My Prime Orientation / PSD Experience

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Anne A. (G13Momcat)'s Comment
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Hay, Dennis!

Excellent diary in the making, thank you SO much, on behalf of all of us here on TT, newbies, lurkers, (and I'm SURE, Brett . . as well!)

Awesome on finally getting your 'badge of honor!!' YAY!

So, let me get this clear *for future readers, too* ... you're checked into a 'different' room at the same hotel?!?! Oh, wow! Well, that's trucking is sure right on, there!!

Excellent sharing, good sir. I'm stoked to follow, as I expect you are, to post. How COOL on meeting Bill, eh? Have you found/met the likes of Rainy/Kearsey yet? I'm sure she'll create a video, and you'd better post it, haha!

Yeah, stay safe of the weather. It's kinda 'skirting' us...at least 'my parts' of Ohio, ... for now anyway! (Ah, wet pillows, no bueno!)

Keep on keeping on, good sir. All the best;

~ Anne ~

good-luck.gif good-luck-2.gif good-luck.gif

Dennis L's Comment
member avatar

Thanks Anne.

Actually I’m in a new room at a different hotel. My original room was at the Oasis Hotel & Convention Center right next door to Prime’s Campus Inn / Training Center. I’m now in a room at Prime’s Campus Inn. So now I’m at the same facility with the orientation training rooms, cafe, and shuttle buses. More convenient.

There are so many people here that they are being housed in several nearby hotels.

The two classes that started last week on Mon and Wed were about 120 and 90 people. This week it was 85 and 85. I hear that the CDL instructors are a bit busy right now trying to catch up and weather isn’t helping.

I am communicating with Kearsey. Gave her a driver referral bonus (not sucking up). Haven’t met her yet. She will try to snag me as her student once I’m issued a driver code on Friday, but no promises. Prime is prioritizing students who have been here longer waiting for a trainer to get one. That is the fair thing to do from student perspective. I’d be upset if I’d been here 2-3 weeks waiting on a trainer and see some new person getting one ahead of me because of personal contacts with trainers. Just saying.

Since I’m on here replying I’ll add a comment about the COMDATA ID card that I overlooked. Prime will refund me the $350 travel expenses to my account on that card. Then I can use it like a MasterCard ATM debit card. I emailed photos of my receipts to my recruiter. I’ll get the funds in 1-2 weeks. Mine is a non-employee card colored green.

Once I’m hired after getting my CDL (knock on wood), I’ll be issued a purple employee card/badge. At that time Prime will check my account balances and transfer over. If I don’t use any of the $200 student loan, then it is deleted.

Prime has a good process here to manage so many trainees. This place operates like the overseas oil operation bases that I worked on. A lot of memories flooding back.

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.
Dennis L's Comment
member avatar

One last after thought, then promise I’m done.

A handful of people in my class drove their personal vehicles to Orientation rather than bus, fly, or rental (like I did).

Prime Security does have a secured long-term parking lot that they can use while out on training. They get a parking access sticker from Security.

It was stressed to us that personal vehicles are not allowed at the Plaza center for pad training sessions. Everyone takes a shuttle.

Dennis L's Comment
member avatar

Day 4 - 02/03/22

I said that I wasn’t going to update today, but I lied to myself.

Had a good nights sleep with No early alarm clock crowing at me. I have a talking alarm clock that crows like a rooster to be sure that I hear it. Getting used to getting up early again. One benefit of retirement is no set schedule.

Woke up to 5”-6” of snow so far and cold at 12F. High of 20F expected today. More snow tonight. The extended forecast is for cold weather.

Glad we are not on the training pad today! I’m prepared to keep my upper body warm with layers, but I only have jeans for my legs. I didn’t think ahead to get a pair of insulated long underwear, even though now recalling that Turtle recommended that in his Dec-2016 diary. Do so if you are planning to attend training in the winter. I’m NOT walking two blocks to Walmart today, but maybe this weekend will have time. I might try putting on both pair of jeans that I brought. Anyway, there are consequences for our oversights in Trip Planning.

