Managing Expectations After Getting Out Of Truck Driving School. Are My Expectations Realistic?

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TwoSides11's Comment
member avatar

It is also alarming how many people think that jobs are suddenly available for rookies just because the media tells us there is a driver shortage. There have been reports of driver shortages for decades now. Why all of a sudden do newcomers think, "This is great, they will hire anybody now days"

That is exactly what I thought coming in and very quickly realized that the "driver shortage" they are referring to is more for OTR drivers.

I am a recent grad and my first thoughts were to get a local job and start a career. I did a road test for a local company 2 days after I graduated and did not pass because of the lack of knowledge. My downshifting needed work, I did not mention the trailer registration card in my pre trip, along with other minor/major things like the proper use of the Jake brake, how to set the tandems according to weight and the proper paperwork needed for the specific load. Local companies just don't have the time or patience to teach that. Local companies, in my experience so far, want drivers with more experience so all they have to do is teach the driver the route. Also realized that going to orientation for a company is not an automatic hire.

My expectations have changed and I now realize it is best to do regional or OTR for a few months. Not saying you won't find a local company that will hire inexperienced drivers but for me in the Southeast part of PA, companies don't hire recent grads. Not sure how they do it out west. You might be able to find a regional route with 3 days out. If that's what your looking for. But don't quote me on that though

Hope this helps and I hope it won't deter you from seeking a career in trucking. Good luck!

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

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.

Tandems:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Chief Brody's Comment
member avatar

Something of concrete substance:

Is there really a truck driver shortage.

TwoSides11's Comment
member avatar
Gone are the days where rookie drivers can't get local jobs. Trucking companies are in desperate need of butts in seats. You will have no problem finding a local job

This is what I thought when I graduated CDL school. Like I posted above, I don't know how they hire out West but where I'm at (Southeast, PA) that is not true. If it were I would have a local driving job and definitely have had more than one road test for a local company. I have called many local companies and only one had me come in for a road test. The others told me they needed more experience. The one that had me come in was in dire need of "butts in seats." Like Old School mentioned, that might be your perception and not the truth for the trucking world as a whole.

Fact. The shortage of drivers with trucking companies is well documented...... Do you have anything of concrete substance to refute what I have stated, something other than referencing what was true in the industry 20 years ago?

Again, this is misleading. Chief Brody provided an article and I'm here as a personal reference to refute that statement. I am actively talking with veteran local, regional , O/O and OTR drivers (10yrs plus) and the "shortage of drivers" are definitely not local or regional. From my research I have learned that driver retention and retirement are the leading causes for the shortage of OTR drivers. This information I gathered by actually talking with drivers in the street. Seasoned drivers don't want to fill those positions and me as a recent grad would rather run regional than OTR.

Im definitely not trying to cause trouble here. This site is committed to the truth in trucking as a whole, not ones personal view points. Thats what makes this different than any other site. I just had to add my findings on the matter to clear up any misleading statements

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.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Kerry L.'s Comment
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I am looking at trucking school. My needs after training, is a job that offers the following nighttime hours. 11 pm and 11am. Ok with up to 3 days on road, home daily is preferred and in the Las Vegas tri state region. This all being just right out of school…. Am I setting myself up for disappointment? Thanks for your time..

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What is the basis for anything you said?

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Fact. The shortage of drivers with trucking companies is well documented. LTL companies hire people straight out of CDL school quite regularly now. Do you have anything of concrete substance to refute what I have stated, something other than referencing what was true in the industry 20 years ago?

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Joe Biden is an alien!

Do you have anything of concrete substance to refute that?

In the world of "facts" you don't get to throw out unsubstantiated statements and then demand others prove you wrong.

YOU have to support what YOU say with facts and reason.

