Machinist Going Trucker

Topic 30457 | Page 1

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Keiff Ti's Comment
member avatar

This is an intro post/school review with a couple questions at the end. I'm a 30 y/o Marine vet that's been a specialized machinist for 5 years till I got layed off earlier this year. I decided that getting my CDL would allow me to experience a new trade, see the country, and allow me to choose where I want to move to call my new home. My step father owns a diesel shop so he as well as my mom are very supportive of this transition.

I'm going to PA pride in NW PA. The first week of instruction was very good, allowing me to get my general knowledge, combo, and air brakes knowledge tests passed on my first attempt. They accidentally scheduled us a week early and didn't have trucks for us this week, so I brushed up on doubles/triples and tanker and successfully passed both tests my first attempt today. Tomorrow I apply for my TWIC card.

The company that I have the most interest in is Schneider as an OTR bulk driver. They seam to be the only company that has both a veterans apprenticeship and bulk w/ Hazmat for rookie drivers.

I'm curious if peoples experience with either the vet apprenticeship and/or bulk OTR with Schneider.

Thanks for any feedback Keith

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

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.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Pete B.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi Keith, I’ve been an OTR bulk driver with Schneider for a little over four years now; I don’t know anything about the vet apprenticeship program, however. And, thank you for your service. I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have. -Pete

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.

Keiff Ti's Comment
member avatar

Thanks Pete. My biggest concern really is the expectation of wearing full gear (bibs, jacket, helmet, respirator, and helmet) in 100° weather. While it's certainly doable, I feel the absolute sweaty mess one would become makes attentiveness suffer, therefore actually increasing the risk of safety. I'm curious as to whether the control is in the hands of the driver to balance PPE and being comfortable enough you don't risk something like passing out due to overheating or just general cognitive deterioration.

Hi Keith, I’ve been an OTR bulk driver with Schneider for a little over four years now; I don’t know anything about the vet apprenticeship program, however. And, thank you for your service. I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have. -Pete

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.

David W.'s Comment
member avatar

Check your state but some states allow you to convert your military license to a cdl.

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.
Keiff Ti's Comment
member avatar

I never drove anything more than stake beds and vans 10 years ago so that isn't applicable to me, but it's definitely something people who have been out less than a year to keep in mind.

Check your state but some states allow you to convert your military license to a cdl.

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.
Pete B.'s Comment
member avatar

First, the respirator… Only once in the 4+ years I’ve been working have a ever had to put on a respirator, and that was a full face respirator that I had to sign out and put on specifically for one job. I sat there in the cab wearing the respirator while I was getting loaded. The respirator was to protect me from the vapors of the chemical they were putting into my trailer. When I made the delivery I don’t remember if I was escorted to a waiting room or again stayed in the cabin during the offload, but I did not offload the chemical myself. Chemicals that toxic, you won’t get to touch. The plant’s and refinery’s staff will offload the really toxic inhalation hazardous chemicals for you. The respirator is there for you in case there’s some sort of emergency at the plant or refinery.

The chemical suit, worn on a semi-regular basis, can get hot. However I’ve never felt like I was going to pass out or near any loss of cognitive function. My only issue had been sweating profusely, with the perspiration dripping onto my safety glasses; I fixed that problem by wearing a bandanna under my hardhat, which I do now all the time anyway because it’s more comfortable. After offloads I’ve made wearing the chemical suit, before I drive off I’ll step into the back of my cab and strip down, changing into a clean, dry set of clothes. Because everything I’ve had on under the suit gets saturated with perspiration.

In summary, the respirator is a non-issue, as is the chemical suit. In the wintertime, the chemical suit is a bonus to have. The jacket, because it doesn’t breathe, traps your body heat, helping keep you warm.

Keiff Ti's Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the answer. It was the only thing I was worried about and I'll definitely be keeping more sets of clothes for changing.

First, the respirator… Only once in the 4+ years I’ve been working have a ever had to put on a respirator, and that was a full face respirator that I had to sign out and put on specifically for one job. I sat there in the cab wearing the respirator while I was getting loaded. The respirator was to protect me from the vapors of the chemical they were putting into my trailer. When I made the delivery I don’t remember if I was escorted to a waiting room or again stayed in the cabin during the offload, but I did not offload the chemical myself. Chemicals that toxic, you won’t get to touch. The plant’s and refinery’s staff will offload the really toxic inhalation hazardous chemicals for you. The respirator is there for you in case there’s some sort of emergency at the plant or refinery.

The chemical suit, worn on a semi-regular basis, can get hot. However I’ve never felt like I was going to pass out or near any loss of cognitive function. My only issue had been sweating profusely, with the perspiration dripping onto my safety glasses; I fixed that problem by wearing a bandanna under my hardhat, which I do now all the time anyway because it’s more comfortable. After offloads I’ve made wearing the chemical suit, before I drive off I’ll step into the back of my cab and strip down, changing into a clean, dry set of clothes. Because everything I’ve had on under the suit gets saturated with perspiration.

In summary, the respirator is a non-issue, as is the chemical suit. In the wintertime, the chemical suit is a bonus to have. The jacket, because it doesn’t breathe, traps your body heat, helping keep you warm.

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