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

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FR8 M4N's Comment
member avatar

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.

I think you're on to something there! Plus I ate half a pizza for dinner which can contribute to headaches for me. I drank more water today!

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.

FR8 M4N's Comment
member avatar

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

Thanks, GB!

Grumpy Army Veteran's Comment
member avatar

Can’t wait. I’ve got a little over two weeks left before I start.

FR8 M4N's Comment
member avatar

Day 4 and it's going quick, even as some of the days seem long. Started with range time first thing this morning, again while it was still dark, cold, and breezy. Some of us started the lane change maneuver, ah hum, I was one of them. Ok, left was easier than right, but both were difficult until I figured out I was turning too late and I couldn't catch the trailer. Pull-up and try again. It's all good though; gotta learn how to figure out the mistakes some how. My yard dog partner was a pro! And I learned from watching him that my error was the late turning. I was also trying to hard to find my buddy cone in the right mirror during the right lane change. I was waiting too long to find it in the mirror instead of turning to get the tractor and trailer straight first. Those two hours went too fast.

Back inside for more topics to be covered until lunch. After that, more topics! Some short and sweet. Some a little longer.

But 3 PM was time to go drive on the road! Just bobtailing, but we pretend we're pulling a trailer. We got ~35 minutes each between the three of us. I know what I have to work on; slowing down sooner and not taking off so fast. I was just trying to get a feel of the pedal, honest! lol The other two in the back are like, whoa, you go John! Haha The trainer remarked that I had a lead foot. Ok, I'll take it easy. That time went by too fast. Next thing you know it's time to go.

Test first thing in the morning tomorrow; 100 questions. Then two hours of pre-trip practice after that. Looking forward to another day of learning.

Until then...

Bobtail:

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

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Sandman J's Comment
member avatar

Good luck in your training, FR8TM4N! We started on the same day. Hope you're enjoying it as much as I am.

FR8 M4N's Comment
member avatar

Good luck in your training, FR8TM4N! We started on the same day. Hope you're enjoying it as much as I am.

It has been a good time. A lot of the folks in there are stressing; but studying and preparing ahead of time would help a lot.

Good luck, too!

FR8 M4N's Comment
member avatar

Day 5 and we're out pulling a trailer down the road! That is so cool. Hard to believe how fast you get put onto a cab, even people without any experience. It was a 48' trailer, empty. Though as windy as it was today a little weight would've been ok. But I got ahead of myself.

First thing in the morning we had a Truckers Against Trafficking presentation to watch which was a 26 minute video. Right after that we took a 100 question test over the materials presented during the week and from the CDL manual. Similar to the test for the learner's permit.

From there went right into driving until lunchtime, instead of pre-trip practicing, then back out on the road again.

We did a variety of roads; small city, rural, country, highway, interstate... Great weather, besides the wind, but that was fine, too. Nice to have a little extra challenge thrown in for good measure. Afterwards the trainer said for perspective, from 0 - 10, my turns were a 9. And I improved from yesterday's driving where it was commented on the report that I had to, "Slow down!" lol (see day 4)

Finished up with each of us doing an air brake test then it was time to go for the day.

Drove two hours to home to celebrate one of the kid's birthday and tomorrow we go to Top Golf to play around. Pun intended.

Looking forward to next week, where there will be a new set of students sitting in our seats and we all move outside the classroom. From here on, our classroom time is complete and we will be either on the range or on the road all week.

Until then...

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).

Warren B.'s Comment
member avatar

Hello FR8TM4N,

I am inspired by your story! I am at the "ripe ole age of 56", currently working as an elementary special education teacher. I have 6 grand children and 5 grown children (last daughter is a senior in high school)- we finally made it! For the last 6 years, I have also driven a school bus for the district I work for. I told my wife how much I love driving (even with noisy middle schoolers in the back), and I would love to think about driving more. Funny note: I tell people, "When I am driving the bus, it's the only time of day when my problems are all behind me" Hehe. Anyway, I have been contemplating retiring from teaching, and driving OTR , regional , or dedicated. I already have a Class B CDL so I am not really sure the route I need to pursue to get my Class A. The research I have done so far leads me to believe that I just need to pass sections pertaining to Class A and any endorsements I would like. I am in Arkansas, but I am not sure exactly what I need to do. I am looking into the prepaid CDL schools with jobs after getting certified. I just don't know if I need to do that since I already have a CDL, just not the A yet. Do you have any thoughts on the issue? Anyway, thank you for contributing your story.

JBro

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.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

FR8 M4N's Comment
member avatar

Hello FR8TM4N,

I am inspired by your story! I am at the "ripe ole age of 56", currently working as an elementary special education teacher. I have 6 grand children and 5 grown children (last daughter is a senior in high school)- we finally made it! For the last 6 years, I have also driven a school bus for the district I work for. I told my wife how much I love driving (even with noisy middle schoolers in the back), and I would love to think about driving more. Funny note: I tell people, "When I am driving the bus, it's the only time of day when my problems are all behind me" Hehe. Anyway, I have been contemplating retiring from teaching, and driving OTR , regional , or dedicated. I already have a Class B CDL so I am not really sure the route I need to pursue to get my Class A. The research I have done so far leads me to believe that I just need to pass sections pertaining to Class A and any endorsements I would like. I am in Arkansas, but I am not sure exactly what I need to do. I am looking into the prepaid CDL schools with jobs after getting certified. I just don't know if I need to do that since I already have a CDL, just not the A yet. Do you have any thoughts on the issue? Anyway, thank you for contributing your story.