Companies that hire rookie drivers specifically for local routes or linehaul:

XPO Logistics LSG SkyChefs Labatt FFE Old Dominion FedEx Freight SAIA Estes

All of those companies hire right out of CDL school with no experience and directly into a local route or linehaul position. Pretty sure there are more, but can't recall right offhand. Please don't act like you are the authority on a subject when your information is outdated and long since proven false. How is it proven false? By the thousands of rookie drivers every year starting local work straight out of CDL school.

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.

LTL:

Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier

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.

Linehaul:

Linehaul drivers will normally run loads from terminal to terminal for LTL (Less than Truckload) companies.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning them to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Kerry L.'s Comment
member avatar

Kerry, you are going to have to be careful how you give advice. Beverly's main question is, "are my expectations realistic?" It's a great question, and one in which none of us really knows the answer. LTL jobs are highly dependent on your location. We don't know hers - she hasn't shared it with us. It is also alarming how many people think that jobs are suddenly available for rookies just because the media tells us there is a driver shortage. There have been reports of driver shortages for decades now. Why all of a sudden do newcomers think, "This is great, they will hire anybody now days!"

I encouraged her to look into LTL. It sounds like what she needs, but just because a person may get hired in a local home nightly position doesn't mean all is well. History has shown us there are some real problems associated with starting a trucking career that way. We are trying to help her set some realistic expectations. We have members here who started with LTL who have done well, and continue to do well. We have also had a few who had a very minor accident and then got thrown to the curb and had a devil of a time finding work as a driver. I can think of two or three right off the top of my head. These companies are not really set up as self-insured entities and there lies the problem. The large OTR companies can and do put a lot more effort into helping new drivers get established. They will be quick to provide more training or help if the driver is struggling with safety issues. We want new drivers and drivers like yourself who have limited experience and are trying to get back in to learn how "best practices" can help them get established in a successful trucking career.

You may think the industry standards have changed considerably because of a perceived shortage of drivers, but I don't recommend counting those chicks before they've hatched. That's what I mean about realistic expectations. Right now you may have high expectations for yourself and that is fine. You have a little experience that will help you in your search. Beverly has none. We want to guide her carefully so she can make a solid start. You have already experienced somewhat of a sudden shock when you started, so you know how easily things can go south in this business. We want to help her have a good understanding of what she is up against. Telling her a driver shortage has made it a cake walk to get in wherever she wants is not good advice, and it is based on your perceptions not solid facts.

Ok, you are correct that the availability of local jobs is dependent on location. I will admit that my response was biased by my location (DFW) where local jobs are plentiful, even for rookie drivers. As to driver shortage, this fact is evidenced by companies recently raising pay significantly (some companies offering highest base pay increases ever recently). I am not some uninformed idiot who just posts for the hell of it. I get tired of "old hands" convincing people just getting into the industry that they HAVE TO go OTR right out of CDL school. Just isn't true. Maybe 20 years ago that was true, but not anymore. Plenty of local route and linehaul options for rookie drivers with a clean MVR , clear background, and good work history. Issues in those areas and that's where options become a bit less open. Thank you for your feedback. I don't want you to think that I am coming at you like you don't know what you are talking about, but please don't discount me as some posting idiot.

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.

LTL:

Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier

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.

Linehaul:

Linehaul drivers will normally run loads from terminal to terminal for LTL (Less than Truckload) companies.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning them to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.

Dm:

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.

MVR:

Motor Vehicle Record

An MVR is a report of your driving history, as reported from your state Department of Motor Vehicles. Information on this report may include Drivers License information, point history, violations, convictions, and license status on your driving record.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Kerry L.'s Comment
member avatar

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It is also alarming how many people think that jobs are suddenly available for rookies just because the media tells us there is a driver shortage. There have been reports of driver shortages for decades now. Why all of a sudden do newcomers think, "This is great, they will hire anybody now days"

double-quotes-end.png

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That is exactly what I thought coming in and very quickly realized that the "driver shortage" they are referring to is more for OTR drivers.

