Best Driving Academy - Kernersville, NC

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Patrick D.'s Comment
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INTRO:

This is a new school that recently opened up and I was in the 5th class. The instructors are all former truck drivers; at the time they had 4 with 2 more on the way as they continue to expand and grow. I have already completed my training so my dairy may be structured a little differently. I will divide this up into weeks rather than days with dates & times as I have seen others do here. The school shares the same name as the local company that sponsors it, BEST LOGISTICS GROUP, out of kernersville, NC. This is a 4 week federally endorsed CDL program. You will need your DOT before entering and you will be required to drug test before day 1. CDL-P license will be obtained while in school and once you are cleared by the state and have your license you are legal to drive the trucks and finish school. I entered with my DOT 2yr endorsement and permit in hand so my tuition cost was reduced by, I think, $168. At least one instructor was a former employee at that company. My Instructors were named Russell and Randall. Randall was a former or retired truck driver and Russell was formerly retired after spending over 10yrs driving for Pepsi and before that driving while serving in the Marines. We started with 8 in class, reduced to 7 since one got held back due to delays from DMV , and as you can expect we got some tough love and quality coaching from our Marine. Some people might find that to be a turn-off, military vets will appreciate it, and I fall somewhere in the middle. Personally, he reminded me of my father so his barks were not that vicious and his criticism was welcomed. I believe that being blunt, direct, and very critical while also supportive & caring is important in this industry to teach anyone how to become a truck driver. That is what all 4 teach and it's how our two instructors taught us.

WEEK 1: Classes started on March 14th, 2022 at 8am. There was the school textbook on our desk with copies of pre-tests and final tests for every section of the DMV handbook that is required to test. Week 1 is purely in-class learning but we progressed so quickly that we actually started in the yard by Thursday afternoon. While in class we learned by reading, listening, and watching and started with the basics - driving safety, trailers (combinations), brakes, and log book practice. Each day we had to fill out the log book for every week. In class, log it... on the yard, log it, driving, log it, sitting in the back of the trucking while others drive... LOG THAT TOO!!! It came out to roughly 40hrs a week but we were pushing 50 by lunch time Friday so at least once or twice got out early BY LAW but we were a class ages 18-37 with all of us hungry to learn. I wont disclose what we did or if we even did anything at all that exceeded the 40hrs a week law but if we were to want to keep learning it was a decision the 7-8 of us would make ourselves. So to summarize week 1, it was in-class learning and testing (morning and afternoon) from 8am-5pm doing typical driver's educational work. There were quizzes and eventually final tests. Lunch was always around 11:45am-12:30pm time window, generally 30min to 45min. The 5th week is typically road test prep week so they let recent grads practice before 8am and during 11:30-12:30 if they need a little extra work on their backing before their big day. So some days we got a 1hr lunch! By Thursday afternoon we finished in-class "early" (more on that in week 2) so Thursday afternoon and Friday afternoon we got to learn our straight line & offset backings.

WEEK 2:

This week picked up where week 1 ended. On Thursday I mentioned that we got to learn backing early. That trend of spending mornings in class and afternoons on the yard would continue until Wednesday. We still had required finals to take in-class that the school was required to grade us on and you can imagine them as pre-DMV tests. For everyone else in class this was the week they went to the DMV to get their permit. By Thursday I think all 6 had their permits and we were all on the road driving. As I mentioned above we started with 8. A few failed one of the 3 DMV tests and had to retake it. The eldest in our class had to take it 3 times but by the time he had his permit on Monday of week 3 we all had 2.5 days of driving experience and were starting to pull trailers. Our medical reports from the drug tests came back from Raleigh, NC I believe by Wednesday morning around 10am. On Monday and Tuesday, we divided the class in two: one group of 4 with instructor #1 did backing while 3 with instructor #2 drove around the lot practicing shifting; alternated every hour or so. I was in the group of 3, we all had manual transmission experience. Working a clutch was not difficult for us and we found gears quickly. The other 4 had no experience (except 1, who drove a manual pickup). But, again, going back to our amazing instructors, those 3 in the first group learned to drive an Eaton 10 speed without destroying a transmission and only stalled a handful of times during week 3. The second half of week, after we were drug cleared, we left the yard and spent our 1-2hrs driving the truck-only. We each got 30min behind the wheel each day. By Thursday or Friday we were spending the entire day on the yard or spending a few hours behind the wheel. Between Wednesday-Friday we took our "final exam" and in-class was officially over.

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.

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.

Dm:

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.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Travis's Comment
member avatar

Congratulations, good luck once you're on the job hunt!

