I've had a studder/stammer my whole life so I frequently get stuck on/take a few seconds to get through some words. But I think the more practice saying it, The less it will effect me.

Bobtail:

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

Victor J.'s Comment
member avatar

Hey, sorry everyone for letting this diary go so long without an update. Most days were quite repetitive since my last post, they consisted of a couple hours on the backing pad with my trainers other students, then a couple hours of pre trip, and every few days I got to go for an hour or so long drive around town. Once I went to Branson and back.

Last Friday, April the 2nd, I took my CDL Test. I did great, 0 points on the pretrip and backing, and only 1 point on the drive. Apparently I left my turn signal on just a tad too long after changing lanes.

The weekend was fast paced and rush, I got the opportunity to drive home and see family/friends, and I drove back up on Monday night, so I was here for all my appointments related to a sleep study on Tuesday.

Currently I am having lunch, and waiting for my 3pm appointment to go back to the sleep lab and go over my results, really hoping I wasn't positive for sleep apnea , I can't described how much I don't want to have a CPAP.

I got my trainer for TNT assigned last night, and I should be leaving with him tomorrow(Thursday) morning. I don't imagine I will be updating this thread a ton more, but I'm going to to be best to post some periodic updates throughout TNT.

Also, I ended up switching my division from Reefer to Flatbed, after learning some more about it. Sounds like some extra physical work, but I think I'll enjoy it more than just pulling a box around every day.

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.

Sleep Apnea:

A physical disorder in which you have pauses in your breathing, or take shallow breaths, during sleep. These pauses can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. Normal breathing will usually resume, sometimes with a loud choking sound or snort.

In obstructive sleep apnea, your airways become blocked or collapse during sleep, causing the pauses and shallow breathing.

It is a chronic condition that will require ongoing management. It affects about 18 million people in the U.S.

CPAP:

Constant Positive Airway Pressure

CPAP is a breathing assist device which is worn over the mouth or nose. It provides nighttime relief for individuals who suffer from Sleep Apnea.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14¢ per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

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