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

Topic 32491 | Page 5

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G-Town's Comment
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PackRat's Comment
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FR8 M4N's Comment
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Thanks, y'all!!

Had my appointment at the SOS today and received the paper temporary CDL.

I told my recruiter about it and he asked for a pic. So I snap a pic and send it. He replies, aren't you supposed to be getting your class A? Sure enough, it said class B! I was able to go back to the SOS and they got it fixed. Guess the fella wasn't aware that what he did, improperly filled in the Class designation with my current class B. Easy fix. Printed off a new one, took my picture again, and now sent a corrected pic to my recruiter. In a couple weeks I should have the real deal.

Take care everyone!

Until later...


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.
FR8 M4N's Comment
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Hi y'all,

Completed day 1 of orientation. Only thing I did wrong was get all the training videos done the day before! Now, when I was scheduled to watch videos, there was nothing to do! Haha I even asked for something to do, like sweep out a trailer, or something! But they didn't have anything for me; oh well.

Was sent for another drug test during my time there. They did hair and urine. I thought they told me I didn't have to get the hair test because I just did it not too long ago, but according to the nurse gal, she said it was needed. Ok, no big deal anyway.

They provided lunch by way of a gift card to Subway, so that was nice.

Aside from getting a lot of paperwork out of the way and getting the clearinghouse and payroll stuff done, oh, and a road test, there wasn't a lot going on today. Tomorrow was said to be a bit busier.

Word has it, we'll get to try a simulator for winter driving. That should prove to be fun, I think; never drove a simulator before. ;o)

It was great to meet a few people today! Met my fleet manager and talking to him was like a mini-interview. He had questions for me and I had questions for him. It was a good conversation.

Got to see my recruiter for the first time and he's awesome. It's been fun working with him right out of the gate. Most times I feel I'm taking up too much of his time, but he says it's never a bother, though.

HR guru was a cool cat. In fact, we share the same name; spelled the same, just different middle names. He walked me through payroll and tax stuff and got things going for direct deposit.

Our captain, who ran the classroom today like a boss, has been around for a while now; 10 years driving and 1 year doing the orientation classes. Super nice.

And the road test fella was cool as a cucumber. Quick on his feet, too. I was showing him pre-trip inspection under the hood when we had a gust of wind start to close the hood on me. He hollered and we both caught the hood before it killed me. Well maybe not kill me, but it was coming over pretty quickly. First time that's ever happened, he says. I'm thinking there ought to be a safety bar to engage or something. That could be hurtful should that come down on someone.

It felt pretty neat walking around the place knowing I'm an employee now. Even said hello to the CEO in passing, though he probably doesn't know me quite yet. Picked up on a professional demeanor about him. Neat to see him working right-along-side the others in the office.

Well, looking forward to Marco's Pizza for my next two dinners, tonight & leftovers tomorrow.

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.

Fleet Manager:

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.


Operating While Intoxicated

Dennis L's Comment
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Congratulations on day 1!

Prime uses simulators. The steering is very sensitive, so don’t over-steer and easy on the brakes.

FR8 M4N's Comment
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Congratulations on day 1!

Prime uses simulators. The steering is very sensitive, so don’t over-steer and easy on the brakes.

Thanks for the tip!

FR8 M4N's Comment
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Orientation day 2 was fairly busy with a lot more paperwork. Fairly uneventful, but necessary stuff for onboarding.

Lunch was provided at a Mexican restaurant and was of a very typical menu as a Mexican restaurant we visit nearby where I live. It was ok and even though the portion was smaller from what I’m used to, it was filling. Too bad one of the other fellas got sick later and had a terrible evening and was ill for the rest of the night.

There is a modular home on the property with several rooms for the drivers to use and we got a tour with instructions on how to take care of the place if we ever use it.

Orientation day 3 was just as busy but we did more tablet readying stuff, having the apps explained to us and how/when to use them. We also all had a turn at the driving simulator. The trainer set up some snowy conditions and had a lot of distractions to watch for and react to. That was a weird feeling during that exercise but was beneficial. I remembered what DL said earlier in the thread, so I was very easy on the steering. Ended up hitting a deer but I knew already not to swerve for it and kept my focus on the upcoming possibilities. Kind of amazing how much predictive driving we’re tasked to do!

I got to practice sliding tandems for the first time and experience how the pins didn’t release or pop back out all the way and how to remedy the issue.

While out on the lot, we learned about how to properly open the trailer doors and close them. Sounds elementary, but a load that has shifted could fall on you if you’re not being careful when opening. Also, to be wary of the wind as those big doors are heavy and could knock you over or slam on you or damage something nearby.

We also inspected some loaded trailers and did some load securement with straps.

Lunch was provided by a business that delivered. Had a pizza and some garlic bread and was really good.

Got my trainer assignment and will start next Monday.

Until later…


Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".


Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
FR8 M4N's Comment
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Turn on my work tablet and Woohoo, first dispatch! This is continuously getting more real by the day. To go from not even thinking about driving a semi to being in the driver's seat of a semi is pretty cool. I thank the Lord for making this all happen. And to get the ball rolling in the right direction was to retire from a previous job. From there it all fell right into place. It did take some time and research and prayer, though. And here we are, about to embark on a new journey; yet another way to support my family. It's difficult being away from home for days at a time, but very fortunate to have found a great company to drive with that strives to get you home on the weekends.

So technically, I don't drive on Monday; that is a day of observation. Tuesday, it's all me for the next several weeks. I talked with my trainer and set up how we were going to meet at the truck. I'm nearby that truck stop and I wanted a Love's rewards card anyway, so I took on of my boys over to see the truck and to grab some lunch there, too.

Looking forward to meeting my trainer and getting the job started.

Until later...

FR8 M4N's Comment
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Wow! What a busy time thus far. It's already day 4.

First day was an observation day so I rode shotgun for the 463 miles. We made a live load and then headed towards the destination which was scheduled for the next day. 79,100#.

The morning of day 2 my trainer drove rest of the way to our delivery and docked it. Waited on live unload. After that, it was me behind the wheel. Went to another live load then towards next live unload scheduled for next day. 595 miles and around 50k#.

Third day, make delivery which was live unload then onto to a drop and hook pre-loaded trailer. From there onto receiver for a live unload. 272 miles and around 50k#.

First couple of nights was pretty rough sleeping. I was plenty tired and wish I had more rest, but it wasn't too bad. Last night was the best so far. Just getting used to everything, you know?

Lot of firsts like docking and driving at night and backing into parking spots at the truck stops. Even got a weigh station on my first day of driving. Also accidentally ticked off a trucker; long story short, he showed me that he didn't like what happened and purposely drove very close to me as he passed by with his set of doubles.

Already had a car cut across in front of me as they realized they were about to miss their exit from the far left lane. The brake assist system kicked in for that one.

Had a driver about hit my trailer as they were passing on my left side. That guy was within inches of me before he swerved back. Then he continued to swerve badly once he was ahead me. Geeze.

Gotta run... papers are ready for pick up here.

Until later...


Refers to pulling two trailers at the same time, otherwise known as "pups" or "pup trailers" because they're only about 28 feet long. However there are some states that allow doubles that are each 48 feet in length.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

PackRat's Comment
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Still surviving?

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