When you say class was finished did your program do the NC CDL exam or did/do you still need to do that with the state?

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.
Patrick D.'s Comment
member avatar

Congratulations, good luck once you're on the job hunt!

When you say class was finished did your program do the NC CDL exam or did/do you still need to do that with the state?

I still had to go through the state. I'm guessing you mean road test? The school is too new to test themselves so our road tests were outsourced to another school in the area. Mine was held in Ashboro, NC. Permit testing had to be done at the DMV as well.

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.

Dm:

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.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

Patrick D.'s Comment
member avatar

TRUCK INFO:

One thing I failed to mention was the trucks. The trucks were all supplied by the sponsored company with the school logo on the sides; same with the trailers. I checked the stickers on the doors on 3 of our trucks (my truck, the new truck, and the automatic Peterbilt). "My truck" was a 2017 Freightliner Cascadia with cloth seats, all 5 seats had air. The other group's truck got upgraded mid-course to a 2017-2018 Cascadia with leather seats. Also while we were in class a new truck arrived for future training purposes: an automatic Peterbilt 579. All the Cascadia's were white and had a DD15 engine, 10-speed; the 579 was a dark silver with a paccar engine, full auto.

Anne A. (G13Momcat)'s Comment
member avatar

TRUCK INFO:

One thing I failed to mention was the trucks. The trucks were all supplied by the sponsored company with the school logo on the sides; same with the trailers. I checked the stickers on the doors on 3 of our trucks (my truck, the new truck, and the automatic Peterbilt). "My truck" was a 2017 Freightliner Cascadia with cloth seats, all 5 seats had air. The other group's truck got upgraded mid-course to a 2017-2018 Cascadia with leather seats. Also while we were in class a new truck arrived for future training purposes: an automatic Peterbilt 579. All the Cascadia's were white and had a DD15 engine, 10-speed; the 579 was a dark silver with a paccar engine, full auto.

Sounds awesome, Patrick!

Welcome to Trucking Truth; and enjoy the ride(s!)

Truck Driver's Career Guide

Keep up great work; check out some of our links, if you haven't already.

Best wishes!

~ Anne ~

ps: We've got an EXCELLENT Pretrip guide, when you're ready

pps: So, you won't have a manual restriction, then, either?!?

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.

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.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Patrick like every school; Paid CDL Training Program or private Truck Driving Schools they teach you enough to pass the CDL tests. That’s it. There is no possible way for your school to teach you how-to be a truck driver in such a short period of time. I think you’ll soon realize your training continues well beyond the basic school, typically in the form of supervised road training for a set period of time.

Not trying to squelch your enthusiasm... just providing a bit of reality for not only you, but another person trading this.

Good luck!

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.
Patrick D.'s Comment
member avatar

WEEK 3:

By this week the other two instructors at the school were getting their new class, but our "morning ritual" never changed, we just had to share the classroom for 45min every morning. So 8am was pre-trip video and then randomly getting called out on the yard, or behind the wheel, to do a portion of the pre-trip to quiz us on the spot. They made a youtube video so we had no excuses not to watch it so we had some laughs about that. Mornings were spent backing and learning our new best friend... the "90" or alley dock backing. Then around 10am we were get in our assigned instructor's truck and head out. This was probably the most fun and engaging part of the school. We collectively made the decision to caravan together and our instructors made it their mission to teach us back roads, mountains, rural areas, city streets, and kept interstate highways to a minimum. So if you read this and are looking at this school as an option expect to get real road experience. Like I said, this was the best part because up until this point we had all been growing together and they saw the potential in all 7 of us. That unity and growth continued on the road as we shared our driving experiences with each group every time we stopped to switch drivers or take a lunch break on the road. It brought us together and it helped us teach each other as well. It was in those moments during week 3 as we learned real quick how small the lanes on the road can really get pulling a 53" trailer that our two instructors put their coaching ballcap on and had us all take a knee while he gave us that heart-to-heart talk about why they're so hard on us to learn it the right way the first time. By the end of week 3 we were all about 60-80% there on acing our pre-trip test and we all could shift & double-clutch smoothly, and downshift properly from 10th to 6th and come to a safe & proper stop. On Thursday and Friday we did our required night driving. So classes started at 3:30pm and ended at roughly 2am. from 3:30pm until sundown (roughly 7:30-8pm) we continued to practice in the yard and then took our "lunch" before driving during the night. Nothing too hard but I personally found that because of the orientation of car's headlights and the elevation of my seated position in the truck that the bright lights made visibility different than if I were facing headlights on the road in my camaro... if that makes any sense. There is a section in the DMV manual talking about night driving and visibility regarding where to look if you're blinded by high beams. I was not blinded but I will say headlights felt brighter and watching my lines was important. It could also be where we were in the hills of North Carolina, north of Wilkesboro after 10pm and everything is Pitch black and lights out by 8:30pm out there. Night Driving was only 2 days, Thursday and Friday.

