Starting A Career In Trucking With DUI - My Story

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6 string rhythm's Comment
member avatar

A few of you know me by now. I've recently been more active on the forum, private messaged with some of you, and chatted on the phone. I joined Trucking Truth almost two years ago. Some of you might not know that I have a DUI. It happened over 5 years ago. I'm writing this thread to serve as a word of caution, inspiration, and encouragement.

About 2 years removed from my DUI , I decided to seriously pursue trucking as a career. I had just gotten married. My wife was on board with the decision. Trucking's been a dream of mine since a boy. Needless to say, I had no clue about how to get started in the trucking industry. I joined this forum and started searching the internet for information. I also started calling trucking companies. I actually had a pre-hire by Werner, having received information in the mail after talking with a recruiter. He never asked during that initial conversation if I had a DUI. I never thought I needed to tell him. It's not that I was being deceptive - they would've found out regardless. I really just had no clue what was required by most companies, i.e. how your driving and criminal record can affect your trucking career.

After I received my info from Werner in the mail, I realized that my DUI had serious implications on a career in trucking. I found this out through a forum. I was devastated. I called Werner and talked to the recruiter. He said I'd have to wait until I had 5 years removed. Specifically, 5 years removed from when I had my driving privileges reinstated - not the conviction date. The violation date was August 20th, 2008. By the time it took to go to court, serve my 30 day license suspension, and finish my ARD class (which results in expungement from my criminal record, NOT my driving record), it wasn't until July 14th 2009 that my driving privileges were restored. Fast forward to this July 14th, 2014, and I'll have 5 years removed.

After I was aware of how my DUI would affect my trucking career, I still wanted to drive, but I had to wait. I looked at some other companies that only required 3 years removed. After contacting a local driving school, the director suggested that I wait for the 5 year mark in order to have more opportunity - in order to be more hire-able. He said if I found a company that only required 3 years removed from the DUI, he'd accept me into his school, but I had to get a letter of intent, or a pre-hire. You see, this man isn't concerned about just taking a student's money. Of course he isn't just being completely altruistic. It's to his benefit that his school maintains a reputation of having quality, hire-able drivers. That's why recruiters of major trucking companies take the time to come to his school in person, even though they only have a graduating class of 6 people per course. These companies know they're getting quality drivers.

I made the decision to just wait for 5 years. Which is why after joining this forum awhile ago, there was a gap in my involvement on the forum. I just started posting again recently since I'm coming into that time frame of my 5 year mark. I'm actually going to that school that I mentioned above. I have more opportunity now that I waited. I've planned my schooling so that I'll graduate about a week before my 5 year mark.

Why am I writing this? It's not to air my dirty laundry. People make mistakes. I'm writing this as a word of caution, inspiration, and encouragement. I'm a different person now than when I was 5 years ago. Call it a moment of clarity, an awakening, maybe just growing up. I met my wife-to-be about a month after I drove drunk. During the time that we got to know each other, I changed - not entirely because of her. I've become a responsible adult, a better son, a better brother, a husband, a father, a man. I've been married since 2010 and have a little girl that turned two this past January. My little girl has never seen me drink. By the grace of God she never will. For me, one drink is too many - 20 is not enough. Only those that truly know will understand what I'm saying.

I'm thankful that I only had 1 DUI. Had I gotten two, I probably wouldn't have been able to have a career in trucking. My 10 year driving record is spotless besides my 1 DUI, and 1 minor traffic violation. I've already received a pre-hire from Prime Inc. I'm confident I'm hire-able for Schneider and Crete / Shaffer as well. Certain companies I'll never be able to work for. But to all you prospective drivers that only have 1 DUI, there are plenty of companies out there that will give you a second chance.

"Only" 1 DUI is too many. There is never any excuse to drive drunk. I'm fortunate I didn't kill somebody. The sad thing is that most drunk drivers think they're OK to drive. It's a great deception.

I hope that this thread serves as a warning and inspiration. I hope that somebody searching the internet finds this helpful. Being a man of many mistakes, I've taken responsibility, and I'm thankful for the grace that's been given to me. I'm excited to become a truck driver.

Pre-hire:

What Exactly Is A Pre-Hire Letter?

Pre-hire letters are acceptance letters from trucking companies to students, or even potential students, to verify placement. The trucking companies are saying in writing that the student, or potential student, appears to meet the company's minimum hiring requirements and is welcome to attend their orientation at the company’s expense once he or she graduates from truck driving school and has their CDL in hand.

We have an excellent article that will help you Understand The Pre-Hire Process.

A Pre-Hire Letter Is Not A Guarantee Of Employment

The people that receive a pre-hire letter are people who meet the company's minimum hiring requirements, but it is not an employment contract. It is an invitation to orientation, and the orientation itself is a prerequisite to employment.

During the orientation you will get a physical, drug screen, and background check done. These and other qualifications must be met before someone in orientation is officially hired.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

DUI:

Driving Under the Influence

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

Bob H.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks for sharing your story Bill. You may never know if it inspired somebody to change their life or not, but you at least put fourth an effort and tried to help others. Sounds like you have turned the corner and are headed in the right direction. Wish you success with your upcoming training and the start of your new career!

