My Prime Orientation / PSD Experience

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Dennis L's Comment
member avatar

Day 12 - 02/11/22

Up at 05:30. Arrived at the Plaza about 06:30.

Talked with a couple drivers closer to my age. Both had been former drivers, quit for some years and then came back to it.

The first guy was testing today to refresh his CDL for tanker. He passed. Did his training here with a local trainer on the pad and day trip driving.

The second guy had just finished his TNT with 31k+ miles in reefer. He was getting his TWIC then a few days off before starting his upgrade process to solo truck. He took his time to show me his Prime App, how it displays loads, what to pay close attention to, his load history, miles, etc.

Class roll call at 07:55. Another guy and my name not called. Told that we have trainers assigned. After meeting our trainer we follow their schedule.

The instructor tells the class that they are working to get everyone assigned a trainer.

Then says that we were brought in today at 08:00 because a time slot opened up for pad 12. This group will return to 13:00 on Saturday.

The plan for this morning was to do some more straight backs, driving around the lot and pre-trip practice like yesterday afternoon.

An instructor then started asking random people if they could recite a given section of pre-trip from memory. When done correctly, that person was released to go to pad 12. The first few were doing very well.

I got to do “In Cab”. First time doing this in front of entire class and a senior instructor. Guess what, I skipped the dang horns! The instructor gently said you forgot something. Oh yea honked the horns. She sent me to pad 12.

I’m reflecting now on G-Town’s blog about the Ego being a CDL student’s greatest downfall. Be Humble and Coachable. I ate a piece of humble pie this morning.

I’m also convinced now that I don’t know what the heck is going on around here. Different instructors saying different things. I’m not going to speculate or repeat second hand info any longer. Just let things unfold.

I’m finishing up a load of laundry now. Then start repacking my bags. Will strive to get a good rest tonight because my trainer is picking me up on Saturday, no ETA yet, so will be ready to go on short notice.

His truck is going into the shop at 18:30 tonight, that could impact his schedule.

Going forward I’ll strive to post once a day during OTR training. Focusing on what lessons I learned that 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.

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

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.

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

Day 12 - wrap up thoughts

I’ve been thinking about what I want to get out of this opportunity of having an OTR PSD Trainer, not just to pass my CDL exam, but to set me up for TNT.

Rule 1: I will trust my trainer, listen to him and do what he tells me to do. He has 12 yrs experience, I have zero.

Rule 2: I will respect that I am a guest in his truck and home.

Objectives

1. Learn how to drive his truck in a safe manner. Don’t Hit Anything!

2. Thoroughly learn and memorize the Pre-Trip Inspection script. Learn to conduct a real pre- and post-trip inspection.

3. Observe his real world backing into docks.

4. Utilize any opportunities given to practice backing.

5. Learn the Qualcomm , macros and paperwork.

6. Learn his trip planning and time management tips (HOS).

7. Learn how to fuel the truck efficiently (including reefer and DEF).

8. Intro to ComChecks (eg. Pay lumpers).

9. Observe his Customer Service - how to deal with people and represent Prime professionally.

10. Learn how to deal with Road Assist, if it is needed.

11. Observe good communications with his FM and Dispatcher.

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

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.

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.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

Dispatcher:

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.

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

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.

Anne A. (G13Momcat)'s Comment
member avatar

I wish I knew how to access Brett's good ole' "BEST ANSWER" banner.

That post above, is GOLDEN.

You rock, Dennis. You are certainly so dedicated, devoted, and committed. I commend you, good sir.

Best wishes, going forward!!!!!!!

~ Anne ~

Dennis L's Comment
member avatar

PS. I realized after I hit send that I will be exposed to most all aspects of a driver’s responsibilities to haul reefer. I wasn’t trying to make an all encompassing objectives list.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Dennis L's Comment
member avatar

Day 13 - 02/12/22. Day 1 of OTR PSD

To day was a good day!

Parked for the night at a Love’s in Greenup, IL on I-70. Headed to Auburn, IN with a delivery time of 17:30 on Sunday. Total trip from Springfield is 598 miles. Drove 344 miles today Easy drive tomorrow.

My trainers feedback was “not bad for first day”.

I had some trouble with drifting into the white line. I have a habit of hugging the right side in my personal car. It would go in spurts. Finally fatigue set in, so stopped.

I also need to slow down sooner for exit ramps. Was getting better at the end.

Successfully made first back into parking space at Love’s with a lot of help from my trainer. Not pretty, but got it in.

My trainer picked me up about 08:30 from Campus Inn. I’d been up since 05:00.

He drove us to the Plaza pad where he hooked up a trailer. I hopped out and raised the landing gear. First Noob lesson, put the crank handle on the shaft to get the right gear ratio.

I then connected the electrical and air hoses. Took a few tries to get the glad hands in place.

Then he asked me to do a complete PTI. Did ok with engine compartment, driver side fuel area, coupling area, trailer and lights (we did lights by description inside the cab because it was cold and he hand on shorts).

Then he had me do the In Cab three times back to back. Got smoother each time. He gave me some good pointers. This was the first time able to do the full In Cab since here because not allowed in the cabs and certainly not with engine running. He wants to focus on this because it can be auto fail.