I am a recent grad and my first thoughts were to get a local job and start a career. I did a road test for a local company 2 days after I graduated and did not pass because of the lack of knowledge. My downshifting needed work, I did not mention the trailer registration card in my pre trip, along with other minor/major things like the proper use of the Jake brake, how to set the tandems according to weight and the proper paperwork needed for the specific load. Local companies just don't have the time or patience to teach that. Local companies, in my experience so far, want drivers with more experience so all they have to do is teach the driver the route. Also realized that going to orientation for a company is not an automatic hire.

My expectations have changed and I now realize it is best to do regional or OTR for a few months. Not saying you won't find a local company that will hire inexperienced drivers but for me in the Southeast part of PA, companies don't hire recent grads. Not sure how they do it out west. You might be able to find a regional route with 3 days out. If that's what your looking for. But don't quote me on that though

Hope this helps and I hope it won't deter you from seeking a career in trucking. Good luck!

Driver shortage does vary from city to city, so I can most easily speak on DFW where I live and local jobs here ate plentiful. Obviously it is not going to be the same, say in Baton Rouge, LA, or any other randomly chosen major city. So, I believe that we both have valid points.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

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.

Tandems:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Old School's Comment
member avatar
please don't discount me as some posting idiot.

No one has done that yet. The only person who has been critical is in your mirror. You are an unemployed CDL holder who insists he knows more than these "old hands" who are out here doing the job every day. All I asked is that you be careful with your advice. None of it has been very helpful yet. You insist a driver shortage is driving wages and opportunities, but most of us don't even think there is a driver shortage. We've been told about it for several decades now.

There are several problems with starting local in this industry. We would like for our members to be well informed so they don't lose their opportunity to get established. Local jobs for rookies come with considerable risks that we would like for people to be aware of. We teach what are the industry's "best practices." You may think those practices are antiquated and out of date, but then you are still looking for employment and didn't do so well when you were employed at TransAm. At this point you have very limited amounts of valuable information to offer. You know what you have read and that is about it. That's why we ask you to be careful with what you offer. You act as though your information is current and accurate while discounting people here who are making it happen out here every day. We will not tolerate that in our forum.

We are here to help people learn how to make a good start in the trucking industry. That is something you have yet to even do. We want to be empathetic with the trials they go through and the needs they have for employment. We want to encourage them to find a good solid path to success out here, and we want to inspire them to be great at what they do. You are short in all those areas. We believe you can get there and will do what we can to help you. In fact if we didn't believe it we would have already been done with you. We wouldn't continue to be civil and helpful with you. We are going to keep teaching what we know is helpful and proper. We are going to continue trying to help you with your own issues. We have offered companies for you to look at and you certainly seem to be looking into some of them. We are glad for that. We just want you to realize you have much to learn at this point. It might not be the best time for you to be giving advice, but rather soaking it in.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Vicki M.'s Comment
member avatar

I am looking at trucking school. My needs after training, is a job that offers the following nighttime hours. 11 pm and 11am. Ok with up to 3 days on road, home daily is preferred and in the Las Vegas tri state region. This all being just right out of school…. Am I setting myself up for disappointment? Thanks for your time..

Hi Beverly, fellow Las Vegas resident here, lived there since 1981. So I looked into local jobs before I went OTR. If you can find something LTL , that might be perfect. But many local jobs (such as Brady, food delivery, etc) require you not only to unload, but go into some really tight, near impossible docks. Go downtown sometime and cruise through the alleys and see if you think you can park a truck there...I know people do it, but how I honestly don't know. Also go down to the strip and try to find the receiving areas of the larger resorts. After I saw a few, I knew that local work wasn't for me. Ever probably. One thing you might look into is construction...They have big trucks and seem to work at night mostly. One of my neighbors does it, drives a belly dump with a pup and works nights. I honestly couldn't even tell you where to begin researching, but I'd try Las Vegas Paving as a start. Good luck in your search!

LTL:

Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier

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.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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