Need Help With TNT Training For Prime

Topic 30904 | Page 1

Page 1 of 2 Next Page Go To Page:
James C.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi all, I know lots of these messages exist, but I suppose I feel at my wits end and don't know where else to turn.

Some background about me, I'm a former copper miner who worked on massive equipment for about three years before I lost my job. I had always wanted to get my CDL and try out trucking as I'm an introverted sort and I have no family or wife etc. So I looked at the companies and figured Prime was my best shot.

So, I'm a recent Prime PSD student who got his license out through Prime, and I had a really great trainer who helped me get a trifecta on my test. It really made me feel like I made the right choice and that Prime was a great company. Really, the guys at Salt Lake are wonderful people.

Went home, had to wait a week for a trainer and I get told the guy I got assigned is a great trainer who's had over 50 students. Awesome. Until I met the guy.

He's a clean kind of guy. Very professional and no nonsense, with lots of years as a vet. Comes off very rude but I don't make a fuss, I'm a guest in his home. It quickly becomes apparent to me I'm not viewed as a person but more like a thing, a dog even to train. I'm only allowed to do things when he says, as he says them.

Again, I get it. I'm an untested student and no one cares how well you did getting your CDL even with time out on the road doing it.

Its been over a month now, I'm at 21,000 miles and I'm trying so hard to hang in. This guy hasn't let up on me once, not as in to slacken the rules but to at least be more friendly. I'm working my "shift" which is midnight to noon, or I have to work when he says, which could be 9 hours on, 10 off, back to 9 hours of driving.

I don't complain, I know truckers have to do some dirty hours to get the job done, I understood that coming in. I take sleeping pills to make sure I get to bed even middle of the day on a moving truck. Which I might add, my trainer wont let me use the blackout curtains or even turn the AC up so if we're south, its hotter than hell.

But he doesn't let me talk to him, and believes if I can't do these things perfectly I'm a failure and should just go get a job at McDonald's. I'm not asking this guy to be my friend but some understanding that I might struggle at first would be nice.

So last night, after all the shouting, the restrictions on my person, which includes things like what I'm allowed to eat and drink, and what containers I'm even allowed to drink out of, he snaps when we were driving a long stretch of empty road at 3 AM and I get drowsy and lose focus a moment and the haptic alarm goes off.

Now I don't want to downplay the severity of proper rest and making sure a trucker can be focused on the road. But he had just got me done driving from 10 PM to 7 AM the morning before, then started again at 4 PM, with a small break at 2 AM to take showers.

He made me pull over, wouldn't let me continue and drove it himself, then sent a message to dispatch saying I couldn't finish my shift and he had to take over and my fleet manager is questioning why I couldnt work.

I'm trying so hard to make this work. Truth is I have no safety net, no family or funds to fall back on. I'm stressed out, losing my appetite, all that crap over being treated like a dog and now after a month it comes to this.

Other Prime drivers, is this something I can be fired for? I just want to stick this training out so I can begin my career in earnest. Nothing about trucking scares me or shys me away but I'm damn terrified this guy is gonna be the cause of my downfall.

Thanks for your time and any replies.

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.

Fleet Manager:

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.

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.
Turtle's Comment
member avatar

Yes, your trainer is taking things to an extreme by the sounds of it.

No, you won't be fired over this.

Rather than go into this trainer's faults, and believe me, trainers like this are a pet peeve of mine, instead I'll just ask you this:

Can you put up with it just a little while longer?

Sadly there are far too many trainers like this, regardless of the company. If you can just put your head down and get through this, it'll just be that much sooner that you can be off his truck and he'll be out of your life forever.

I know this is easier said than done. But yours is not an uncommon story. The best remedy is to just get it over with. You're very close. Don't let him take it away from you. Just smile and do your job, knowing the end is near.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

James C.'s Comment
member avatar

Thank you for your kind words, I know lots of people have gone through this, and I knew I would have a chance of it too.

As for if I can, of course, I can stick through it. I want this for myself and I have too much riding on it.

And I also have a very much newer viewpoint on the struggles and sacrifices truck drivers make, even if one enjoys it and I respect each and everyone of it, thank you for the kind words.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Hey James, thanks for reaching out to us!

This is a problem in our industry. There are far too many trainers who have decided to train just for the extra money. They aren't really interested in teaching, but they have controlling personalities they like to exercise over new drivers who are just hoping to survive the ordeal and move on to the next phase of their career. It is sad. We hear about these situations all the time.

There is a lot of pressure put on drivers to become trainers. I have had my arm twisted many times by some very well meaning folks. I have enjoyed considerable success at this career, but I also enjoy working alone and managing my own career. So far I have kept myself a solo driver, and I am quite content in that status. There are a lot of great drivers out here who are just like me. They are content, making good money, and not wanting to take on the responsibility of training new drivers.

One motivation used to lure drivers into training is the promise of a greater income. I pretty much get monthly emails encouraging me to get into training. Those messages contain examples of how much money the company’s trainers are making. It’s fair to say if a competent driver shows any interest in training, they will be moved into a training position. Consequently, we end up with a lot of trainers who have no aptitude for teaching. Our trainers end up in that position simply because they need the extra money. That is not an ideal way to build a reputable training program.

