A Few Questions I'm Curious About That I Couldn't Find In Other Post.

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Chris aka Shep's Comment
member avatar

I have a few questions about the trucking industry that I would like answers to before I embark on a career changing move. Right now I'm an Operations Manager with Fed-Ex Smartpost here in Atlanta. I've always thought about trucking since I was kid but I've just never gone through with it. I've tried talking with the HR representative at my hub about how I would go about getting my CDL and getting the company to pay for it. I've had no such luck so far so I've started researching myself and found out that Fed-Ex freight has a driver apprentice program but to be get hired I would already have to have my CDL or CDL permit from the state for the position I'm applying. I've been looking for openings with this program but none have opened up even remotely close to my area. I've looked into getting into CDL school here in the area and paying out of pocket and Fed-Ex pays for some of your school with tuition re-imburstment if it's in an area that will help your career. I talked to the my boss about it and she told me that she is not likely to change my schedule so I could attend school or approve me for tuition re-imburstment. I have 3 yrs and 8 months with this company and only 1 year and 4 months until I'm vested and I was looking to doing this while still employed under the Fed-Ex network but my possibilities for that are starting to look slim. I was wondering if any drivers know of any other program out there that could help me get my CDL without having to quit my current job. I also put in an application with Prime Inc. I've been talking to a recruiter and she called me Friday saying that I had been approved and asked me when would I like to start orientation. I have lot going through my mind right now. I was wondering since she wants for me to come to orientation, is it a guarantee hire if I pass my exams and get my CDL. I would hate to quit my job only to find out that I do not actually get hired on with them. Another question that I have is I was wondering if Sickle Cell Anemia automatically disqualifies you from trucking. I've been researching it and it's not on the list of automatic disqualifiers. For those who don't know sickle cell is a blood disease where your blood cells are shaped like crescent moon and your body receives less oxygen than normal. It's never been an issue with any jobs I've had in the past. Sometimes the cells may get hung together and cause pain sometimes. Most of the times the pain can be managed by pain meds which I have prescription for if needed. I plan on talking to my doctor about this starting next week but I would like your opinion on it. How does getting a DOT physical work. Can I get one from my own doctor or do I have to use the doctor that the company provides. I hear a lot of drivers talking about home time. I'm a 30yr old male who's single with no kids. But I have a ton of friends who are kind of all over the place now. Is there an option if I get hired with a company to where I can select home time in different cities and hang-out there for a few days without me having to actually come home and then go to the destination I'm trying to go. Another thing, how are the bunks usually set up in company trucks. Do most of them have a small fridge or T.V. in them or will you be able to add these things when you get your own truck if they aren't equipped with them. What are rules as far as adding things to the truck like maybe a small grill for cooking or a game console for a little entertainment or movies in your down time if it does have a T.V. Sorry this post is so long but to sum up my main question I have for now. 1. Does anyone know of a program to get your CDL within the Fed-Ex network. 2 Does getting invited to company orientation guarantee you a job if you pass you physical and exams and obtain your CDL. 3 Does sickle cell anemia automatically disqualify you to drive trucks. 4. May I obtain a DOT physical from my own physician or do I have to go to the one provided by the school. (5) Can you take home-time in another place or than the place you call home. (6) What type of equipment do bunks usually come with and can you add equipment such as t.v., game console, or fridge to the truck if it doesn't come equipped. Thanks for you help in advance.

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.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Jhill365's Comment
member avatar

Hello, Chris Here are my answers to your questions numbered the way you had them in your post. 1. sorry, but I can't help you as far as the Fed-Ex program, because I don't know anything about that. 2. From what I understand, if you apply for one of the training programs and they invite you to orientation, as long as you don't lie about something on your application and pass all tests and physicals. 3. The best way to find out about the sickle cell anemia is to find a doctor that gives DOT physicals and ask them about it. 4. If your physician does DOT physicals, you can have him do one just to be sure you are good to go, but I know the companies that have their own training programs have their doctor do another physical. 5. As long as you let your dispatcher know, I am pretty sure you can take hometime where ever you want to, but you can always ask the recruiter and they will let you know. 6. Trucks will come equipped with the bare minimum in most cases, so just storage space and a bed/beds depending on if it is a condo truck or a mid-roof. Some companies will install or let you have inverters installed in the truck up to a certain limit on the wattage. Some will have APU's to help with climate control and keeping the batteries charged when you are sitting for periods of time. Some companies do have built-in refrigerators, but I do not believe many do.

Hope those answers helped you some. Hopefully some people with some more experience with the company sponsored will come by to help you more.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Dispatcher:

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

APU:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

APU's:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

Roadkill (aka:Guy DeCou)'s Comment
member avatar

Welcome Chris. Jhill pretty much answered all your questions with good answers so I'm not going to go back over tilled ground..however, Something you said piqued my interest...you said

I talked to the my boss about it and she told me that she is not likely to change my schedule so I could attend school or approve me for tuition re-imburstment.

I think there may be a legal issue with this..if you request a change of schedule in order to go to school, even if it isn't in a field that is connected to your job, I don't think they can block your request if you are asking to change your shift..it may be that your "boss" is not happy with your trying to get more education and eventually moving on..I would check with your HR department..don't take "no" for an answer..if there is an apprenticeship program, and you qualify or can get educated to qualify..then I say go for it..

Starcar's Comment
member avatar

I would suggest that you check with your local community colleges for CDL programs. Many of them are done on a weekend program, for those that are presently employed. And if you are a veteran, they will help pay for your schooling. As far as your boss, I wouldn't rock that boat, unless you are sure you can sink it. to wait and be vested would be worth more in the end than possibly making enemies within the terminal where oyu work. But you could always research CDL schools around areas where there are other Terminals, then transfer there, and do the cdl school thing there. I find it amazing that your boss won't let you do a temp transfer to a night shift so you could go to cdl school during the day. It would be really rough on you, but it could be done. I doubt your blood issue will be a problem in trucking. But you can not have any pain pills in your truck, since most of them affect your ability to drive, or be aware as you need to be. Hope this helps, and gives you a few more places to look into...keep us updated, and ask any questions you want.... and.........................WELCOME TO TT !!!

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
guyjax(Guy Hodges)'s Comment
member avatar

Welcome Chris. Jhill pretty much answered all your questions with good answers so I'm not going to go back over tilled ground..however, Something you said piqued my interest...you said

double-quotes-start.png

I talked to the my boss about it and she told me that she is not likely to change my schedule so I could attend school or approve me for tuition re-imburstment.

double-quotes-end.png

I think there may be a legal issue with this..if you request a change of schedule in order to go to school, even if it isn't in a field that is connected to your job, I don't think they can block your request if you are asking to change your shift..it may be that your "boss" is not happy with your trying to get more education and eventually moving on..I would check with your HR department..don't take "no" for an answer..if there is an apprenticeship program, and you qualify or can get educated to qualify..then I say go for it..

Actually yes and no. If the company offers to help pay for education to help you become more of a valued employee then things can be worked out within the company. But getting a CDL would in no way help you become a better field manager as that job does not include driving a class 8 truck or delivering freight. And since it is not and likely will not be a requirement in the future to have a CDL for a field manger position then likely Fed Ex will not pay for it.

Truck driver school does not fall into the normal "continued education" schooling that might or might not be protected by some local and federal laws.

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.
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