I want to expand on a few topics for my own record and to share.

1. The dreaded CBT’s We were warned to allow 8-9 hours to complete the 44 CBT’s. It took me 7 hours working on a Prime computer terminal. I did not bring my laptop, so didn’t work it from my hotel room at night.

One guy told me in passing that he completed all by mid-afternoon of the first day using an App on his phone. It could have been Ten Street Driver Pulse. I did see later that Prime tracked our progress in completing these 44 assigned tasks in the App. I don’t know. I wasted 2.5 hours sitting in line during Orientation for a 10 minute interview. Maybe could have been working CBT on a phone App. Something for future attendees to check out.

That said, I did watch all videos completely. They vary in length. There are also several forms to quickly complete and sign. The videos contained some new information for me and some redundancy, but all good info. The video quizzes were easy. Frankly, the hardest thing for me was using the computer mouse to sign my name 44 times making it look like a real signature. Try writing Dennis Longhorn 44 times! Whoops, I let it slip what my Longhorn steer avatar represents.

2. “Early is on time, on time is Late”. Prime prides itself on its record of outstanding Customer Service by consistent delivery performance. Orientation and PSD training is an extended job interview. It is stressed that being late for any scheduled roll call training sessions demonstrates that you will not be a reliable driver. Excuses don’t matter. Plan ahead to be early. People are called out on this by name in front of the entire group to set the example for the rest of us.

Fortunately only a few people in my class suffered from this. One guy came close to being sent home, but Prime was giving him an extra chance.

3. Security Briefing The attendees here are a very diverse group. I was a little surprised by the number of women, even though Kearsey does a lot videos about women drivers with Prime.

The Security Director briefing got straight to the point that sexual harassment is not tolerated in any form. It was the same at my former employer, we did annual training on sexual harassment. In my role as a supervisor I had definite responsibility to maintain a harassment free work place.

However, the way it was presented here was very different. Maybe because this is a trucking company and there is a chance of being paired in a trainers truck with the opposite sex in close quarters for 2-3 months.

He started by stating that this is not eHarmony or Match.com, so if you came here to find your next true love, forget it! Message: keep it in your pants guys and gals. No fraternization allowed. Avoid a sexual harassment complaint. There have been some, including accused rape.

You’ve been warned.

Time for lunch.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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.

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.

Dennis L's Comment
member avatar

Day 4 continued

I had an interesting conversation at lunch with a member of my class who is still waiting for his medical clearance to be badged. He is an experienced former driver / diesel mechanic with current CDL. Once cleared he will be placed with a trainer in flatbed.

His situation is one that I planned ahead to avoid before coming to Orientation based upon a posting that Kearsey had made regarding certain prescription drugs that Prime frowns upon, even if FMCSA approved. Obviously this is not advertised ahead of time, so people can get tripped up.

In his case, there were former prescriptions still listed on his Doctor’s list of drugs being taken. Some are on the questionable list. So, he has his wife (a trauma nurse) are obtaining a letter from his Doctor explaining that these are no longer prescribed. It takes time, so slowing him down.

In my case, I went to my Doctor on 12/23/21 and agreed that I would stop taking an anxiety med that I think is on Prime’s list more than 30-days before Orientation. I disclosed the med on my DOT medical long form back in early November and was approved for my medical certificate. I had a current 01/24/22 Doctor visit report with me that showed my updated prescription list (BP meds), good BP reading, and a statement that my doctor agreed on 12/23/21 to stop the anxiety med. The Orientation process lady and Medical were good with this.

Maybe I didn’t need to worry about this, but I didn’t want to take any chances of being sent home. I need this new career adventure to work out for various reasons.

Finally, another item from the Security Briefing that I remember to be important. It was stressed that drivers are not to post any specific information about our loads on social media for the privacy and security of our customers freight. Prime has people that spend their day monitoring social media for violating this policy. If caught violating, the Security Chief will shut you down wherever you are and send someone to get your truck, because you are fired.

