Florida State College At Jacksonville (FSCJ) - Commercial Vehicle Driving

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Seatack's Comment
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Day 17 (9/14/22)

Day 18 (9/15/22)

I grouped these days together because they were basically the same. I won’t bore you with every little detail.

Map reading and trip planning are the last things to cover in the classroom portion of this program. We spent both days doing multiple exercises and worksheets. We had a quiz each day.

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Seatack's Comment
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Day 19 (9/16/22)

Our last day of classroom instruction!

We began our day with the ELDT test. For those of us who had their permit before Feb. 7th we were exempt. I hung out in the breakroom while they tested, along with the 3 other students who were exempt. We used that time to study for our final classroom test.

When everyone was done with their ELDT test we returned for a final review, and our final KAHOOT game of the class. I retained my crown as the number 1 player, to no one's surprise this time, lol!

We broke for lunch to give us a break before our final test.

Our final test was 75 questions, covering everything we had learned during these 4 weeks. The test took quite a while. After we finished, it was graded and we were given our final grades for the course! (There was only 1 student who failed the course, he will be forced to repeat the 2nd two week class again).

Before we were dismissed, we were given a checklist for the driving portion of the course, and assigned an instructor to be paired with in our truck!

Day 20 (9/19/22)

We are finally out of the classroom and now ready to drive! We began our day with roll call and then we broke into our groups to meet our instructors for the next 4 weeks!

We now have 15 students and 4 instructors. I just happened to be in the group that only has 3 students, (would have been 4 with the student who didnt pass). My Instructor is Mr. Len.

He began with a course outline, and calendar. Remember we are taking CVD 3 (vehicle inspection and backing) and CVD 4 (road driving) at the same time. Or group will do driving in the morning and pad work after lunch everyday for next 4 weeks.

Our calendar outlined all the state testing dates. Our first shot at vehicle inspection will be on Wednesday of week 3. Assuming we pass that, our first shot at backing will be the next day (Thursday of week 3) , and the road test would be administered on Tuesday of week 4. (State of Florida mandates a 48 hr window between a failed test and a retest, so any failed tests will delay the next. We have as many shots as that mandate will allow before the end of the course.)

After checking to make sure we all had our DL, CLP and medical card we jumped right into a truck (a bobtail).

We started with everyone taking a few laps around the track that surrounds the training pad. After Len felt comfortable with that, we took the bobtail out on the streets near the campus. We rotated seat time. I was first up and got 20 miles behind the wheel at speeds up to 45 mph. Concentrating mostly on just upshifting and getting a feel of being behind the wheel. The other 2 students got about the same mileage and we returned to campus for lunch.

After lunch it was all pad work for the rest of the day. We spent the 1st hour or so rotating seat time on the straight backing maneuver. After everyone seemed to get that down we were introduced to the offset backing maneuver. This one didnt go as smooth as straight back but it was our first day behind the wheel.

We are required to fill out driver logs daily and turn them in before going home. We went inside to do our logs and then we were released at 5pm.

It felt good to finally be driving and I was so glad to get from behind the desk! I am truly excited about this part if the course!

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

CLP:

Commercial Learner's Permit

Before getting their CDL, commercial drivers will receive their commercial learner's permit (CLP) upon passing the written portion of the CDL exam. They will not have to retake the written exam to get their CDL.

Seatack's Comment
member avatar

Day 21 (9/20/22)

Bad start to the day. I overslept. Class starts at 8am, I didn’t arrive to campus until 8:30. To my disappointment my group had already left with the truck. I texted my instructor and he said he would come back and pick me up when they had time.

I decided to use my waiting time to work on my pre-Trip inspection. I went over to a tractor that wasn’t being used, popped the hood and started with the engine components. I finished the engine compartment and began on the suspension and brake system components. I received a text from my instructor around 9:30 that they were on their way back to campus to pick me up. They arrived around 9:45 and to my surprise they were pulling a trailer this time! No more bob tailing. All of our trailers are 53 footers, some dry van , some moving van (equipped with mattress storage compartments, and a few flat bed trailers.

I jumped in the truck, sincerely apologized to everyone for my tardiness and assured them it wouldn’t happen again. We were pulling a dry van trailer. I had missed our instructor’s demonstration on how to drive while pulling a trailer. Yesterday we only had a trailer on the pad during backing practice. He gave me a verbal crash course, and I got about 45 minutes behind the wheel due to my tardiness. We drove the same local route we did the previous day, with speeds up to 45 mph. Turning with a trailer is definitely something I’m gonna have to get used to, but I think I did pretty well. I didn't run over any curbs and I believe my trailer was only in the grass once during a turn. A couple times he did have to tell me to go out further before turning though. I got about 15 miles in after the other 2 students drove and we returned to campus for lunch.

