CDL-A Training: 2nd Time Around,

Topic 32741 | Page 1

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Heavyfrost's Comment
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Hello I recently attended Roehl's GYCDL program in Phoenix, Arizona.

I took detailed notes during my training (Roehl calls this Phase one). I am posting this to help someone make an informed decision about which program to choose and give some insight on what to expect based on my experience.

Startdate November 14, 2022 Program length (Phase 1) : 3-4 weeks; I took five weeks which I'll explain later.

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.

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.

Heavyfrost's Comment
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Quick background: Roehls GYCDL was my 2nd attempt at achieving my CDL-A and getting into the transport industry. My 1st attempt did not go well. It was with Wilson Logistics in Springfield, Missouri. I ended up wrecking my shoulder while putting up the landing gear on an overloaded trailer; the foot was on an incline and snapped all of a sudden, throwing my arm up with enough force to dislocate my shoulder, the next day, I couldn't lift my arm above my waist, it got progressively worse. I tried to test it out anyway; bad idea. I failed my AB by forgetting to release my brakes, invalidating the test. I tested again, passed my pre-trip failed backing (timed out), and I was kicked to the curb. I realized Wilson was the wrong company for me; their training style is not for me; for example, I had practiced the offset exactly once before the test, out during my 2 weeks with my trainer in a day cab running across town 22 miles round trip I mostly drove, coupled and uncoupled and did alley docking.

I was devastated and limped back home; I took some time away and reevaluated. I decided to try again, as trucking is what I want to do and giving up is not part of my personality.

Before I went with Wilson, I was talking to a recruiter at Roehl, they only hire in my area for flatbed fleet, and I didn't think I would like it or be good at it. After my debacle in Missouri and healing up from my injury through rehab, I dodged surgery. I called up the Roehl recruiter.

She was professional, and I had many fruitful conversations with her. So after many phone calls, online forms, and a few interviews, my start date was set for November 14th at their Phoenix terminal. Roehl's interview process is quite stringent; I was treated well during the entire process.

Part one: Arrival in Phoenix

I flew to Phoenix on my dime; Roehl does not provide transport unless it is within a certain distance from the terminal; for example, a few of the students there from Las Vegas had bus tickets provided.

I flew in a day early and paid for the night at the same comfort inn they had me in. Not a bad hotel, I-10 comfort inn. The weather was near perfect, about 60-70 during the day and nice and cool at night; I was surprised at how cold it can be in the early morning. Often it was just above freezing until the sun rose.

Training started on Monday, and for the first day, there was a shuttle bus. After this first day, students were on their own to arrange transport to the terminal/training yard. Luckily a guy in my class from Tuscon offered me a ride every day, which was awesome.

Roehl keeps their classes in Phoenix to 3 students, which is highly effective. Two full-time trainers are assigned three students and instruct them until they graduate and get their CDL-A. You are given at least two attempts to pass your CDL , provided you are motivated to learn.

Training schedule: Monday - Friday Start 6:30 am; end around 4:30 pm. Saturdays 8 to 11 am

The first two days, we were in the classroom. We watched some accident videos to ingrain in our heads that we are driving a 45-ton monster with the possibility of killing or maiming people. These videos covered the tragic stories of people who were killed by distracted drivers who were on their cell phones. These videos impacted me, and I will always strive to be safe. The FMCSA states that a fully loaded tractor-trailer can take 600 ft to stop on dry pavement at 65 mph. We were reminded never to rush, and all loads are based on an average speed of 55 mph.

I am impressed with Roehl's dedication to safety.

During the first week, we were given 38 modules to complete by the following Monday. These were time-consuming and covered cargo securement, bad weather driving, pre-trip, backing, specific customers, and more. If you didn't complete your modules by the deadline, you sat in the classroom and worked on them while the others were out backing or driving. Most were about an hour long and followed by a quiz in which you had to score 100% to receive credit.

What the normal day looks like:

630am fill out lunch order (lunches are supplied while at the yard) Mon - Fri 640am to 9 am pre-trip practice

9 am- backing practice or out on the road (this depended on who your trainer was). One trainer took his students on road trips in the 50 to 200-mile range. I was lucky enough to go out on one; it was the highlight of my training as it gave me the feel of what most of the job will be, which is driving out on the highway.

1130 or 12 lunch

1 pm backing gauntlet (all CDL maneuvers) in Arizona, you do a 100 ft straight back, an offset right to left, and a blind side parallel.

We took turns coupling and coupling the 48-foot split tandem axel flatbed trailer; people who were more advanced on the three backing maneuvers practiced 90 and 45-degree alley backs.

We did some classroom stuff in week one, mostly on safety, Roehl's expectations, and the company mission statement.

We began with straight backs on Wednesday and went out for a drive around Phoenix.

The area that Roehl is located in is close to many trucking outfits and CDL schools. Swift, knight, Saia, Schnieder, and Werner are some of the bigger ones we passed. Driving schools included Southwest (where we tested), roadmaster, and Phoenix driving academy.

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.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Day Cab:

A tractor which does not have a sleeper berth attached to it. Normally used for local routes where drivers go home every night.

Tandem:

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".

CSA:

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle

FMCSA:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The FMCSA was established within the Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000. Their primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.

What Does The FMCSA Do?

  • Commercial Drivers' Licenses
  • Data and Analysis
  • Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement
  • Research and Technology
  • Safety Assistance
  • Support and Information Sharing

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.

Fm:

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

FR8 M4N's Comment
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Nice write-up, Heavyfrost! Have fun, study hard, make every minute of practice count, and be safe. Looking forward to your next installment!

Heavyfrost's Comment
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Nice write-up, Heavyfrost! Have fun, study hard, make every minute of practice count, and be safe. Looking forward to your next installment!

Thanks, appreciate the feedback.

Heavyfrost's Comment
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0488466001672190958.jpg On my way to Arizona.

0821151001672191089.jpg

Ye old comfort inn, home for the next 5 weeks.

0622937001672191179.jpg Morning pre-trip

FR8 M4N's Comment
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How's things going, Heavy frost?

FR8 M4N's Comment
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Hey Heavyfrost!

Now I'm really curious about how things are going! Hope all well and everything is going great. I recall when I was in school, things got busy and even more so when I got to the company training, so writing got slower then, for sure.

Take care!

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