Semi-Retired ;-) CDL B To CDL A, Lord Willing!

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FR8 M4N's Comment
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Hello, thanks for stopping by. I'm known as King Daddio (KD) in certain circles, aka FR8TM4N. Ripe ole age of 54, retired from Abbott Nutrition a couple of years ago, started work with a garbage disposal company a few months later. Started learning five weekday routes driving a 3/4-ton pick-up truck, called a satellite truck, with an 8 yard box on the back. It had a Perkins toter dumper, which allows you to hook-up the tote, raise it up, and dump it into the box. However, there is a lot of hand-picking and throwing of the trash in order to get it up to the front of the box, otherwise, just using the dumper would allow the trash to just pile up at the rear of the box and you still have to throw some trash to the front in order to keep using the dumper. Fun times, let me tell ya.

A few months go by and a driver quits his job. This opened up a driving position, a big step up from driving the satellite truck. I offer to get my CDL B so I can drive and I'll pay for it. (My wife had suggested even earlier, that I ought to consider getting a CDL, but honestly, at the time, just wasn't interested. But now that this position opened up, maybe she was on to something.) We talked it over and decided it was a good idea to move forward on this CDL license. We determined that a class B would be all that is needed for driving this straight-truck, and, again, I'm not even interested in getting a class A. I'm thinking, "I'll never have a need to drive the big trucks."

After learning five more routes driving the beloved garbage truck for 6 1/2 months, here we are present day and time. Whoa, not so fast; let me back up a tad to two months prior to this last Friday the 14th. I gave my boss, a wonderful fella (who reimbursed me for my class B class by-the-way!) a two month notice of my leaving the company. Why two months, you wonder? Well, it may be hard to imagine, but there really isn't anyone clamouring for a garbage truck driving job, no matter the time of year. (I know, I know; it's just not what people think.) So we were hoping and praying for that special someone to come along so I could train them in that allotted time; but alas, only one fella gave it a try, and after three days in the cab with me, he decided he had had enough already. I know, I know; hard to believe; but trust me. (And it wasn't because of me, it's the routes, honestly. lol) So unfortunately, I didn't have anyone to train to take over my routes before leaving.

Now, with just seven days to go until I'm done with my job, I'm getting nervous about class starting. Not sure why, since I hope I'm more than ready to tackle this new career head-on, but probably not a bad thing to be a little nervous, I don't want to come in too confident, I suppose.

Geeze, I was even nervous thinking about starting this diary that Anne, and sometimes Tom, suggested I do. But to just start typing like I'm telling a story, the butterflies are going away. I know I'm in good company here at the site as I've read a lot here. I've even bragged on you guys and gals already about how smart and mature it is here!

"Wait, so when does this training start? Wasn't there a diary to be written here!? Why is KD going on about all this back story stuff?" you say. Yeah, yeah, I know. I felt it was important to bring you up to speed with this little journey. The class starts tomorrow, Monday the 17th, with Trainco, in Perrysburg, OH. (Special number right there. My garbage truck was #17.) It's a sponsored class by Keller Trucking, out of Defiance, OH. I'll try to remember what I can and pass it along here as the days go by and try to answer any questions along the way, too.

I'm so looking forward to, "Driving for the Brand"! There's a bit more to say on this, but for a later time.

Okay, impressive; if you've made it this far in the reading, you either like punishment or just want to see how bad this can really go for a laugh. lol I'm with ya, it can go either way.

Until later, King Daddio, aka FR8TM4N

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

PackRat's Comment
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Following along. Good luck today on your start.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

FR8 M4N's Comment
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Day one in the book. Went over the air brake test set up and execution steps several times. Then went over it again. Then wrote it down step by step. Then went over it again with some variables. Then practiced it in the truck a few times. All good, though. For me it was a refresher but for many others it was their first exposure. And I'm glad they're going over it many times because it's that important to not mess up during the test, as you we'll know. For those that don't know, if the air brake test is messed up, the entire test is a fail and you will have to do it all over again.

The instructor explained the importance of pre-trip and how we will be going over that so much, we'll probably be dreaming about it.

The best part for me today was the coupling/uncoupling practice. I only wish we could've been using a couple of trucks instead of just one. Lot of standing around, in the cold rain and wind. Only eight students, but sharing one truck.

Looking forward to range time tomorrow with some straight line backing. I can't remember what else on the range we'll do off the top of my head, but I'm sure it will be fun, even though the weather might be rather cold and rainy again.

Until later,...

