Beginning New Career With PTL. (A Diary)

Topic 3152 | Page 1

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Scott B.'s Comment
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Day 1: Well to properly talk about day 1 I must recap the bus trip from Atlanta to Murray KY. Got to the grey hound station around 1300 for a bus that departed 1430. Actual departure time was 1450. Everything was smooth and uneventful until we got just a little outside of Nashville. The hound hit a bird on I-24 and cracked the windshield. We backtracked to Nashville and switched buses. Finally made it to Paducah KY about 2300 where we got on vans for the 1 hr ride to Murray. Hotel check in took about an hour because there were quite a few folks and the hotel owners had to read us the riot act. So finally got to bed around 0200 to be up at 0530.

Breakfast at the hotel (definitely not the Four Seasons but I've seen worse) consisted of coffee, cereal, bagels and a waffle maker. Buses took all us FNG's to the terminal at 0645. There were 50 people; about 10 l/ o and o/o's, 20 new company drivers and 20 trainees. We did paperwork followed by paperwork on top of paperwork then did some more paperwork. Lunch was provided and consisted of beef tips, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn, roll and coke. After lunch, we mixed in some paperwork with company policies, cargo securement, HOS and CSA stuff. Took bus back to hotel at 1530 and promptly went to line 2 for about 45 mins. PTL gives everyone a dinner voucher for a really good buffet about 300 yards from the hotel. Gorged myself on a salad and a bunch of stuff I probably shouldn't have eaten while enjoying the scenery that only a college town can offer if you know what I mean. Completed my "homework" of 20 questions on HOS and CSA and now I'm gonna lay down and probably pass out. Between the long bus ride, little sleep and the writing my name, the date and signing about 150 times I'm pretty whupped. All in all, not too bad a day. Looking forward to getting with trainer and getting on the road.

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.

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

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Jim M.'s Comment
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Scott,

It is reminiscent of my first 12 hours at bootcamp (G.L.,IL - 1981), man when they say paperwork it brings on a whole other meaning. Hours upon hours of filling in essentially the same crap!

I'm sure day two will be something different and much more enjoyable, all the best!!

Scott B.'s Comment
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Day 2 : Walk out of hotel room door and wouldn't you know it's snowing like crazy. Temp is 32 and rising so I know it's no big deal.Van ride to "ptl university" at 0645. This day is a lot more interesting than the last for sure. We learned about and watched videos about the NAVSTAR Maxxforce engines and the thermo king Apu's. Went thru a mini class on how to max fuel economy. Also took a virtual tour of the PTL facilities with a guy from maintenance and learned what was expected of us when we returned to the terminal. Lunch today was nice. Country fried steak, white beans, rice and white gravy. After that we were issued comdata checks and cards, fuel cards, Id badges, etc. Some folks were sent home for a variety of reasons and and a few left voluntarily. Two older gentlemen decided to entertain the class by breaking out in a fist fight. One told the other he had his gun and threatened to shoot him so we also got a good gawk at the Murray city kitties out the window as they were both escorted away. Soon after all the excitement it was time to take quick road tests. The examiner described the test truck as "an old raggedy piece of repurposed fertilizer," but to me nothing could have been further from the truth. This thing drove like a giant Cadillac. Shifting was easy on the eaton straight 10, when the wheel was straight the truck drove straight and the ride was like jumping into a pit full of cotton balls. Definitely a change from the Nixon era Volvo's in cdl school. Came back to the hotel and was given a voucher again for an extremely good buffet in Murray called the Sirloin Stockade. I had thought after Monday that the place had some nice looking waitresses. After tonight I'm convinced that some modeling agency is providing them with servers. DEFINITELY a nice way to end a day of sitting in a room with 20 truck drivers. Tomorrow I don't have to report until 1000 so I'm gonna get a nice sleep in before I meet my trainer and get on the road. (Provided my roommate cuts back on this rock concert volume snoring he's doing at the moment)

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.

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

APU:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

APU's:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

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

Scott B.'s Comment
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Day 3: Not a whole lot to say about today. Go to terminal about 1000 to wait on trainer. By 1530 only about 6 trainers had become available and unfortunately I didn't get one. PTL puts you in a hotel, gives you 3 meals a day and pays you $35/day every day you have to wait in Murray. Not exactly ideal but better than a swift kick in the rear too. Lots of guys are grumbling and moaning because they aren't on road yet but I already knew this was a distinct possibility so I'm ok with it. Guess I'll enjoy the nice buffet with the beautiful college girls again.

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.

Jim M.'s Comment
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Scott,

Keeping a bright, positive attitude is the only right thing to do!

Keep your chin up, it will all play out in due time.

6 string rhythm's Comment
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Scott, I think I saw one of your company's trucks at a local truck stop yesterday. It's a small stop off 83 by Harrisburg, PA. Never heard of your company before read one of your posts. It stuck in my head when I saw the truck.

guyjax(Guy Hodges)'s Comment
member avatar

Scott,

It is reminiscent of my first 12 hours at bootcamp (G.L.,IL - 1981), man when they say paperwork it brings on a whole other meaning. Hours upon hours of filling in essentially the same crap!

I'm sure day two will be something different and much more enjoyable, all the best!!

Want to know why they ask the same questions over and over during the "paperwork" phase of employment and ask it in a slightly different way? Its simple......Fact Checking. The want to make sure that all the info is correct and not same made up BS to make it look good. Its one of the ways that some companies weed out people that lie of there paper work.

Scott B.'s Comment
member avatar

Scott, I think I saw one of your company's trucks at a local truck stop yesterday. It's a small stop off 83 by Harrisburg, PA. Never heard of your company before read one of your posts. It stuck in my head when I saw the truck.

Yeah PTL has about 1000 trucks which I guess would classify us as a medium sized, 48 state carrier.

Scott B.'s Comment
member avatar

Day 4: Still no trainer today. Talked with a guy in truck assignment and he said it's the largest orientation class he's seen and it's kinda Gunked up the ebb and flow of trainers. There are still 8 guys out of 22 left but he good news is I'm next on the "smoking trainer list." While I am hetting antsy and tired of just waiting around i do realize there are worse things and 2 or 3 days is nothing in the big scheme. I'm being paid, fed, and housed so everything is cool. If there's anyone following this thread I promise I'll put in any new experiences and info as soon as I possibly can.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

guyjax(Guy Hodges)'s Comment
member avatar

Day 4: Still no trainer today. Talked with a guy in truck assignment and he said it's the largest orientation class he's seen and it's kinda Gunked up the ebb and flow of trainers. There are still 8 guys out of 22 left but he good news is I'm next on the "smoking trainer list." While I am hetting antsy and tired of just waiting around i do realize there are worse things and 2 or 3 days is nothing in the big scheme. I'm being paid, fed, and housed so everything is cool. If there's anyone following this thread I promise I'll put in any new experiences and info as soon as I possibly can.

Unfortunately this can sometimes happen but its not the end of the world. There will be days when you wish you were back in the same spot you are in right now cause so much will be happening.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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