Old Man Leaves Six-Figure Salary To Begin Training As A Trucker- Psychiatric Evaluation Pending

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Grandpa Clark's Comment
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Well, Wednesday, July 27, 2022, at 7:30 a.m. in Roanoke, VA is test time! I've been through a couple of practice sessions on the driving range over the past week and all has gone well with straight backing, offset, and parallel park. Those are the only three backing maneuvers we will be tested on here in VA. I feel ready and am going for one final practice session tomorrow. There will be three of us from our class testing on Wednesday. Based on what I know of my fellow students, these two who are going with me are both well-prepared and ready to test. Our examiner is brand new, so I guess that could be good or bad. Regardless, if we pre-trip and drive the way we have been trained, it shouldn't make any difference. I'll check in Wednesday after the test with an update.

Is Pre-trip as scary as it looks in the manual? 5 pages of bullet point things to check! I can see doing it with a clipboard checklist. I can't see doing it from memory for a test!

Hi Josh, Don't let the pre-trip intimidate you. I am an absolute rookie and when I first saw the hundreds of items that had to be identified and checked, I was in shock. I wondered, "How could anyone possibly remember all of these things?" The good news is that your brain is even more incredible than these trucks, and repetition and practice are the keys. Our instructors in school showed us a full pre-trip, gave us the listed items, and then gave us tons of time to practice, both in-cab and exterior. I noticed that when we were given our pre-trip practice time, about half of the class was just goofing off. They weren't practicing and were using the time to visit, look at their phones, etc. There were about four of us that took every opportunity to practice and we checked each other, one of us playing the examiner while the other did the inspection. When test day came at the DMV , how do you think it went? Four of us aced the pre-trip and of the rest of the class, two failed the pre-trip, and the others squeaked by. If you take this seriously, and repeatedly practice, you will be amazed on test day when you find that these items are all locked in your brain, simply because you have been carefully repeating the process, dozens of times. It does not have to be 100% perfect, as a margin of error allows you to miss a certain number of items and still pass. However, shoot for 100% and you will amaze yourself at all you have learned—my best wishes to you on your journey.

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.
Anne A. (and sometimes To's Comment
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Well, Wednesday, July 27, 2022, at 7:30 a.m. in Roanoke, VA is test time! I've been through a couple of practice sessions on the driving range over the past week and all has gone well with straight backing, offset, and parallel park. Those are the only three backing maneuvers we will be tested on here in VA. I feel ready and am going for one final practice session tomorrow. There will be three of us from our class testing on Wednesday. Based on what I know of my fellow students, these two who are going with me are both well-prepared and ready to test. Our examiner is brand new, so I guess that could be good or bad. Regardless, if we pre-trip and drive the way we have been trained, it shouldn't make any difference. I'll check in Wednesday after the test with an update.

Is Pre-trip as scary as it looks in the manual? 5 pages of bullet point things to check! I can see doing it with a clipboard checklist. I can't see doing it from memory for a test!

Josh (and Fernie) ... there's an awesome Pre Trip checklist right here:

Our own Mountain Matt made it into a binder, like so:

0801550001659904962.jpg

Best to you BOTH, Josh & Fernie, and YES, Steve (Grandpa Clark)'s diary is excellent (and I know that's incorrect format, haha!) but I'm still just left wondering,

WHO'S PAUL ?!?!??!

Always, me....

~ Anne

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Ryan B.'s Comment
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Well, Wednesday, July 27, 2022, at 7:30 a.m. in Roanoke, VA is test time! I've been through a couple of practice sessions on the driving range over the past week and all has gone well with straight backing, offset, and parallel park. Those are the only three backing maneuvers we will be tested on here in VA. I feel ready and am going for one final practice session tomorrow. There will be three of us from our class testing on Wednesday. Based on what I know of my fellow students, these two who are going with me are both well-prepared and ready to test. Our examiner is brand new, so I guess that could be good or bad. Regardless, if we pre-trip and drive the way we have been trained, it shouldn't make any difference. I'll check in Wednesday after the test with an update.

