ABF Freight Driver Development Program

Topic 31553 | Page 1

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Delco Dave's Comment
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I attended orientation at my home terminal in Aston PA February 25 2022. The orientation started with a meet and greet with all the office and dock staff as well as a few of the drivers who were there. Next was a few hours of videos covering everything from safety to company culture followed by some paperwork. After lunch I went with the dock manager for forklift training, I let him know I had run forklifts in the past so it was more a show me you can do it then actual training. He did show me a few trailer loading specific things as I was loading a pup trailer.

I will be starting my truck training from CDL A permit to driver Monday March 7 2022 in Paterson NJ. Not all terminals are set up to train so they get you to the closest one to home as they can. Luckily, they had 3 locations within 2 hours of me so it just came down to which terminal had an available trainer

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.

Delco Dave's Comment
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For anyone not familiar with them, ABF is a Union LTL company, therefore you are paid for all your time. Training rate is $17 an hour. I was issued a temporary badge at orientation to clock in and out with until I get my permanent badge with my picture. They cover all travel expenses during training. You are put up in hotel near the terminal , given a daily per diem for expenses and paid current milage rate from home to location your 1st day and location to home your last day of training. If you commute in between, thats on you. Training is Monday-Friday 8am until at least 4-4:30.

Prior to training you must get your CDL A permit (combination, air brakes) and the double/triple and Tanker endorsements. Hazmat is also required but since the rules changed Feb 7, 2022, you can’t take that test until you have had Hazmat training.

Training is 6 weeks when starting from a permit. 3 weeks if you are coming in from a private school already holding a CDL A.

Thats all I got for now. To quote G-Town… “you must be laser focused on the task at hand” and I plan to be so I will add updates to this diary as often as possible

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.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

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.

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

Per Diem:

Getting paid per diem means getting a portion of your salary paid to you without taxes taken out. It's technically classified as a meal and expense reimbursement.

Truck drivers and others who travel for a living get large tax deductions for meal expenses. The Government set up per diem pay as a way to reimburse some of the taxes you pay with each paycheck instead of making you wait until tax filing season.

Getting per diem pay means a driver will get a larger paycheck each week but a smaller tax return at tax time.

We have a ton of information on our wiki page on per diem pay

PackRat's Comment
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Fantastic! Wishing you all the success possible.

Bill M.'s Comment
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Nice! Wishing you the best of success at ABF, Dave. I'll be following your diary.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Delco Dave's Comment
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Thank you Packrat and Bill. Really excited and looking forward to training

Realized that I didn’t include some information in my previous posts. ABF has a great reputation and holds their employees to a very high standard and strives for excellence in customer satisfaction. That being said, their background check goes quite a bit deeper then other companies to ensure they are only bringing top prospects and drivers onto the team. I have read here at TT that most companies usually only look at your last 3 years work history and MVR for training. ABF wants to see 10 years of consistent work history and 10 years incident free MVR. I have no criminal background so I can’t elaborate on that.

They provide you with uniforms that are maintained by Cintas and you are expected take care of them as best you can. Always be in uniform on duty, and always present yourself in a friendly, professional manner.

MVR:

Motor Vehicle Record

An MVR is a report of your driving history, as reported from your state Department of Motor Vehicles. Information on this report may include Drivers License information, point history, violations, convictions, and license status on your driving record.

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

Anne A. (G13Momcat)'s Comment
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Thank you Packrat and Bill. Really excited and looking forward to training

Realized that I didn’t include some information in my previous posts. ABF has a great reputation and holds their employees to a very high standard and strives for excellence in customer satisfaction. That being said, their background check goes quite a bit deeper then other companies to ensure they are only bringing top prospects and drivers onto the team. I have read here at TT that most companies usually only look at your last 3 years work history and MVR for training. ABF wants to see 10 years of consistent work history and 10 years incident free MVR. I have no criminal background so I can’t elaborate on that.