JBro

Hi ya WB!

If you already have the class B, you may only need the Combo test. I had studied for the other tests, but when I got to the SOS office, she told me I only had to take the combo test. I studied for the other endorsements as well, but will take those tests after I pass the examination for class A, but before getting the license, so I don’t have to pay any extra. (If I get the class A in hand, then go back to take the endorsement tests, there will be a fee involved, so better to do them all just prior to getting that class A license in hand.)

My wife and I chose to go the way of a sponsored school. That way I come right out with a job afterwards. After looking online at many companies and having applied at a couple of them, we decided on Keller Trucking out of Defiance, OH. Their proximity to where we live and their contractual agreement after school was appealing to us. I did go to a school for a one day class when I went for my class B. It was ok, but when I looked into the class A, at the same school, it was going to be too much $$ and a three week time commitment with no real job guarantee afterwards. So we felt the sponsored class scenario was the better route. Look and compare their contractual agreements! Seems a lot of them are a year to a little over two years! Also, watch for how the weekends off works, if they offer it at all. One company I looked at was going to be if you work seven days, that was one day off; 14 days=2 days off, 21 days, yep! 3 days off. That wasn’t going to work for us so they were dropped from the consideration list. See if you can see what their coverage area will encompass. Is it the whole U.S.? How many regions? What will you be required to operate in? Are there vacation days, holidays, what benefits… I’m sure you’re on to those types of questions already.

Hope that helps a little. Good luck moving forward. Sounds like you’re on the right track with doing some research! There is a ton of info on this site with a lot of good folk willing to give a helping hand, too.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Thank you so much Fr8TM4N! I really appreciate the information. I hadn't thought about the time accumulation scenario for days off. I'm going to go the AR DMV to ask questions about adding the A combo test, but I also want to take the endorsements as well. I am considering the sponsored schools as well. It seems the most practical, economical path, in my opinion. I am hoping that's all I will need. My game plan is to finish out this school year, so begin at the end of May. I will keep you posted while on this journey, and reach out if I have any more questions. Good luck to you and your wife.

double-quotes-start.png

Hello FR8TM4N,

I am inspired by your story! I am at the "ripe ole age of 56", currently working as an elementary special education teacher. I have 6 grand children and 5 grown children (last daughter is a senior in high school)- we finally made it! For the last 6 years, I have also driven a school bus for the district I work for. I told my wife how much I love driving (even with noisy middle schoolers in the back), and I would love to think about driving more. Funny note: I tell people, "When I am driving the bus, it's the only time of day when my problems are all behind me" Hehe. Anyway, I have been contemplating retiring from teaching, and driving OTR , regional , or dedicated. I already have a Class B CDL so I am not really sure the route I need to pursue to get my Class A. The research I have done so far leads me to believe that I just need to pass sections pertaining to Class A and any endorsements I would like. I am in Arkansas, but I am not sure exactly what I need to do. I am looking into the prepaid CDL schools with jobs after getting certified. I just don't know if I need to do that since I already have a CDL, just not the A yet. Do you have any thoughts on the issue? Anyway, thank you for contributing your story.

JBro

double-quotes-end.png

Hi ya WB!

If you already have the class B, you may only need the Combo test. I had studied for the other tests, but when I got to the SOS office, she told me I only had to take the combo test. I studied for the other endorsements as well, but will take those tests after I pass the examination for class A, but before getting the license, so I don’t have to pay any extra. (If I get the class A in hand, then go back to take the endorsement tests, there will be a fee involved, so better to do them all just prior to getting that class A license in hand.)

My wife and I chose to go the way of a sponsored school. That way I come right out with a job afterwards. After looking online at many companies and having applied at a couple of them, we decided on Keller Trucking out of Defiance, OH. Their proximity to where we live and their contractual agreement after school was appealing to us. I did go to a school for a one day class when I went for my class B. It was ok, but when I looked into the class A, at the same school, it was going to be too much $$ and a three week time commitment with no real job guarantee afterwards. So we felt the sponsored class scenario was the better route. Look and compare their contractual agreements! Seems a lot of them are a year to a little over two years! Also, watch for how the weekends off works, if they offer it at all. One company I looked at was going to be if you work seven days, that was one day off; 14 days=2 days off, 21 days, yep! 3 days off. That wasn’t going to work for us so they were dropped from the consideration list. See if you can see what their coverage area will encompass. Is it the whole U.S.? How many regions? What will you be required to operate in? Are there vacation days, holidays, what benefits… I’m sure you’re on to those types of questions already.

Hope that helps a little. Good luck moving forward. Sounds like you’re on the right track with doing some research! There is a ton of info on this site with a lot of good folk willing to give a helping hand, too.

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.

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.

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.
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