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Grumpy Army Veteran's Comment
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This is good information, hope tomorrow goes well for you.

FR8 M4N's Comment
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Day 2 and my head hurts... not because of the class, but because I have had a headache for most the day. lol

Covered a myriad of topics today and had some straight-line-backing (SLB) range time first thing in the morning. What if we all wore headsets and the instructor can talk to us with a microphone while standing near the running truck if he wants? I'm right next to the guy and can hardly hear him. Maybe it's me? haha Any who, were introduced to the oldest trucks on the range, which, by the way, keep the cost of the class down to sorta somewhat affordable. Imagine if we trained in much newer trucks how much tuition would need to be to cover the costs!? So I'm happy to be learning no matter the age and condition of the vehicles. Hey, as long as they're leaking oil, they still have oil in it; am I right? Kidding aside, we got put in three manuals and one automatic to practice the SLB for I think for an hour or so, prolly an hour and a half. We were put into groups of two and told what truck to go to. My partner and I got the automatic, which by judging by it's condition, was the better of the four trucks.

SLB went pretty good for us both. My partner went first and I'm like, wow this guy is nailing it. Then my turn and I'm like not doing too bad, but the trailer would get off a little and I would correct. I completed all my practice runs without hitting a cone, so that was successful.

While on the range I got to talking to one of the other students nearby and I mentioned how good my partner is and she explained, "Oh, that's the guy who has driven a yard dog for the last six years." Well, no wonder he didn't have any problems with this simple maneuver!

Went back to the classroom after range time for more instructions on several topics, as mentioned earlier. Lunch at noon, per usual, then back to more PowerPoints. After those we started pre-trip training. Began with a nice presentation then out to the truck to put it into practice. Wow did we luck out! He brought the truck inside so we didn't have to do this in the cold, rainy, and windy conditions. Sixty degrees (f) in the shop was much better than outdoors.

That exercise pretty much ran out the clock for the day. Finished up at 5:30, per usual, and I'm back to the hotel to nurse this aching headache.

Until later...

DAC:

Drive-A-Check Report

A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).

It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.

Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
PackRat's Comment
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What seems like information overload will seem like common sense next week. Everything will be new for awhile, so don't get overwhelmed.

Your headache is likely dehydration, prolonged standing, or the different mattress you're sleeping on now.

DAC:

Drive-A-Check Report

A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).

It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.

Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.

George B.'s Comment
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Stick w the yard dog. You will be backing like a pro. smile.gif Good luck man. Hammer down

FR8 M4N's Comment
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Day 23, uh, I mean 3. Haha Not too bad today. We hit the range first thing in the morning, while it's still dark outside, for a couple of hours practicing straight-line backing (SLB). We had plenty of trucks available, so we each got our own today. Went better for me today. Finally figured out, that if I'm looking at the last cone, I'm going to drive to the last cone! and not in a good way. After I started picking a spot further back, my going back straighter was much improved. And when it comes to which mirror to use, it seems to be an instructor's preference; because one will say use the driver's side only and another will say to use both. Well, I'm in the both camp. I found it easier to spot the trailer drifting if I watched both mirrors; and what if someone were to be walking up or something else come into the picture? I'd be able to respond accordingly quicker. Plus just picking up on cues the trailer is telling me is easier with both mirrors.

After range time, back to the classroom. We covered a few more topics and worked on maps. Refreshed my memory of a few things about how the roads are numbered across the U.S. and about business loops and beltways and spur routes. Had a quiz on the topic then it was lunch time.

For the next couple of hours went over Hazmat (HM) material. After that we had an open book quiz that was a bit harder than the maps quiz we had earlier. But it went well for us all as we had passed. I think I missed the most, which was three, but know it should've been only two! Slow down, read carefully! But it's a pass so that's good. If I should choose to go for a HM endorsement, then I would need to take the state test some time down the road. For what I'm getting into currently with driving, I don't need to worry about that for now.

Finished with the HM quiz and headed out to the trucks to practice pre-trip inspection. A few us teamed up on two trucks and helped each other get through what we currently know about pre-trip. I'm betting tomorrow we will be shown some new items to pre-trip. For now, repeat and repeat till it flows naturally without thinking. It's neat to see the people get better at this as time goes on. And everyone helps each other, which helps themselves learn it better, too.

Until later...

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.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

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.

FR8 M4N's Comment
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Following along. Good luck today on your start.

dancing-banana.gif

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

FR8 M4N's Comment
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This is good information, hope tomorrow goes well for you.

So far so good!

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