My Prime TNT Progress Updates

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Dennis L's Comment
member avatar

I’m a week into my Prime TNT team driving training program. Prime requires a minimum of 30k team miles to become eligible for upgrade to my own solo truck. The actual timing for upgrade will depend upon a truck being available once I’ve completed the 30k miles. There has been a truck shortage causing some people to stay team driving longer until a truck comes up.

I’m doing TNT with same trainer that I did OTR PSD training for my CDL. We get along and our TNT has been fine for first week.

My trainer is giving me the info that I need for the Qualcomm and paperwork. He has turned me loose mostly on night shift driving making customer deliveries on my own while he sleeps. I’m managing to figure out the backing maneuvers to get docked on my own. My confidence is improving.

I had one challenging dock in Detroit that took me over 30 mins, but I didn’t hit anything and was still on time for appointment. This place had the docks in a garage so had to avoid columns and other potential hazards. It required an Offset Right back from a lot across the street. The driver before me had the easy dock that was a Straight Line Back.

0394920001647635534.jpg

0654534001647635602.jpg

0644961001647635651.jpg

This garage dock had a downslope to it with a hump in the concrete drive. My landing gear hit the concrete hump. I had to man handle the crank to get an extra inch out of it to get over.

I’m also learning to better manage my On Duty -Not Driving time to preserve my 70 clock. My trainer and I both took 34 resets at different times to get our clocks reset.

Also learning from typical dumb rookie mistakes like missing a turn because just not certain about it. Learned to look at the step by step route listing in the Omnitracts GPS and pull up Google Earth views of customer locations to study in and out ahead of time.

This will have to do for a first report. I’ll try to update weekly.

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.

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.

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.

Anne A. (G13Momcat)'s Comment
member avatar

Dennis;

So GLAD to see you doing this TNT diary, after all !!!

WOW, that sure WAS quite a docking job! I showed this to Tom, and he's like "Poor guy had the fences and cones to fool with, and his 'dinged up' neighbor got the GOOD spot, haha!" (Did he scratch his trailer 'there?!?') LoL !

Great job, man. What a way to get 'broke' in, haha!

Yeah, those dang down sloped docks; Tom goes to a few on the regular, and stops 'pre dock' when he slides his tandems back if they're not already, and cranks the gear up a tad more than usual. You're learning; excellent start, good sir!

Following, we are!! Continue ON with your bad (GREAT) self!

~ Anne (&Tom!) ~

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".

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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.

Bill M.'s Comment
member avatar

Looking good Dennis. 👍

Dennis L's Comment
member avatar

03/19/22

Prime’s payroll period is Thursday to Wednesday for completed trips.

I had six days on the truck for my first week with dispatched miles of 2,487. We drove the first week more like a pseudo solo truck with both of us doing 34 resets.

My current week dispatched miles is at least 4,683 thru Monday evening for two long trips. We are currently on a run from LA area to Edison, NJ. Not sure we will fit in a third complete trip before the Wednesday cutoff next week.

I’ll share a couple stories in case any readers think truck driving might be boring.

We had a delivery in Philadelphia at a food distribution place very near Temple University. I was driving in early morning rush hour on I-76E. I exited I-76 to make our way to the customer. The streets I had to drive on were narrow with cars parked on both sides. Not much room to get by and turns were very restricted. This was in some seedy areas, too. I had one final left turn to get onto the street to enter the customer lot. There isn’t much space for a wide squared off turn. I’m turning left with my right steer tire rubbing along the curb to get as wide as I can because there is a short post on the curb next to my driver side tandems and trailer that I’ll guess was with in an inch. Took it slow and gentle, getting by it with blind rookie luck. My trainer was sweating it out!

My trainer takes over after I dock at this Location 90 (last) customer. He then drives a short ways to pickup a new load of mushrooms going to Detroit and Chicago with fours drops. We are detained at least four hours for the live load that means we lost all of our cushion to make our first customer delivery time.

Doing some quick math it appeared that we might make it with 30 minutes to spare for the 10h 15m drive if I could drive my leg without a 30 minute DOT break. My trainer’s plan was that he drives to a point that I can make the rest of it.

We had a scheduled fuel stop that drove to at exactly two hours. He was sleepy, so not wanting to drive any further. My mental math said that this only gave me a 6 minute cushion to arrive without a DOT break. Not feeling too good about this.

I take over driving through western PA mountains for first half of my drive. Pace not steady and I see me losing minutes to the point of being 9 minutes short of beating the 8 hr clock! I’m sweating this the entire drive.

Finally into Ohio on I-80 I can run a steady 65 mph (L/O truck governor at 65). I slowly claw back minutes until it looks like I can get there with 4-5 minutes to spare on my clock.