Is Pre-trip as scary as it looks in the manual? 5 pages of bullet point things to check! I can see doing it with a clipboard checklist. I can't see doing it from memory for a test!

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Hi Josh, Don't let the pre-trip intimidate you. I am an absolute rookie and when I first saw the hundreds of items that had to be identified and checked, I was in shock. I wondered, "How could anyone possibly remember all of these things?" The good news is that your brain is even more incredible than these trucks, and repetition and practice are the keys. Our instructors in school showed us a full pre-trip, gave us the listed items, and then gave us tons of time to practice, both in-cab and exterior. I noticed that when we were given our pre-trip practice time, about half of the class was just goofing off. They weren't practicing and were using the time to visit, look at their phones, etc. There were about four of us that took every opportunity to practice and we checked each other, one of us playing the examiner while the other did the inspection. When test day came at the DMV , how do you think it went? Four of us aced the pre-trip and of the rest of the class, two failed the pre-trip, and the others squeaked by. If you take this seriously, and repeatedly practice, you will be amazed on test day when you find that these items are all locked in your brain, simply because you have been carefully repeating the process, dozens of times. It does not have to be 100% perfect, as a margin of error allows you to miss a certain number of items and still pass. However, shoot for 100% and you will amaze yourself at all you have learned—my best wishes to you on your journey.

Pre-trip for the EXAMINATION is 100% about getting as many reps on it as possible to have it memorized, versus actually knowing about the various parts. Pre-trip once in a truck is knowing the truck being driven everyday, looking at gauges, listening for odd sounds, and a walk around inspection of the items clearly visible to the eye. Most companies that care about safety and equipment maintenance have a maintenance bay into which a truck arriving at the terminal or departing from it may be pulled into for an inspection. Truck checks out with the technician, so anything beyond the items easily visible to the eye should be good until returning to a terminal for another inspection. Check tires, check trailer lines, check lights, check gauges, and observe proper air pressure for brakes. Truck is in good shape to roll every day with that routine.

But, before getting to that latter point, pre-trip for examination has to be nailed down. There are lots of different methods people use to help them. Some sing it. Some dance to it. Some write tons of notes. Some remember it based on experience as mechanics. Some don't know how they did it; they just did.

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.

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

Grandpa Clark's Comment
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Maverick Pre-employment and Orientation Training Summary

It is official! Even though I haven't driven a truck since my DMV test in Roanoke, VA, on July 27, yesterday I passed my final securement practical exam and successfully transitioned to the next phase of my training. Today, we will formally participate in what Maverick calls, "Crossing the Bridge", which is a new driver's welcome to Maverick as well as the introduction to the in-truck, on-the-job portion of the training, where we will join a Driver-Trainer for 3-weeks in his/her truck. (Yes, Maverick does have female drivers who, by all accounts, rock the flatbed world!)

This past week was extremely hot and humid, which only exacerbated the elevated stress we were all feeling as we learned to secure flat steel, linear products, palletized freight, steel coils, slitted steel coils, lumber, shiny bar, and tiered freight. We had written tests on securing each type of freight and seemingly endless evaluations that included specific tests on safety regulations at some of Maverick's most important customers. After the classroom securement presentations, we would move to the training bays where our instructor would demonstrate securing the freight we had just been learning about in the classroom. We would then break down the securements, and start from scratch. Each student was required to successfully complete the securement for each variety of freight. As I mentioned earlier, this is a fascinating "art" that I never dreamed even existed. When you stand back and review your handiwork (hopefully it's correct!) and then proceed to tarp the load, there is a feeling of accomplishment that I have rarely experienced in my previous "pre-Maverick" life. Once we successfully demonstrated the correct securement and tarping techniques, it was back to the classroom to take a written test (actually, testing is completed on a Maverick-provided tablet) on that type of freight.