There are some really great trainers out there. I am happy to say I’ve met a few. My experiences indicate there are a lot of bad ones also. My exposure to trucking forum conversations confirms this. We see a lot of folks struggling with their trainers' antics. My trainer was solely motivated by the extra money, He provided me very little valuable instruction. I struggled with my training experience at first. In the end, I managed my way through it. I still learned a great deal, but it was mostly from exposing myself to the daily rigors of the job.

I completely agree with Turtle. You have made it for over 20,000 miles. You are more than half way done - Congratulations! You could request another trainer, but the odds are they may be just as ridiculous as the one you have, or they may even be worse! You don't want that. I have caught a little flack on occasion for trying to get a new driver to stick with a difficult trainer, but there is reason behind my madness. As long as the guy isn't pushing you to do things that are unsafe or illegal you should be able to learn a great deal just from the exposure to the job. Nobody at Prime is going to fire you for getting fatigued. You are new and you are in a stressful situation. Remember with each day you are getting closer to being emancipated. That's right, you are going to get your own truck assigned to you and that trainer will be a distant memory. You will be in charge of how you do things and you will probably realize at that point just how much you did learn from this crazy nut you are dealing with now. That was my experience, I hope it turns out to be yours also.

If you have time you might want to check out this article...

What Should I Expect To Learn From My Trainer?

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.

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

James C.'s Comment
member avatar

I really appreciate the article, and your advice. I should view this as more as a test for myself than anything and see how deep I can dig. I've never been an overly religious man but I always liked the sentiment that the good Lord sends us problems He knows we can overcome.

My last career tested my courage, mining is a job that's more about guts and critical thinking. Trucking from what I've seen requires a lot from a person but I feel good about what I've gone through and done thus far.

You're all really good people for coming and replying, it means far more to me than you know, thank you.

Chief Brody's Comment
member avatar

I went through Prime TNT and my trainer wasn't horrible but TNT is just simply a grueling experience. At some point I decided to adopt Andy Dufresne Persona from the movie Shawshank Redemption. The idea is no matter how bad your trainer is or no matter how grueling the TNT experience is just put your head down and make it through it. And before you know it will all be a distant memory.

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.

RealDiehl's Comment
member avatar
He made me pull over, wouldn't let me continue and drove it himself, then sent a message to dispatch saying I couldn't finish my shift and he had to take over and my fleet manager is questioning why I couldnt work.

Is your trainer a company driver? I ask bc if he is then you will be getting his FM as your FM. Communicate with your FM at least once a week. In a situation like the one quoted above, don't hesitate to call and explain what happened to your FM. Your trainer sending a msg saying you couldn't finish your shift can be interpreted as if the decision was yours.

We don't have all the info. When your trainer had you pull over did he give you a hard time about setting off the warning? Did you maybe mention you were feeling tired and lost concentration briefly? Whether or not you could have continued doesn't matter at that point. Your trainer can say that you said you were tired and he'd be justified in saying you couldn't finish your shift (whether you felt you could or not).

I'm not taking your trainer's side. I'm just pointing out how he could legitimately explain the reason for cutting your shift short.

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.

Fleet Manager:

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.
James C.'s Comment
member avatar

To answer RealDiehl, no he's a Lease Operator so Ill be getting a new FM. But, I still don't want a tarnished reputation so I have tried to contact him through the day, but I don't have his personal number just the one Prime gave me and other dispatches pick up and won't forward my call, only take messages.

As for the info, yes, he gave me a hard time about the warning, but he's also a paranoid person who even after a month of me driving without a single safety related event or close call still says daily how he doesn't trust me and not in a joking way.

And believe me I'm not saying I deserve trust or anything just because I've done well for a month. I know this is a job that can throw even an experienced driver curveballs because I've seen it happen to my trainer. He gets alarms for being too close to other cars in front, haptic alarms, hell he was stressed out one day and backed into a concrete barrier pretty hard.

I did tell him I was tired. I mentioned how this load we got wasn't planned, because dispatch had us take a load off a guy who was quitting and would meet us at the reciever, so I had not assumed I would only have a 10 hour rest break to get adequate rest. I had expected about 14-15 hours because that's how its always worked when we get a load with tight timing. We drive for 9 hours, then rest for 10, repeat till delivery. I'd rather do 11/10 but my trainer refuses to drive over 9 hours and wont let me. So, I made a mistake and was only able to sleep for 4 hours in what was going to end up being a 14 hour day.

Unfortunately, he didn't care. Said I acted irresponsible and I'm putting the motoring public's life in danger and regardless of how long my break is I should only be sleeping period.

I can see where he's coming from, even if he doesn't practice it himself, but I'm not a machine. I can't just smack an off button and power back on when he yells at me to get my ass out of bed when he feels like he wants to stop driving.