Rico's Comment
member avatar

Bill, I am glad you managed to get things turned around. We all do things that can come back and haunt us. Proving to others that we've changed to a more productive path can be frustrating. It takes a lot of determination and time. But it's worth it in the end.

Jopa's Comment
member avatar
Being a man of many mistakes, I've taken responsibility, and I'm thankful for the grace that's been given to me. I'm excited to become a truck driver.

Like I always say, there is no such thing as luck - mercy & grace, the only two things that are available . . . spoken like a true believer, Bill, very good, very good.

Jopa

smile.gif

Tony S.'s Comment
member avatar

Awesome to see how you have matured and changed your life! I am rooting for you Bill!

George C.'s Comment
member avatar

well man i'm truly happy for u and talk the same language. but i didn't smarten up as quick as you. 15 yrs. ago i got a felony dui (3 in 5yrs) no excuses, was at a bad place in my life back then. haven't been drunk in 11 years and seldom have a beer now and then. been in rehab, did my time, aa meetings for years and no longer an issue for me at 60yo. what works for me, not promoting to others, is moderation (in all things) over abstinence. my recent (11 yrs trouble free) history and lifestyle backs my position. my problem, apparently, is steady work history. choosing to help a friend with mental health issues (now in permanent facility) for the past 5 years seems to count to nobody, except her, her family and me, in the trucking industry because i've been denied acceptance into 3 cdl sponserd trucking firms on the account of 'no verifyable work history'. i wouldn't change it (except the dui's) for anything. though it was very tough at times, i was doing service work, u should know what i mean, for humanity and selflessness. now i'm paying the price as far as the trucking industry goes but i have/believe in faith, hope and love! it takes a truck load of hope and faith but trust in the good in the world. hard lesson to learn starting with the dui's but am a better man for learning them, like you. best wishes for health, safety and success my friend with bill. keep up the good work. peace! george canalos gcanalos@yahoo.com

I joined Trucking Truth almost two years ago. Some of you might not know that I have a DUI. It happened over 5 years ago. I'm writing this thread to serve as a word of caution, inspiration, and encouragement.

I decided to seriously pursue trucking as a career. I had just gotten married. My wife was on board with the decision. Trucking's been a dream of mine since a boy. I started calling trucking companies. He never asked during that initial conversation if I had a DUI. I never thought I needed to tell him. It's not that I was being deceptive - they would've found out regardless. I really just had no clue what was required by most companies, i.e. how your driving and criminal record can affect your trucking career.

I realized my DUI had serious implications on a career in trucking. I found this out through a forum. I was devastated. He said I'd have to wait until I had 5 years removed. Specifically, 5 years removed from when I had my driving privileges reinstated - not the conviction date. Fast forward to this July 14th, 2014, and I'll have 5 years removed.

After I was aware of how my DUI would affect my trucking career, I still wanted to drive, but I had to wait. I looked at some other companies that only required 3 years removed. After contacting a local driving school, the director suggested that I wait for the 5 year mark in order to have more opportunity - in order to be more hire-able. He said if I found a company that only required 3 years removed from the DUI, he'd accept me into his school, but I had to get a letter of intent, or a pre-hire. You see, this man isn't concerned about just taking a student's money. It's to his benefit that his school maintains a reputation of having quality, hire-able drivers. That's why recruiters of major trucking companies take the time to come to his school in person, even though they only have a graduating class of 6 people per course. These companies know they're getting quality drivers.

I made the decision to just wait for 5 years. I just started posting again recently since I'm coming into that time frame of my 5 year mark. I'm actually going to that school that I mentioned above. I have more opportunity now that I waited. I've planned my schooling so that I'll graduate about a week before my 5 year mark.

People make mistakes. I'm writing this as a word of caution, inspiration, and encouragement. I'm a different person now Call it a moment of clarity, an awakening, maybe just growing up. I met my wife-to-be about a month after I drove drunk. I changed I've become a responsible adult, a better son, a better brother, a husband, a father, a man. My little girl has never seen me drink. By the grace of God she never will. one drink is too many - 20 is not enough. Only those that truly know will understand what I'm saying.

I'm thankful that I only had 1 DUI. My 10 year driving record is spotless besides my 1 DUI, and 1 minor traffic violation. Certain companies I'll never be able to work for But there are plenty of companies out there that will give you a second chance.

There is never any excuse to drive drunk. I'm fortunate I didn't kill somebody.

this thread serves as a warning and inspiration. I hope that somebody finds this helpful. I've taken responsibility, and I'm thankful for the grace that's been given to me.

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.

Pre-hire:

What Exactly Is A Pre-Hire Letter?

Pre-hire letters are acceptance letters from trucking companies to students, or even potential students, to verify placement. The trucking companies are saying in writing that the student, or potential student, appears to meet the company's minimum hiring requirements and is welcome to attend their orientation at the company’s expense once he or she graduates from truck driving school and has their CDL in hand.

We have an excellent article that will help you Understand The Pre-Hire Process.

A Pre-Hire Letter Is Not A Guarantee Of Employment

The people that receive a pre-hire letter are people who meet the company's minimum hiring requirements, but it is not an employment contract. It is an invitation to orientation, and the orientation itself is a prerequisite to employment.

During the orientation you will get a physical, drug screen, and background check done. These and other qualifications must be met before someone in orientation is officially hired.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

DUI:

Driving Under the Influence

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.

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

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