Our final exam included a written exam (on the tablet) and the securement final, which included the examination of six different stations where six types of freight were secured to the flatbed. Our challenge was to identify each of the mistakes in the securements at that station. The six stations were: sheet steel, slitted eye-to-the-front (shotgun) steel coil, coiled steel (slinkys), shiny bar, palletized freight, and linear steel without blocking (gray bar bundles). Each station would have three or four errors, except for one station that was secured correctly. It seems that each of us struggled the most with the perfect station. It happened to be the palletized freight and most of us spent the entire 6-minutes of the allotted time, trying desperately to figure out where the errors were. Of course, there were no errors at that particular station, so it was a relief that I didn't identify any errors at that location.

After successfully completing our final exam, the Maverick Training Dept. was advised that we had successfully completed this phase of our training. Today we will return home for the weekend, before joining our driver-trainer Sunday or Monday, depending on the trainer's schedule. My trainer called immediately after I completed my final exams and we had a very informative chat during which he introduced himself and gave me some tips for packing for next week. My trainer has been driving for Maverick for 2-years and it sounds like I'm his seventh or eighth trainee. He lives about 5 hrs drive west of my hometown, so the commute will be a bit more than the 2-hrs Maverick was hoping for, but it is only for 3-weeks, so it's no big deal.

Another step has been completed and I plan to continue periodic updates once I join William, my driver-trainer. Thanks again to each of you and to all the TruckingTruth moderators who have been such an encouragement to me on my journey. Onward....

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.

PackRat's Comment
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Congratulations on another step completed! Still following....

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Grandpa Clark's Comment
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First 3-Days With Trainer- Summary Well, we just wrapped up our 3rd day hauling freight on Maverick's Atlantic Regional Account, where my trainer has worked for the past two years. He joined Maverick after working in the coal mines of Kentucky for 10+years and speaks very highly of his time with Maverick. He is 31-years old, a family man with two young children, and we have been getting along great. He is very calm, very understanding, and keeps apologizing for having to correct someone who is his elder. I just laugh and tell him to imagine I'm some 21-year-old, although, I admit that's a tough thing to imagine!

I started out Monday, leaving my home early, in heavy rain, for the 5-hour drive to his home, which is in the far southwest corner of Virginia. I arrived at his house at 8:00 a.m. and he was just returning from dropping his son off at school. We got the truck loaded and for the first time I had the opportunity to examine my home for the next 3-weeks. I'll admit, that top bunk reminded me of when I was a kid, and the bed looked about the same size. I piled my gear on my bunk and off we went to pick up our first load of lumber, just outside Knoxville, TN. I was able to observe the "magic" of the automatic tarping machine which did 90% of the work in tarping our 40K lbs of lumber. I was impressed! (I was also relieved that he didn't have to see my terrible tarping skills right of the bat.) I struggled with tarping at Maverick's securement training and I must say that it remains an enigma to me to this day. I hope as I progress in my learning, that I'll become more comfortable and proficient.

I spent the first night of my life in a truck stop at Fort Chiswell, VA, and after the very early start leaving my home in Lynchburg, I was exhausted by the time we shut down. I had simply been observing my trainer all day, so I hadn't even done any driving, but I slept soundly and was surprised at the insulation in the sleeper and how quiet it was, despite the army of trucks coming and going all night. We got up at 3:30 a.m. and proceeded to Camp Hill, PA where we dropped the lumber. On Tuesday I drove for 5 hrs. and it was primarily interstate driving with seemingly endless construction zones as we crossed PA on the way to Pittsburgh. We stopped at a PA Turnpike rest area for the night. Most of the restaurants in the rest areas of PA still appear to be closed, despite Covid being in our rear-view mirror. Not sure what's up with that, but perhaps they are having trouble with staffing? We got up at 3 am and headed for Pittsburgh to pick up our second load of the week, about 36K lbs of steel coils (3). We arrived at the shipper at 5 am this morning. By 7 am we were loaded, secured, tarped, and driving through a heavy rain southbound for Anderson, SC. I drove for about 2 hours and we ran out of time just south of Fancy Gap, VA. We are 3 hrs from our destination and plan to leave in about 4 am in hopes of making a 7-8 am delivery window in South Carolina.