Now, this entire time I’m thinking what if scenarios to get the job done whether technically legal or not. My concern is getting with in a couple blocks and running out of time.

I’m finally into Detroit Racing to get to our 06:00 EDT appointment by 05:30. Looks like I have 4-5 minutes to spare on my DOT clock when about two blocks away. I hit a dang red light and must turn left! I’m stuck for what feels like forever. Finally green, hit it and get going for one block, then a right turn and there is the entrance!

Dang, I slip in with 1 minute on my clock. Stop and change driver status! Made it!

dancing-dog.gif

My trainer wakes up now and asks what’s going on? I said “I beat my clock by one F’ing minute. Maybe if you had driven an extra 15-20 minutes this great plan would have worked better.” He said “You beat it by one minute, man! Good job!”

Now don’t tell me that driving a truck is boring.

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".

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.

Mountain Matt's Comment
member avatar

Yeah, that was close! We had a FedEx timed load into Portland. I wasn't running against my 8 hour clock, but I was racing the clock through the mountains of Oregon to make the appointment. Made it by 5 minutes. That was more intense than I usually like on a drive... but less so than yours!!

Dennis L's Comment
member avatar

03/23/22

My trainer’s name is Robert. He dropped our load from CA in Edison, NJ on Monday evening. It was a D&H.

We were dispatched a new load with a short trip of 875 miles to La Vergne, TN. Appointment was for 06:00 Thursday, but we could drop up to 24 hours early.

We completed that load this morning, which gets on this weeks payroll total miles.

So my TNT miles to date are: Week 1 = 2,756 Week 2 = 5,558 Total = 8,314

Our new load trip in progress today is 2,047 miles from Murfreesboro, TN to Carson, CA (LA area again). We will D&H late Saturday.

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

03/25/22

Robert wanted to experiment with us using a regular work shift schedule rather than just switching drivers after our 10-hr breaks ended, as we started out doing.

My shift is Midnight to Noon and Robert’s is Noon to Midnight, so we both get night and daytime driving. We each take care of whatever needs to get done during our shift and manage time accordingly.

Robert will, and has, gotten up early during my shift to help me with new events. Example, the Fontana, CA trailer drop yard or setting up a new load trip assignment following dropping at a 90 location (training process). We have also been to a couple locations that were new for Robert that he wanted to see.

This new shift schedule has worked ok for the last week. Robert took a 34-reset that ended at 09:00 CDT on 03/24/22 and I’m taking a reset that ends at 22:00 CDT on 03/25/22.

I ended my last drive shift on 03/24/22 arriving at our scheduled fuel stop in Oklahoma City at 11:50 CDT. Started my reset break at 12:00.

Robert drove on to Amarillo to stop at a TA service center for overdue scheduled maintenance on the truck. We have been parked since about 16:30 CDT overnight. The maintenance was completed.

Now waiting for Robert’s next work shift to start at 12:00 today.

I woke up about 05:30 CDT after 12 hours on the CPAP. Robert is still sleeping in stationary truck (nice).

Taking advantage of the downtime to do laundry, etc.

We have had time on this trip from TN to CA to take both of our 34-reset breaks because our delivery window is 12:30 PDT 03/26/22 to 12:30 PDT 03/27/22. In theory, during a reset break the truck sits for the 12 hours that the resetting driver would have been working.

However, that is just a guideline. For example, Robert ended his shift on 03/22/22 at 23:00 CDT and started a 34-reset to end at 09:00 CDT on 03/24/22. I didn’t start driving on my 03/23/22 shift until 05:30 CDT to time arrival at our 90 location customer for ~07:45 CDT to D&H in La Vergne, TN because they didn’t open until 06:00. Took care of the D&H.

Robert gets up to walk me through the process of setting up our new load assignment that came in.

Take the empty trailer to nearby washout and fill reefer fuel tank. Drive short distance to our new 01 Location customer in Murfreesboro, TN for a D&H to pickup our pre-loaded trailer going to Carson, CA.

This process is completed about 12:00 CDT. Instead of shutting down in Murfreesboro during Robert’s 12 hours shift for his reset break, I go ahead and drive for 5 hours to West Memphis, AR (I’m watching my On Duty hours for the day close for my 70-clock balance). I park for my 10-hour DOT break at 17:00 CDT. (During this drive got stuck in slow traffic for long time due to a flipped over big rig blocking right lane of I-40).

Get up at 03:00 after 10 hours on 03/24/22 and start driving ~03:30 to our scheduled fuel stop in Oklahoma City (477 miles). Arrive at 11:50 CDT. Decide to Start my 34-hr reset Off Duty at 12:00. This catches us up to where we are now.