Len told us we would be hitting I-10 tomorrow at speeds up to 70 mph! I asked “will our trucks go that fast?” and he told me none of the 2018 or newer Peterbilts are governed. I was a little nervous but excited nonetheless. He told us we would each have at least 1000 miles behind the wheel before the completion of the program.

We came back from lunch for our afternoon session on the pad. In the afternoon we have to couple the trailers to the tractor as part of our practice. Today was my turn to do it. I remembered my checklist from the class and the things the student did the day before and got it done.

We each rotated about 5 times on the straight back maneuver and then moved into offset. I felt a lot more comfortable doing the offsets today, I even managed to do it 2 or 3 times with no pull ups on either side. Len said we were doing so well he wanted to introduce us to the alley dock. He took me first and left the other 2 to do offsets.

Most of the newer tractors were in use either on the pad or on the road with the other groups. We used an old international tractor and 53 ft moving van trailer. He ran thru the maneuver twice with me sitting in the passenger seat, explaining how and when to turn, and what to look for, then we switched seats. (Deep exhale) I could see this was not going to come to me as fast as the other two backing maneuvers. I struggled, like severely! We stayed at it for a little over an hour and I think I made it into the boundary once on my own. (I competed it twice with him in the passenger seat telling when and how much to turn). My confidence took a big hit. Len gave me a pep talk and told me it was just the first day doing this not to worry, I would have plenty of time to get it down in the next 3 weeks. Tomorrow the other two students would get their turn on the alley dock and he would leave me to do offsets and straight backs all afternoon.

We filled out our driver logs and went home for the day.

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.

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.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

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.

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

Some days we all struggle with backing, so don't worry about it yet. Great updates!

Michael B. 's Comment
member avatar

Hey Seatack, my first day in a truck driver's seat was yesterday at the Swift Academy in Phoenix (day one of week three of a four-week program). I'm excited to learn the ways of backing. Little by little, I will get there. I enjoy your diary and am following along!

Day 21 (9/20/22)

Bad start to the day. I overslept. Class starts at 8am, I didn’t arrive to campus until 8:30. To my disappointment my group had already left with the truck. I texted my instructor and he said he would come back and pick me up when they had time.

I decided to use my waiting time to work on my pre-Trip inspection. I went over to a tractor that wasn’t being used, popped the hood and started with the engine components. I finished the engine compartment and began on the suspension and brake system components. I received a text from my instructor around 9:30 that they were on their way back to campus to pick me up. They arrived around 9:45 and to my surprise they were pulling a trailer this time! No more bob tailing. All of our trailers are 53 footers, some dry van , some moving van (equipped with mattress storage compartments, and a few flat bed trailers.

I jumped in the truck, sincerely apologized to everyone for my tardiness and assured them it wouldn’t happen again. We were pulling a dry van trailer. I had missed our instructor’s demonstration on how to drive while pulling a trailer. Yesterday we only had a trailer on the pad during backing practice. He gave me a verbal crash course, and I got about 45 minutes behind the wheel due to my tardiness. We drove the same local route we did the previous day, with speeds up to 45 mph. Turning with a trailer is definitely something I’m gonna have to get used to, but I think I did pretty well. I didn't run over any curbs and I believe my trailer was only in the grass once during a turn. A couple times he did have to tell me to go out further before turning though. I got about 15 miles in after the other 2 students drove and we returned to campus for lunch.

Len told us we would be hitting I-10 tomorrow at speeds up to 70 mph! I asked “will our trucks go that fast?” and he told me none of the 2018 or newer Peterbilts are governed. I was a little nervous but excited nonetheless. He told us we would each have at least 1000 miles behind the wheel before the completion of the program.

We came back from lunch for our afternoon session on the pad. In the afternoon we have to couple the trailers to the tractor as part of our practice. Today was my turn to do it. I remembered my checklist from the class and the things the student did the day before and got it done.

We each rotated about 5 times on the straight back maneuver and then moved into offset. I felt a lot more comfortable doing the offsets today, I even managed to do it 2 or 3 times with no pull ups on either side. Len said we were doing so well he wanted to introduce us to the alley dock. He took me first and left the other 2 to do offsets.