Observations thus far: 1. This part of the country is woefully short of both truck parking and trucker services at the parking locations we do have. 2. Is the entire state of Pennsylvania under construction? 3. Sometimes it seems a truck governed at 65 mph is more of a hazard in 70 mph zones than if it were perhaps allowed to run at the posted speed limit. Thankfully, Maverick trucks are equipped with a "PassSmart" system that allows the drivers 1-hr of 70 mph travel in order to pass. Several times in the hills of West Virginia, our truck was crawling uphill at 40-45 mph, while four-wheelers whizzed by at 80 mph+. The disparity in speed is clearly hazardous. I know fuel economy is king to the mega carriers, but it would seem there could be a middle-of-the-road solution somewhere to help mitigate this hazard. 4. A good trainer is a company's best asset. My trainer, despite being young and only having two years of driving under his belt, is positive, patient, and encouraging. When he corrects, he does so with a sense of humor and in a way that does not demean or belittle the one being corrected. I feel very thankful that I will be able to learn from him for the next 3-weeks. Tomorrow by this time, we should have the coils delivered, and our last load onboard. We are on track to get back to his place sometime Friday and I hope to get home by Friday night to sleep in my own bed. No complaints about my bunk in the truck, but let's just say it is not quite the same experience as being at home.

Until my next update...onward!

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.

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.

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.
Anne A. (and sometimes To's Comment
member avatar
A good trainer is a company's best asset.

Well said, good sir. So many before you have said the same, yet oftentimes this has fallen upon deaf ears. Hopefully, companies are finally learning... and this will come to fruition, sooner than later .. yes?

Love following; glad things are going fairly smooth, and not TOO daunting, with such a drastic/dramatic career change!

I've directed a 'many' of folks to your diary; it's awesome.

Keep on keeping on; and 'interact' in the "general" forum, if & when you have time! You've got MUCH to share, indeed.

~ Anne ~

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Ryan B.'s Comment
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A good trainer is a company's best asset.

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Well said, good sir. So many before you have said the same, yet oftentimes this has fallen upon deaf ears. Hopefully, companies are finally learning... and this will come to fruition, sooner than later .. yes?

Here is the problem being faced by companies, with regard to trainers. There is not an efficient way to replace trainers as they age and eventually retire. Every industry over the last 20 years has been facing a looming problem of catastrophic labor shortage and the cause is the largest generation in numbers, baby boomers, is retiring and dying off. This generation has provided greater numbers to the workforce than the generations after it are able to replace. Simply put, the good trainers are retiring and dying off and they can't be replaced fast enough because there are not enough people in the workforce to go around. That's why companies are forced to use drivers as trainers who like the money but don't care about teaching. There really isn't a solution and there is no lesson to be learned by companies. They simply have no other options.

Anne A. (and sometimes To's Comment
member avatar
Here is the problem being faced by companies, with regard to trainers. There is not an efficient way to replace trainers as they age and eventually retire. Every industry over the last 20 years has been facing a looming problem of catastrophic labor shortage and the cause is the largest generation in numbers, baby boomers, is retiring and dying off. This generation has provided greater numbers to the workforce than the generations after it are able to replace. Simply put, the good trainers are retiring and dying off and they can't be replaced fast enough because there are not enough people in the workforce to go around. That's why companies are forced to use drivers as trainers who like the money but don't care about teaching. There really isn't a solution and there is no lesson to be learned by companies. They simply have no other options.

Point accepted as reality. Steve got lucky/was blessed. (Or both!) Love when the stars align!

~ Anne ~

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Grandpa Clark's Comment
member avatar

Finished Up With Driver Trainer, and On To Maverick HQ in North Little Rock for Final Evaluation

I am writing tonight from the student dorms at Maverick HQ in North Little Rock AR. I finished up my 14-working days with my driver trainer William on this past Wednesday morning. We were under a load and were redirected to the Maverick terminal at Laurinburg, NC as the truck was due for service. This provided a logical separation point and I obtained a rental car to get me from the terminal to my personal vehicle which was parked 6-hrs away at William's residence. The alternative was to ride out the week with my trainer and return to his house on Friday evening. Since I have only been home for 36-hrs in the past 3 weeks, it seemed logical that since my training period was complete, I would try to get home for a couple of days before departing for my final evaluation in Arkansas. It was bittersweet leaving William's truck. I couldn't have asked for a better trainer and I am so thankful for all the time and effort he expended on my behalf.