So, I will strive to be mindful of this when posting.

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

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Dennis L's Comment
member avatar

Day 4 continues

I just tried on both pairs of jeans together and it works! Yahoo! Will have trapped air insulating between them, too. Glad I tend to wear relax fit jeans.

Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome!

Also confirmed with Campus Inn front desk that I will not be changing hotel rooms again until picked up by a trainer. One less thing to be nagging me.

Dennis L's Comment
member avatar

Day 5 - 02/04/22. First day of PSD.

Up at 07:00. Caught shuttle to Plaza at 8:06. Two shuttles left at same time both full.

Arrived at Plaza and followed the herd to the Driver Training area downstairs.

My class starts at 13:00, so wait and talk with other drivers and students.

They are working to de-ice the pad so students can test out. No testing since Tuesday because the pad has been closed from Wednesday due to weather.

I talked with a guy planning to test today. He has been here since Jan 3rd. Several delays have occurred in his training process.

Several other people talking about being here a month, still waiting to test.

Had a nice talk with a young man who is at 10k miles of his TNT. He is from Fort Smith, AR. He is going through the typical issues of missing home (his mama, he is single), team driving lifestyle, etc. I think he will make it though. After completing his year with Prime he wants to go local to be near home more.

So, Reality is sinking in today about how long this process can take to reach CDL test day.

There are a heck of a lot of students here and a limited number of PSD trainers.

Will update at end of the day.

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.

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.

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.

Dennis L's Comment
member avatar

Just met TT’s own Kearsey!

Sitting in classroom waiting for 13:00 start.

Dennis L's Comment
member avatar

PS. Talked with another young man, 33, from my class. He already has delusions of going lease right away because he has some friends doing it making good money. I suggested that he look up TT. com to get the real story about leasing from seasoned drivers before doing something that he may regret. Please take what you’re being told by your friends with a big grain of salt. Do your research.

I’m not sure that he bought it yet. Kinda breaks my heart.

Bill M.'s Comment
member avatar

Your diary is awesome so far. I start my paid program in Wisconsin on Monday. After seeing yours, I don't know if there's a need for me to start one of my own.

Good for you, telling him to check out Trucking Truth. I talked with some friends and family before I decides to start driving. Both said DON'T think about leasing, and I read just about everything I can find on TT which pretty much says, DON'T lease. So, it' safe to say I WON'T be leasing.

Talking about leasing; I saw this last month. The Biden-Harris Trucking Action Plan actually identifies truck leasing as a priority in their infrastructure bill. Interestingly, the infrastructure bill includes grant moneys for driving schools and apprenticeships across the country. And, get this, they are forming a task force to look into, identify, and curtail "predatory" truck leasing practices. In other words, the practice is so well-known, so prevalent, that a federal task force was formed to investigate these practices. Predatory Tuck Lease Task Force - Expanding Registered Apprenticeship programs -- more than 100 employers and industry partners have stepped forward to work to expand - Registered Apprenticeships in the last 30 days. - Creating the Women of Trucking Advisory Board mandated in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. - Creating a new task force, mandated by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, to investigate predatory truck leasing arrangements with DOL and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. - Beginning two studies to explore the issues of truck driver pay and unpaid detention time. - Launching the Safe Driver Apprenticeship Pilot –an under-21 pilot program for truck drivers mandated in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. - Over $32 million in funding to states to improve CDL licensing process.

Anyway, best wishes and safe travels. rofl-3.gif rofl-3.gif

PS. Talked with another young man, 33, from my class. He already has delusions of going lease right away because he has some friends doing it making good money. I suggested that he look up TT. com to get the real story about leasing from seasoned drivers before doing something that he may regret. Please take what you’re being told by your friends with a big grain of salt. Do your research.

I’m not sure that he bought it yet. Kinda breaks my heart.

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

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

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.
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