My prior reset was on 03/17/22. During the last 7 days from 03/18/22-03/24/22 I logged 3,242 Driven miles. I’m very happy with that result.

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.

CPAP:

Constant Positive Airway Pressure

CPAP is a breathing assist device which is worn over the mouth or nose. It provides nighttime relief for individuals who suffer from Sleep Apnea.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Anne A. (G13Momcat)'s Comment
member avatar

Dennis; I had to really 'think' through that post; it was so detailed with times and such!! Love it!!!

Sounds to me like you have an AWESOME trainer, man. Considerate, too. The way the 34's worked for y'all, almost seemed like 'super solo' there, for a bit. I bet it helps, when you get concurrent downtime!!

Keep on keeping on, good sir. Great miles, too!!

Best always!

~ Anne ~

Dennis L's Comment
member avatar

PS. I’m going to share a few of Robert’s training tips since I have some time.

1. Read directions for new 01 (start) and 90 (end) locations carefully (plus any in between stops). Look for info such as available overnight onsite parking. Drive to the location with parking to park while waiting for scheduled appointment time (can sleep while waiting). This will save time. We have done this several times during my PSD and TNT training.

2. Review new locations and step-by-step routes prior to departure for the day’s drive. Utilize tools such as Google Maps or Google Earth for satellite & street views. Compare route to Omnitracs GPS (Qualcomm). Robert also has a Rand McNally GPS for comparison. He sets the RM GPS up to track the end points of the trip for total distance and a calculated local time ETA (does not account for our stops). The QC GPS has our dispatched fuel stops included. So we have to load up each trip segment for the route & miles (hope this makes sense). The RM GPS and QC GPS sometimes have subtle differences on details because of how their program settings are done.

We don’t always follow the QC GPS route because want to avoid major city rush hour traffic or avoid unreimbursed tolls. So, have to make note of the deviations to get the correct exit to the route deviation (this has messed me up a couple of times during early morning driving not paying attention. I’m using a post-it note now on the QC).

Look ahead for potential 30 minutes DOT break stop locations or parking as needed (Note: if you need to park at a truck stop for a 10-hrs break and haven’t by 17:00, Good Luck! During my night drives every ramp along interstates becomes a parking lot. Ridiculous.). The QC Navigation, Prime Mobile app (for Prime drivers only), Trucker’s Path and various truck stop apps can be used to find services (fuel, truck wash, parking, maintenance, etc). Note that as a new driver I will also look at the hard copy Rand McNally Truckers Atlas as it has a lot of useful information in it.

3. For loads going to CA, first thing to do is slide the tandems to the 6th hole. Some other states require the 12th hole, e.g. Illinois. The list of State requirements is sometimes posted on the trailer or can be found in the RM Atlas.

4. Always remember to change driver HOS status in QC to “log what you do, do what you log”. Especially to change status from Sleeper Berth (SB) to Off Duty when getting outside the truck. I still have a tendency to forget doing this.

To be honest, during my OTR PSD training Robert didn’t follow this rule regards Off Duty and SB. So my PSD logs were all messed up.

Now during TNT trying to log by the rules to get used to what I’ll have to do when solo driving. There are times though that rules are bent a little to minimize On Duty - Not Driving time to manage the 70-hrs clock.

5. The off duty team driver always leaves his boots up front where the on duty driver can see them. This is so the on duty driver knows that his partner is on or off the truck. Robert has this rule because during his TNT training 12 years ago, he accidentally left his trainer at a truck stop.

rofl-3.gif

6. Fontana, CA trailer drop yard - this is my opinion only. That place is FUBAR!!!

There is more that I could share but out of time for now.

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.

Sleeper Berth:

The portion of the tractor behind the seats which acts as the "living space" for the driver. It generally contains a bed (or bunk beds), cabinets, lights, temperature control knobs, and 12 volt plugs for power.

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".

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.

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.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

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

P.S. Continues

I thought of something to add regarding daily trip planning that pertains to my drive on 03/23/22 from Murfreesboro to West Memphis. The TT Moderators are always telling us noobs to have Plans A, B and C in mind for potential stopping places to adjust based upon unforeseen events along the day’s route.

In this case the unforeseen event was a big rig rollover accident blocking a traffic lane. I needed to park by 17:00 to manage my On Duty hours for my 70-clock balance (this was before we jointly decided on 03/24/22 that I would take a reset).

Prior to the traffic slow down it looked like I could get to Palestine, AR by 17:00 to park at a Love’s. Palestine is ~47 miles past West Memphis on I-40W. During a stop in the stop and go traffic slowdown, I located alternative truck stops and saw that West Memphis was my best bet now. As it coincidentally turned out, I arrived at a Love’s in W. Memphis just minutes before 17:00 and fortunately found a parking space.

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