Haven't Driven A CDL In 5+ Years, Where Should I Start?

Topic 606 | Page 1

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Paul F.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi everyone, Some background: i got my CDL when i was 18, got a job right away but only worked 3 months because of a pay issue. After that it was very hard to find a job so i went a different route. Now I'm 25, quit my job on an ambulance yesterday and wanted to get back into trucking. I filled out an application at a local place where I know a few people and got called back for a road test today. I practically bombed the road test, no safety issues but I sure forgot how narrow the gears are and had a bit of trouble in the lower gears where they are so close but i was fine in the higher gears. I called a few companies and because I'm not a recent grad and I have no experience I couldn't really qualify. Any ideas of where I might start. I was thinking of going to a local school and renting the truck to practice but what about job opportunities? thanks 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.
Houkie's Comment
member avatar

Do you still have your CDL? I'm sure a more experienced person will be able to give you better advice, but it occurs to me that if you're really rusty and you've been out of practice for so long (and your driving experience was limited to only 3 months anyway), you should probably consider just going to school and starting over from scratch. It won't take long to get through training and you'll refresh all of your skills. That's what I would do anyway!

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.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Yeah, you will have to pretty much start from scratch like Houkie said.

I think your best bet for getting a refresher in training and getting out on the road as quickly as possible is going through one of the trucking companies that have their own training programs. You can find those here:

Company-Sponsored Training Programs

Just start applying like crazy to all of them and follow up with phone calls at least every other day until you know your application has been processed and you get an answer. Otherwise applications tend to sit on a pile collecting dust.

That's probably your best bet.

The other option is to apply for work at various trucking companies and they'll tell you whether or not you can take a refresher course at a local truck driving school to qualify for employment.

You definitely do not want to rent a truck on your own to practice though. That isn't going to help you. You need to go through some sort of official re-training that is approved by a trucking company as a condition for employment. That's what will get you back behind the wheel.

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.

Company-sponsored Training:

A Company-Sponsored Training Program is a school that is owned and operated by a trucking company.

The schooling often requires little or no money up front. Instead of paying up-front tuition you will sign an agreement to work for the company for a specified amount of time after graduation, usually around a year, at a slightly lower rate of pay in order to pay for the training.

If you choose to quit working for the company before your year is up, they will normally require you to pay back a prorated amount of money for the schooling. The amount you pay back will be comparable to what you would have paid if you went to an independently owned school.

Company-sponsored training can be an excellent way to get your career underway if you can't afford the tuition up front for private schooling.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Thanks for the replies, Yes i still have my cdl. The only problem I had on the road test was the shifting, i passed the companies pretrip, safety and everything else but they were short drivers and not in a position to accommodate my relearning curve and like i said its a good local company and i was only one of 12 there for 2 spots. I talked to a recruiter at another company nearby and they gave me a name and number to a school that they use to train all their drivers and the schools refresher is quite frankly longer than my original school was which is great but the only bad part is the price. two companies that sponsor training that i was thinking about both told me I already have my cdl go get 6 months experience and come back. I think i'll go with the refresher. Thanks again everyone,

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.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Just make sure a trucking company approves the refresher course before you sign up. Every trucking company has their own requirements and their own list of approved schools. So signing up for a refresher course doesn't mean you'll have good opportunities available after completing it. You have to have the right course at the right school for the company you're interested in working for.

So start about by applying to trucking companies and they'll tell you what it will take to qualify for employment there.

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