So my goal now is to just try and do as he says, if nothing else because getting that surprise load showed me you can't always expect to have extra time. I just wish he hadn't made it out to sound I quit and went to bed. I could have just taken a 30 minute nap and kept going but he wouldn't work with me on it.

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.

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

Old School's Comment
member avatar

James I just wouldn't worry about that message your trainer sent in. It's nothing. Nobody is sitting up in that office talking about how lousy you are. Your trainer has issues. You know it, and trust me when I say they know it. Just keep plugging away as you will soon be on your own. TNT is a grind. Set yourself into it and get it over with. There's a much better life waiting on you at the end of this chapter.

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.

RealDiehl's Comment
member avatar
And believe me I'm not saying I deserve trust or anything just because I've done well for a month

I agree. That sounds like a very level-headed assessment of your current skill level. That's good. You should feel that way even after you've completed training.

Where I disagree is with your trainer's demeanor. When I have a student my goal is to correct and encourage good habits, not to criticize. My behavior with a student/trainee should encourage that student to feel comfortable with asking questions and making decisions without being on edge all the time. Driving the truck makes a student nervous enough. A trainer should not make it even worse.

Per Old School:

James I just wouldn't worry about that message your trainer sent in. It's nothing. Nobody is sitting up in that office talking about how lousy you are

Very true. Especially - to put it bluntly - considering this FM has no real interest in your future. You will not be a part of his fleet. Furthermore, he has no clue who your FM will be once you upgrade. Don't allow that to cause you anymore stress.

Per Old School:

There's a much better life waiting on you at the end of this chapter.

Yep...Once you get your company FM you will be starting with a clean slate.

I did tell him I was tired. I mentioned how this load we got wasn't planned, because dispatch had us take a load off a guy who was quitting and would meet us at the reciever, so I had not assumed I would only have a 10 hour rest break to get adequate rest. I had expected about 14-15 hours because that's how its always worked when we get a load with tight timing. We drive for 9 hours, then rest for 10, repeat till delivery. I'd rather do 11/10 but my trainer refuses to drive over 9 hours and wont let me. So, I made a mistake and was only able to sleep for 4 hours in what was going to end up being a 14 hour day.

This kind of thing does happen. You might think you have plenty of time to get to where you need to be the next day. So you stay up for several hrs bc you think you have some time to kill. Then a msg comes in telling you you can delivery your load early. You don't have to deliver early but, if you want to get more driving hrs in (make more money), you will want to deliver early. Your trainer should be calmly explaining these things to you as these types of situations arise. It won't make you less tired but at least it will let you feel more confident that your trainer is aware of your situation. He should also tell you to feel free to find a place (time permitting) to park and rest for a short time if needed. This nonsense of barking orders at you and criticizing you for situations beyond your control is not the proper way to do things, imo.

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.
Page 1 of 2 Next Page Go To Page:

New Reply:

New! Check out our help videos for a better understanding of our forum features

Bold
Italic
Underline
Quote
Photo
Link
Smiley
Links On TruckingTruth


example: TruckingTruth Homepage



example: https://www.truckingtruth.com
Submit
Cancel
Upload New Photo
Please enter a caption of one sentence or less:

Click on any of the buttons below to insert a link to that section of TruckingTruth:

Getting Started In Trucking High Road Training Program Company-Sponsored Training Programs Apply For Company-Sponsored Training Truck Driver's Career Guide Choosing A School Choosing A Company Truck Driving Schools Truck Driving Jobs Apply For Truck Driving Jobs DOT Physical Drug Testing Items To Pack Pre-Hire Letters CDL Practice Tests Trucking Company Reviews Brett's Book Leasing A Truck Pre-Trip Inspection Learn The Logbook Rules Sleep Apnea
Done
Done

0 characters so far - 5,500 maximum allowed.
Submit Preview

Preview:

Submit
Cancel

Join Us!

We have an awesome set of tools that will help you understand the trucking industry and prepare for a great start to your trucking career. Not only that, but everything we offer here at TruckingTruth is 100% free - no strings attached! Sign up now and get instant access to our member's section:
High Road Training Program Logo
  • The High Road Training Program
  • The High Road Article Series
  • The Friendliest Trucker's Forum Ever!
  • Email Updates When New Articles Are Posted

Apply For Paid CDL Training Through TruckingTruth

Did you know you can fill out one quick form here on TruckingTruth and apply to several companies at once for paid CDL training? Seriously! The application only takes one minute. You will speak with recruiters today. There is no obligation whatsoever. Learn more and apply here:

Apply For Paid CDL Training

About Us

TruckingTruth was founded by Brett Aquila (that's me!), a 15 year truck driving veteran, in January 2007. After 15 years on the road I wanted to help people understand the trucking industry and everything that came with the career and lifestyle of an over the road trucker. We'll help you make the right choices and prepare for a great start to your trucking career.

Read More

Becoming A Truck Driver

Becoming A Truck Driver is a dream we've all pondered at some point in our lives. We've all wondered if the adventure and challenges of life on the open road would suit us better than the ordinary day to day lives we've always known. At TruckingTruth we'll help you decide if trucking is right for you and help you get your career off to a great start.

Learn More