WEEK 4:

This was the crunch week. The instructors were both in the mood to push us (our thirst and growth never stopped!) but laws prohibited us from driving too much or be behind the wheel longer than, I think 3hrs?, so some mornings we were driving and some mornings we were backing. Week 3 and 4 flew by and the days felt like 3-4hrs tops and the 5-day week felt like 2 full days. It's amazing how much you do behind the wheel while driving and how much time it kills. It's so easy to drift off while driving your automatic toyota camry and be bored out of your mind just driving 30min. By the end of this final week we were all 100% on our pre-trips, perfect on shifting, finding every gear, not grinding gears, straight-lining, offsetting, and docking within the NCDMV official test specifications (13 total points for all 3 tests). By the end of the week we had to share the yard with the new class but they usually came out to play with the trucks while we were on the road, just like the class before us. On Friday we had a cookout in celebration of our graduation. By 2pm Friday, April 8th, 2022 we were officially CDL school graduates of BEST Driving Academy.

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.

Interstate:

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

Dm:

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.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Patrick D.'s Comment
member avatar

CLOSING:

As I mentioned in my introduction this school shares the same name as the company that sponsors it. This is not a recruiting school, you are not required to work for Best Logistics Group once completed. However, they do take the effort to come and talk to us and we met some of their employees on three separate occasions. We met a dispatcher , operations manager, two recruiters, and one other person who was above the recruiters on the totem pole. Two employees came by during our time there, one was swinging by for a free burger while the other guy just happened to be in the neighborhood during the cookout and met one of our classmates to discuss flatbed / specialized. Several of us were interested and he was probably 26yrs old and already driving a heavy-duty truck with 2 axels & one lift axel pulling a gooseneck trailer with a winch. You're probably reading this asking yourself "where are you going now that you're finished?" some of us, including myself, are going to give BEST a try. The hardest decision, or pill to swallow if I'm honest, to starting in this business is coming to terms that 1st year greenhorn truck drivers are OTR , 7 weeks on, 7 days off. BEST did not give us that option, but if we asked for it they humbling offered it to us. They did, however, give us the options they offer every driver with experience.... regional or local, cartage or dedicated. Flatbed was a 3rd option but they were full and trainers were all occupied. The only thing they limit experience with is specialized. I know this is a seniority industry and I respect that but I also appreciate the option of not having to sacrifice my life for 1yr. I feel very lucky to have that opportunity. I keep my expectations low and realistic so not to be disappointed and so that I am prepared for when things get rough. I am excited for the future and It's scary starting my "life" over at 36 years old. It helped knowing I was not alone. Like I said, my class was all generally guys my age range and generation. We all came from similar walks of life: one guy was a former chef, one was military, one just came from Amazon as a delivery driver, and so on. We were all college grads, minus one, he was 18yrs old haha. So I guess in closing.... wish me luck and to anyone, man or woman, of any age or walk of life.... good luck to you too!

See you out on the road! - Patrick

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

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.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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

Wishing you the best, Patrick!

Still following; why is this 'in closing?!?' I'd hoped to hear more...you're not there yet!

Re: the lights. The LED's on the new stuff, the old Camaros, (yes I had one in '90!) and the old Peterbilt trucks are very different, Indeed. We've (well he's) driven both. Night driving is such an adaptation, of the non conformity of lights, sadly. At least there 'are' reg's on fog lights, finally!

Hope you'll post more; at least let us know!

Best always,

~ Anne ~

ps: The headlights on our 'night hauler' .. pulling tanks, about 8 years ago!

0190263001651035805.jpg

She had better 'bi directional' sighting on the side roads, IMHO!

Hope you'll stop back & share more, thanks! Not at ALL familiar with your school, nor company sending you there, sorry! If you need PreTrip help, here's this:

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Anne A. (G13Momcat)'s Comment
member avatar

In all sincerity, Patrick D., I hope all going forward is going well. (And, in reverse... good song, good band!)

If this the 'grand finale' of your diary, well...... as a whole, I guess Trucking Truth 'hoped for' MORE!

Best anyway!

~ Anne ~

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