Is This Normal For School Has Mine Over Enrolled?

Topic 30959 | Page 1

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Michael P.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi all,

I've been in school for 4 weeks. The first was in the classroom where we used a program called Bumper to Bumper to study and they gave us a pre-highlighted manual to highlight our books from. There was no actual teaching by the "instructor." For me this was fine because I just memorized the pre-tests since the questions were the same as at the DMV , but I did expect some sort of instructor led discussions or something.

At the start of the second week I had my permit so I went out to the pad. The pad consists of north, south, and middle sections. The middle section is purely used for straight back the first day you're on the pad and the truck sits the rest of the time for people to practice pre-trip. The south-side is used for offset practice and straight back for your test. The north-side is set up so you do an offset, back through the cones and then do blindside parallel. The north-side is also used for the offset/blindside parallel tests. Both sides on any given day have between 10 and 14 students and they send 8-12 students (4 per truck) twice a day on the road to practice shifting and such. I've been out 4 times in 3 weeks.

They started us in the middle and went over pre-trip one time. Then they taught us straight back the rest of the day. Since then, everyday we just read our scripts and run through pre-trip with other students before going to the side of the pad that we're currently assigned to. I've been on the south-side doing offsets for three weeks because there are too many people on the north-side. Luckily, the instructor on my side has started to rearrange the cones on the south-side to let me and a few others work on parallel though so I at least still feel like I'm progressing.

I feel like there are just far too many students on both sides of the pad. Tonight I got one time in the truck in 3.5 hours because I'm on the offset side and we had a several new students that don't have any idea what they're doing. Was this how your schools were ran too or has my school over-extended themselves?

TL;DR: I'm getting 2-4 turns a day to practice backing maneuvers. Is this normal?

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.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

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.

Andrey's Comment
member avatar

Yes, it is normal for some schools, it reminds me of NETTTS in North Andover, MA. Company training is very different and is much better.

Kerry L.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi all,

I've been in school for 4 weeks. The first was in the classroom where we used a program called Bumper to Bumper to study and they gave us a pre-highlighted manual to highlight our books from. There was no actual teaching by the "instructor." For me this was fine because I just memorized the pre-tests since the questions were the same as at the DMV , but I did expect some sort of instructor led discussions or something.

At the start of the second week I had my permit so I went out to the pad. The pad consists of north, south, and middle sections. The middle section is purely used for straight back the first day you're on the pad and the truck sits the rest of the time for people to practice pre-trip. The south-side is used for offset practice and straight back for your test. The north-side is set up so you do an offset, back through the cones and then do blindside parallel. The north-side is also used for the offset/blindside parallel tests. Both sides on any given day have between 10 and 14 students and they send 8-12 students (4 per truck) twice a day on the road to practice shifting and such. I've been out 4 times in 3 weeks.

They started us in the middle and went over pre-trip one time. Then they taught us straight back the rest of the day. Since then, everyday we just read our scripts and run through pre-trip with other students before going to the side of the pad that we're currently assigned to. I've been on the south-side doing offsets for three weeks because there are too many people on the north-side. Luckily, the instructor on my side has started to rearrange the cones on the south-side to let me and a few others work on parallel though so I at least still feel like I'm progressing.

I feel like there are just far too many students on both sides of the pad. Tonight I got one time in the truck in 3.5 hours because I'm on the offset side and we had a several new students that don't have any idea what they're doing. Was this how your schools were ran too or has my school over-extended themselves?

TL;DR: I'm getting 2-4 turns a day to practice backing maneuvers. Is this normal?

It varies from school to school. I went through a school not affiliated with a company and it was sometimes difficult getting enough reps in the truck for backing maneuvers. It was never as bad for me as what you are describing. I would say that in the interest of making money from tuition that the school has overestimated how many students it can bring in at a time and still provide quality training to each student. At the same time, I think what you are experiencing is more the norm than the exception for schools not affiliated with a company.

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.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

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.

Jamie's Comment
member avatar

This seems rather normal outside of company training, so they say. I don't know from actual experience, personally when I got started I applied at Schneider and when approved, they sent me to a private school that they partnered with. There were 8 hour us in the class, and only had two trucks to use. So normally there were 4 of us paired to a truck with a trainer. Although we had a great trainer, but we had limited seat time. But in the end, I got enough seat time to pass my test easily. But some other people in the class didn't pass on their first or second try, but everyone eventually did pass besides one.

These private schools aren't setup to give you maximize seat time, they try to book a lot of people together to make the most money out of it. But usually this is good enough to pass the states test and get your CDL , where you can then go to a company such as Schneider where they will put you through some more training to ensure you're good enough to go out by yourself.

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.
James H.'s Comment
member avatar

This sounds nothing like my experience at private CDL school. I spent as much time as I wanted in the classroom watching their videos on pre-trip, coupling, etc., etc., and 100% of my time at the range and on the road was 1 on 1 - just me, the instructor, and the truck.

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.
Old School's Comment
member avatar

Michael, so far you have been a text book case of doing things the way we don't recommend. I know you have your reasons, but that doesn't change the results. You went with a grant for school. Now you don't like what you are getting.

You are also wanting to start locally. I have a feeling you are going to be still coming to us for advice. It is very difficult to start a local trucking job and stay the course until you have developed your skills so they are commensurate with the demands of the job. I don't know how to advise you. The path you have chosen is very difficult. We always try to teach what we consider the "best practices." Once you stray from those it gets harder to reach the goals.

I understand your frustration. I learned about best practices the hard way. I paid $4,000.00 for CDL school and got maybe two and a half hours behind the wheel of a big truck. I got my CDL, but I got no confidence and I certainly developed no skills needed for the job. Unfortunately, your experience is quite common in private schools.

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.
Davy A.'s Comment
member avatar

Reading your experience makes me really grateful I took the advice here. Most of my school was just me and one other student in the truck. I had days where it was just me and the instructor. I literally practiced backing maneuvers all day, almost til I was sick of doing them. And the best part is that I was getting paid to learn them. Zero interest financing and no contract, I could leave anytime if I want and keep the zero interest loan.

Bobcat_Bob's Comment
member avatar

I went to private school and didn't have this problem, we had more than enough beind the wheel and pad time. It just all depends on the school unfortunately some are better than others.

Stevo Reno's Comment
member avatar

My 1st local school I went to (EDD Paid for) was an even worse night mare and lots of wasted time....Returnees would turn up now n then for more practice or whatever..... 1 day on patio I counted 27 heads @ $5,000+ a pop!! Only was 2 Volvos for road, 2 students 1 trainer... Owner thought a total of 3 drives @ 15 minutes was enough to learn a 10 speed HA NOT. 4 Trips to DMV test failed , 1 the truck failed,a bad governor which I told owner about numerous times....1 road truck sat a lot DEF filter would clog get "cleaned" not last a week n parked.........I moved on went with CRST, the school was WAY better..I had ALL of my maneuvers of parking various ways, down the first day. After told how to do each one, passed on my first final test try on the pad/road basically had my CDL in 10 days. 3 weeks total...After wasting months at 1st "school". Which amazingly, I drive past it, and see they are again overloaded, by the amount of students cars parked outside.....We basically helped & taught each other at that ZOO lol $5 grand pfffft maybe worth $1,500 max !!

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.

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.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

Kerry L.'s Comment
member avatar

This sounds nothing like my experience at private CDL school. I spent as much time as I wanted in the classroom watching their videos on pre-trip, coupling, etc., etc., and 100% of my time at the range and on the road was 1 on 1 - just me, the instructor, and the truck.

That is most definitely a rare occurrence at any trucking school. Consider yourself blessed.

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.
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