Maverick provided a rental vehicle and asked me to be in North Little Rock by Sunday evening and here I am. Tomorrow, everyone is off for Labor Day, so I'm not sure why we had to report on Sunday evening, but no matter, I'm glad to have the 13-hr drive behind me. I left Lynchburg, VA at 4:00 a.m. and arrived at Maverick HQ at about 4:30 p.m.

My final thoughts on the driver trainer portion of this process are as follows:

#1: 14-days seems about right to me. Of course, there is so much that I have yet to learn, I feel I could have stayed with William for 3-months and I'd still have questions. I understand that the purpose of the driver trainer portion of the process is to ensure the new driver operates the vehicle as safely as possible, and understands the basics of truck operations, loading, securing, unloading, time management, and trip planning. I stress that what we are looking for here is strictly the basics, in other words, the bare necessities required in order to safely get the truck and cargo from A to B without an incident. Maverick provides a 24-hr Securement Hotline that allows any driver to call for securement advice at any time. After 14-days, both William and I agreed that it was time to push me out of the nest and that I was ready to embark solo where the real learning will take place.

#2: Maverick has been 100% truthful and professional in their dealings with me, from the very first phone call, until this moment. There have been several times when they have done small things that seem unusual for a large corporate entity. For example, on my trip from Lynchburg, VA to Little Rock, AR, they told me to feel free to stop and get a hotel if I got tired. It is only a 13-hr drive, well within what I consider reasonable for a one-day trip, but they left it up to me to decide if I wanted to split it into 2-days or do it in one. They said they would reimburse up to $100/night for a hotel room. I thought that was generous.

#3: There is a sense of camaraderie that surprised me among the Maverick drivers. Several times, an experienced driver has come alongside and answered a question, or suggested an alternative way of doing something, not as a know-it-all, but rather just to be helpful. The mechanics, the other drivers, and the support staff at the terminals all have made me feel very welcome. There does not appear to be any sort of hazing culture that was very common in law enforcement when experienced officers were dealing with rookies. Perhaps the fact that I'm 57 years old has something to do with it, but most of the experienced drivers I have met have been most helpful and pleasant.

#4: It seems hard to believe that in just 9-weeks, I have gone from never having set foot in a tractor-trailer to operating one through the mountains of West Virginia, in the pouring rain and bumper-to-bumper traffic. Do I feel ready for solo operations? Well, let me put it this way. When I was working on my pilot's license, I noticed that the instructor made the decision as to when I was ready to solo the airplane. I promise you that when the instructor got out and told me to take off alone, every fiber of my being screamed that I wasn't ready. And yet, the experience of my instructor dictated otherwise, and he was right. The solo, while not pretty, went off without a hitch. Three rather hard and awkward (but safe) landings later, and I had newfound confidence that I could fly the airplane alone. Was I proficient? No! Was I skilled, smooth, and experienced? No! But I could safely take off and land without putting myself or anyone else in danger. I feel the same way tonight. Am I proficient as a flatbedder? No! Am I skilled, smooth, and experienced? No! But, I do believe I can safely operate the truck and secure freight without putting myself or others in danger, and I know where I can go for answers when I get stuck. Am I nervous? Absolutely, but in a good kind of way. I want to leverage that nervous energy to enhance my focus and concentration on the multitude of tasks that one day (hopefully) will become second nature to me.

The evaluation process will take place Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. If all goes well, I'll be assigned my truck and trailer on Thursday and head back East to join the team hauling steel from Nucor near Charleston, S.C. I'll check in with the results of my evaluation later this week.

Onward...

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.

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