They provide you with uniforms that are maintained by Cintas and you are expected take care of them as best you can. Always be in uniform on duty, and always present yourself in a friendly, professional manner.

I'm following too, Dave! It's finally HERE!!! YaY!

Sidebar: I had a customer, ABF driver, when I bartended at Red Lobster in Florida, and he ALWAYS stopped in, just to grab a burger & a tea, at the bar. Plus, he could fit the set alongside the building, haha! Always polished & pressed in his uniform. Respectful; I'll always remember that. Image IS important!

Wow, about the 10 years! (Actually, Tom's company does that, too...which I thought odd.) Picky CAN BE a good thing!!!

Following, Best Wishes!

~ Anne ~

dancing-dog.gif good-luck.gif dancing-dog.gif

MVR:

Motor Vehicle Record

An MVR is a report of your driving history, as reported from your state Department of Motor Vehicles. Information on this report may include Drivers License information, point history, violations, convictions, and license status on your driving record.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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

Delco Dave's Comment
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Thank you Anne. Being the face of the company, driver appearance and personality with customers is a very important part of their image. I have been a foreman/supervisor and business owner for years so those standards are already business as usual for me.

All my travel arrangements are in place. They put me up in an Extended Stay America a couple miles from terminal. ESA’s are basically little apartments, there is a kitchenette in each room. This is great for me since I do most of the cooking at home, I wont have to eat out all the time throughout training.

I have been reading the pre trip inspection list provided here a few times a day to pound the terminology into my head. Haven’t gotten into any videos, I am already familiar with engines/vehicles and can identify the parts. Since different truck engines have parts in different places, I will just wait until I’m at the make/model of truck I will be tested on to memorize my routine.

I will be leaving for the hotel tomorrow night after dinner, Sunday 3/6/22. I report to the Paterson, NJ terminal Monday morning 3/7/22 at 8am

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Banks's Comment
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Good luck on day 1. Keep your head on the swivel in Paterson... It makes Philly look like Phoenixville.

Delco Dave's Comment
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rofl-3.gif

Good luck on day 1. Keep your head on the swivel in Paterson... It makes Philly look like Phoenixville.

I hear ya!!! Traffic’s pretty crazy. There’s 3 major highways that converge here within a couple miles of terminal. Terminal is on Rt 46 which seems to be busy all the time. Then include jug handles to make lefts and that adds another level of difficulty.

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.

Delco Dave's Comment
member avatar

Day 1 3/7/22

Reported to terminal at 7:45, I’m always early. Met the office staff and a few drivers. Again, everyone was friendly and loves working for ABF. There are 2 trainers working in tandem and 4 of us currently training, the other guys have been there a bit and are a few weeks ahead of me.

Went out to the the yard to the 2 training trucks. We are being trained on manual transmissions, even though most of the fleet is automatic, they don’t want you to have the manual restriction in case an older manual truck or rental needs to be used. I went over pre trip inspection with the trainer all morning, in cab and outside the truck. The other students worked on coupling, backing maneuvers and road driving with the other trainer. Next thing I knew it was lunch time.

After lunch, much to my surprise, it was time for me to learn shifting. Thrown right into the fire. Mack truck with pup trailer. Took a few laps around the terminal with the trainer driving to watch what he was doing. Now its my turn!! Struggled a bit at 1st getting the timing down. Trainer was very patient and encouraged me to just keep trying. After a few laps just going from 1st to 2nd it started to click for me. I spent most of the afternoon running laps around the terminal practicing my shifting. As you can probably imagine, I was far from perfect. I did get the hang of it pretty well and was able to shift up to 5th smoothly a few times by the end of the day. For some reason, I missed 4th quite a bit and had to start over but Hey, it my 1st time. I’m sure I’ll get better with repetition.

Towards the end of the afternoon it started raining so we went back in classroom and watched a pre trip video. All in all it was a good day, started really having fun once the 1st day jitters wore off and I relaxed. Have some studying to get into before bed.

Thanks for reading, more to come another day…

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.

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".

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