Bit The Bullet

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John C.'s Comment
member avatar

So I put a deposit down on trucking school, starts first part of March,, I could have done it sooner, but it gets cold out here in the Boston area. I was getting overwhelmed, with all the info on trucking out there, so I said to myself, hell with it I am just going to sign up for school and take it as it comes. I know what I want, in terms of a schedule, home daily, short routes, ect. Going with a company sponsored program didn't appeal to me, I think I will have more options if I just go to trucking school. So, I am not going to get overwhelmed with things and just take it as it comes. I turn 60 in January, after a 30 plus years as a painting contractor,,, So ready for a Change!

IDMtnGal 's Comment
member avatar

Welcome to Trucking Truth!

Here are some links that will help you learn about the driving world. They will help you to become not confused:

Paid CDL Training Programs

At 63 I went to a trucking school and it was the worst decision ever because all they ever teach you is to get your CDL with very minimal training on a truck. The only saving grace was I drove from 88 to 93 and had the basics, but trucks had changed and so had the hours of service. So then I struggled for the next 1.5 years working for a small company that really didn't train me properly. I've been out here seven years now and see the training of these schools and see the training of company sponsored training and see better drivers from the company sponsored schools.

Others will be along to give you more information.

Laura

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.

Company Sponsored Training:

A Company-Sponsored Training Program is a school that is owned and operated by a trucking company.

The schooling often requires little or no money up front. Instead of paying up-front tuition you will sign an agreement to work for the company for a specified amount of time after graduation, usually around a year, at a slightly lower rate of pay in order to pay for the training.

If you choose to quit working for the company before your year is up, they will normally require you to pay back a prorated amount of money for the schooling. The amount you pay back will be comparable to what you would have paid if you went to an independently owned school.

Company-sponsored training can be an excellent way to get your career underway if you can't afford the tuition up front for private schooling.

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

Is the school on the FMCSA's Training Provider Registry List? If they are not prior to Feb 7, 2022, you cannot take the CDL A skills test for your license.

"Bite the Bullet"? Hope you didn't shoot yourself in the foot.

"More Options"? As what? A brand new driver with zero experience? You will be a liability, not an asset.

We usually recommend company sponsored training and we never recommend starting off as a local driver.

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.

CSA:

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle

FMCSA:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The FMCSA was established within the Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000. Their primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.

What Does The FMCSA Do?

  • Commercial Drivers' Licenses
  • Data and Analysis
  • Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement
  • Research and Technology
  • Safety Assistance
  • Support and Information Sharing

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.

Company Sponsored Training:

A Company-Sponsored Training Program is a school that is owned and operated by a trucking company.

The schooling often requires little or no money up front. Instead of paying up-front tuition you will sign an agreement to work for the company for a specified amount of time after graduation, usually around a year, at a slightly lower rate of pay in order to pay for the training.

If you choose to quit working for the company before your year is up, they will normally require you to pay back a prorated amount of money for the schooling. The amount you pay back will be comparable to what you would have paid if you went to an independently owned school.

Company-sponsored training can be an excellent way to get your career underway if you can't afford the tuition up front for private schooling.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

I totally agree with PackRat.

No school, private or company sponsored teaches a student how-to be a safe and proficient truck driver. They all teach what is required to pass the CDL A tests. That’s it, nothing more.

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.
John C.'s Comment
member avatar

Well, you have to start somewhere, I researched schools and company sponsored, and choose to go the route of a school, No I did not shoot my self in the foot, I feel like I made the right choice, for what my goals are.

I totally agree with PackRat.

No school, private or company sponsored teaches a student how-to be a safe and proficient truck driver. They all teach what is required to pass the CDL A tests. That’s it, nothing more.

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.

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.

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

Well, you have to start somewhere, I researched schools and company sponsored, and choose to go the route of a school, No I did not shoot my self in the foot, I feel like I made the right choice, for what my goals are.

double-quotes-start.png

I totally agree with PackRat.

No school, private or company sponsored teaches a student how-to be a safe and proficient truck driver. They all teach what is required to pass the CDL A tests. That’s it, nothing more.

double-quotes-end.png

Okay John C. Time will tell more on your choices. We teach best practices here that are proven to work. Good luck.

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.

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.

RealDiehl's Comment
member avatar

You may get recruiters coming to your school. It is important to get information about their training process. If possible choose a company that has a comprehensive training program. As others have mentioned, starting your career as a local driver will be extremely challenging. You may find yourself woefully unprepared to handle all aspects of the job.

The reason company sponsored schooling and training are recommended is because they usually have a more extensive training program and they are less likely to send you packing for minor incidents.

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.

Chris P.'s Comment
member avatar
Is the school on the FMCSA's Training Provider Registry List? If they are not prior to Feb 7, 2022, you cannot take the CDL A skills test for your license.

Where do you find this list? I googled, and I see where to register on it, but I don't see the list itself. I'm curious if the school I wanted to go with is on it.

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.

CSA:

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle

FMCSA:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The FMCSA was established within the Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000. Their primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.

What Does The FMCSA Do?

  • Commercial Drivers' Licenses
  • Data and Analysis
  • Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement
  • Research and Technology
  • Safety Assistance
  • Support and Information Sharing

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.
P G.'s Comment
member avatar

I’m still a little confused by 2 articles Brett wrote regarding private schools vs paid training. One is titled “Why I Prefer Paid CDL Training Over Private CDL Training”, where his opinion is self explanatory. One is titled “Private Schooling Vs Company Sponsored: The Basic Differences”. In this article he states private training is preferred if you can afford it. I understand most of the moderators and contributors recommend paid training. I couldn’t find the dates the articles were written, so I’m not sure which one is most current. I value his opinion and decades of experience and I’m hoping Brett can clarify what he thinks is best in 2021-22.

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

Your approach can work, despite the conventional wisdom on this forum. It did in my case. It's true that CDL school teaches what you need to pass the test and that's all. But your first employer will know that, and won't just toss you the keys to a truck. I was hired locally with my brand-new CDL by one of the largest LTL companies in the country, after passing a road test with one of their drivers. My first three weeks on the job were training (paid at my entry-level driver hourly rate). First week was company orientation and a little driving. Week two I was with a P&D driver, week three was with a linehaul driver. In my case, after that they felt comfortable sending me out on my own to do linehaul. If necessary, new hires would repeat weeks two or three of the training.

If you haven't already done so, I would ask your school where their graduates got their first jobs. And ask the companies that interest you whether your school is on their safety department's list of approved trainers.

Good luck and safe travels!

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

P&D:

Pickup & Delivery

Local drivers that stay around their area, usually within 100 mile radius of a terminal, picking up and delivering loads.

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

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.
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