He tried to reserve pad time to check my backing knowledge. Pad not available until 8pm. He didn’t want to wait that long, so got us a load and we hit the road.

He has been driving for 12 years and training for 11.. he does both PSD and TNT. He drove Compnay for six years and now L/O for 6 years. He stays out for 4-6 months at a time.

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.

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

Day 14 - 02/13/22; Day 2 of OTR PSD.

Up at 06:30, get ready for the day.

I did another complete pre-trip with extra attention to “In Cab”. It is cold out this morning.

Departed at 08:45 CST. Stopped at about 11:40 EST in Mooresville, IN for a short break.

Drove on to the Fort Wayne Travel Center (Pilot) on I-69 about 22 miles from our delivery. Arrived 2:40pm EST. I did my 2nd back into parking space on back row. Better than last one.

Departed at 4:00pm EST to arrive at the Walmart DC at Auburn, IN at 4:30pm sharp, one hour ahead of our 5:30pm appointment. Total miles was 607.

Trainer took over driving into the DC. Guard office paperwork & instructions received. Found the dock. Set up for his back in. We slid the tandems all the way back. I opened the doors & secured them. He bumped the dock. Then I lowered the landing gear and disconnected us from the trailer.

Parked in the driver waiting area. I took our paperwork inside to main receiving office. We were given a pager. Told to Come back in before connecting to the trailer.

We are now waiting. I’m going to take a nap.

From here we will get a trailer washout, then go pick up our next assigned load.

Driving lessons today: 1. Did better today with lane control. Place myself to left of the oil trail, I stay centered. 2. Did better with slowing down sooner for exit ramps. 3. Need to square off my turns more. I tend to start turning too soon.

Backing lessons today: 1. Work on the set-up for straight line backs. 2. Let the trailer react before I do. 3. Steer into the problem - use both mirrors.

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".

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.
Chief Brody's Comment
member avatar

Another tip with lane control:

Center line and right white line in your hood mirrors means you're centered in the lane.

With regard to your list, I would reduce that down to:

1. Follow your trainer's guidance and then subject to that;

2. Don't hit anything;

3. Practice the pre-trip so much you start having dreams about it;

4. Learn the backing maneuvers you need to pass the test.

You will have plenty of time later to learn the rest of the stuff, some of it in TNT and some of it later.

With regard to learning in TNT, and I know this will sound weird, you will have plenty of time to learn all those things in TNT, but you may not actually learn some of them until after you go solo. Mostly because you spend so much time in TNT just "running" as a team the actual time you have to learn things is few and far between. Rather, most of what you learn in TNT is "incidental." You either learn something as part of the process or you don't. And even if your trainer, like mine, had all sorts of good intentions, that falls by the wayside after a couple of weeks running as a team.

My main point is: focus on what you need to do now, which is pass the test.

Keep the faith!

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

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

Thanks Chief Brody. I agree with focus on the top items you mentioned. Had that same discussion with my trainer

Dennis L's Comment
member avatar

On our way now. Trainer driving. Our next load heading to Sterling, IL.

Dennis L's Comment
member avatar

Day 14 ended with us parked outside a Nestle DC in Anderson, IN for the night. Our drop & hook turned into a live load for the next morning.

Day 15 - 02/14/22, Day 3 OTR PSD

Happy Valentines Day!

Called at 07:00 that ready to load us. Trainer bumped the dock at 07:30. Live load finished at 08:55. Pulled forward to go close doors & install numbered seal. Found the load locks not installed.

So I climb into the trailer and install the two load locks (first time, easy). The ribbed metal floor is frosted and slick from being at 33F all night. Climbing out of the trailer was a bit awkward trying to locate the top foot step below the left door that is closed with a hand grip. Ended up on my hands & knees feeling for it. Finally got it and down. My trainer uses a ladder because he is a heavy guy with a bad knee.

Trainer drove us to a nearby Love’s where we swapped out driving.

I did my In Cab PTI, went much smoother today.

Departed at 09:30 CST for the Walmart DC at Sterling, IL. Drive was 331 miles in 6.25 hrs. This was a drop & hook. Grabbed the only empty Prime trailer.

Drove to our next shipper at the Tyson Plant in Joslin, IL. Spending the night here before live loading in the morning.

Total miles driving today was 395.

Our load from here is headed to Walmart DC in Johnstown, NY. A 931 miles drive over two days.

PTI Lesson Learned today: 1. Allow the air pressures to recharge fully to cut out before starting the parking breaks tests. The air pressure drops each time a protection valve is released. Today the pressure fell to 90 psi and a red warning alert popped up on the digital dash display. I started the breaks test at 125psi, but governor had not cut out yet. Try to avoid this on test day.

Driving Lesson Learned today: 1. Merging Traffic - be on the ball to spot a merging traffic hazard early and to react quickly to move left in a safe manner. I was too slow today in one situation resulting in not being able to move left so jammed up a tanker driver trying to merge. He had to stop to avoid me.

Backing Lessons Learned Today 1. I observed my trainer bump docks twice today and other nearby drivers. Trainer’s tip is that “every back ends up a straight line back”.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

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.

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.

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.
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