Most of the newer tractors were in use either on the pad or on the road with the other groups. We used an old international tractor and 53 ft moving van trailer. He ran thru the maneuver twice with me sitting in the passenger seat, explaining how and when to turn, and what to look for, then we switched seats. (Deep exhale) I could see this was not going to come to me as fast as the other two backing maneuvers. I struggled, like severely! We stayed at it for a little over an hour and I think I made it into the boundary once on my own. (I competed it twice with him in the passenger seat telling when and how much to turn). My confidence took a big hit. Len gave me a pep talk and told me it was just the first day doing this not to worry, I would have plenty of time to get it down in the next 3 weeks. Tomorrow the other two students would get their turn on the alley dock and he would leave me to do offsets and straight backs all afternoon.

We filled out our driver logs and went home for the day.

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.

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.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Seatack's Comment
member avatar

Day 22 (9/21/22)

Today was our first day of interstate driving. We would be going from Jacksonville to Madison and back, about 200 miles round trip.

Same tractor and trailer from the previous day.

I drove the 2nd leg of our trip. The first student drove until we got to the Busy Bee in Live Oak, FL. I took over from there. I went through the scale house on I-10 as well as the agricultural inspection check. I felt surprisingly comfortable driving at 70 mph. I had no problems upshifting, getting on and off the ramps or lane changing. I remembered to keep checking my mirrors and watching my trailer. I struggled a bit when downshifting, but got better towards the end of my leg. Len had me drive in the left lane for about 10 miles just to get the feel of it. I admit I was a little nervous driving past other big rigs on the 2 lane section of the interstate, but managed to do to do so without any hiccups. I drove from Live Oak to Madison and then back to Lake City, FL where the 3rd student took over. I drove a total of 70 miles today.

The 3rd student drove us back to Jacksonville. We will be taking the same route for the rest of the week, rotating times so everyone gets a chance to drive through the scales and agricultural inspection check.

We broke for lunch and came back for our afternoon session on the pad.

The other 2 students got some one on one time on the alley dock. I spent the rest of the day rotating on straight back and offset, with whoever wasn’t doing alley dock at the time. We stopped at 4pm and did pre trip until 5 pm.

Day 23 (9/22/22)

Same exact route and daily routine as the previous day. This time I drove 3rd leg (Lake City to Jacksonville), I got 76 miles behind the wheel. We returned to Jacksonville and broke for lunch.

Pad time went very well today. I feel more and more comfortable with the backing maneuvers with each rep. I think my break from alley dock yesterday really helped me “zero in” my offset. I’m doing it more often now with no pull-ups. My alley dock improved as well.

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.
George B.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the updates. Keep on keepin on.

George B.'s Comment
member avatar

Have you decided on a company yet?

Seatack's Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the updates. Keep on keepin on.

Have you decided on a company yet?

Thank you George and, no I haven’t decided in a carrier yet. I have some things in the works but no decision has been made yet.

Seatack's Comment
member avatar

Day 24 (9/23/22)

We found there would only 2 of us today. One of our fellow students had another obligation and wouldn't be here today. So me and the other student would split the 4 hours of our drive time today.

We took the same route, truck and trailer as we had the previous days. Hopped on I-10 in Jacksonville and drove all the way to Madison. I drove the first 2 hours, across I-10, thru the agriculture inspection and through the scale house until we reached the TA in Madison. I drove from 8am to 10am and got 111 miles behind the wheel! That brings my total for the first week behind the wheel to 292 miles. Well ahead of our goal of getting 1000 miles in these 4 weeks behind the wheel.

During our drive time our Instructor Len, gave us a verbal walkthrough of an entire pre trip inspection. It really helped us understand the language we needed to use when it came time for our testing.

The other student drove us back to Jacksonville and then we broke for lunch.

We returned from lunch for a pre trip session. Our Instructor took us around to different trucks and trailers on the pad to point out some key differences. We won't know exactly which vehicle we will have for the test so, it's best we get familiar with all the different tractors and trailers we have on campus.

We spent the last 2 hours rotating on offset and alley dock. Since there was only two of us we got a lot of reps. I found myself trying to get the truck perfectly centered in the lanes, but my Instructor advised me to not use unnecessary pullups. If it was in between the lines, leave it. Today was probably my most successful day at backing.

TGIF!

We filled out our daily driver logs and Len explained how we needed to fill out our off-duty logs for the weekend to turn in on Monday.

All in all, it was a very successful week!

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