Attending Caledon School In Gadsden, Al

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Richard G.'s Comment
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Day 6

Spent the half of the day in the classroom going over the paper logs, CSA points, and the violations that give them to you. After lunch, we went to the range and I started on my straight line backing.

I'm going to tell you something. When the instructor gives you those keys, you climb in that truck for the first time, and start it up...you just want to start man grunting. tim allen grunt gif

Had all the power I needed.

Anywho, the first time I attempted was a complete train wreck...it was then that I realized that if you want the trailer to go left, you have to turn the wheel right....duh. The second time, I only hit one cone. After that, I nailed it each time. There something about backing that trailer up successfully that first time...a major sense of accomplishment that I have never felt before. Maybe it has to do with the truck, I don't know, but it was an awesome feeling.

Tomorrow, I will be going to back to Pre-Trip, which I'm very glad about...I really need more practice.

Until tomorrow.

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

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Day 7

Back to pre-trip...and I was able to get through most of it without much problem. I got the bright idea on my first go around on the truck to take pictures, so that I can work on my pre-trip at home. We will be using the same truck on our actual testing, so groovy.

Tomorrow, it's back to straight line backing...practice makes perfect. I think I was have my instructor check me on my straight line backing on Friday, so I can move on to something else. Also, if I feel comfortable, I will have him check me on my pre-trip on Thursday...but that is not set in stone. I want to be sure I have it first.

All in all, I'm very happy with my experiences here. They really allow you to move at your own pace and want you to feel confident before you move on to something else. Jay, the classroom instructor, tried to teach us about the CSA and the violations....all I can say is WTF! Big Brother at it again...lol.

Well, I'm going to go over my pre-trip tonight...sleep well y'all.

Until tomorrow.

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

Richard G.'s Comment
member avatar

Well, I finally graduated and received my CDL on this past Wednsday. I started way back in Jan. and what was supposed to be a 4 week school turned into almost 12 weeks.

I must say, I can't recommend this school to anyone. I'm not sure how the other 7 Celadon school are run, but this one in Gadsden wasn't a great experience. This is probably one of the most unorganized institutions I have even attended. Having driven a truck before in the Navy, even though it was almost 2 decades ago, I was prepared. The range instructors felt that I was ready to test by my second week, pretty much because it took a week for me to get the feel for a truck again. But I wasn't able to test, because everyone in the classes before me kept failing their tests and for some reason, they wouldn't move me up....they kept pushing my test date back. Just to give you an example of this, I tested and passed on my first try on April 1st. On the day after, they were 18 people testing in the two days after me, that have been there since October of 2014. Most are on their 4th or 5th attempts.

That doesn't count the fights between students that had to be broken up, which there was several. One boy was so severally beaten that he couldn't walk. So, he was sent home after a brief visit to a "doc in the box", the same day. The school wouldn't even buy him crutches. Throughout my tenure at this school, there was several class meetings about the behavior of the students. Which included, breaking into vending machines at the motels, smoking in the rooms which wasn't permitted, burns on the carpets and beds of the rooms, noise complaints from parties, students disappearing for days at a time, students getting into shouting matches with instructors, etc.

I know for a fact that there were students who were failling their tests on purpose, because they were bragging about it. They were on a paid vacation.

For the entire time I was at the school, you had a choice when you graduated. You can choose to drive for Celadon or drive for Osborn, which is headquartered here in Gadsden. If you decided to go with Celadon, you had to choice of being sent to Indy a few days after graduation or being sent home for a week, before being shipped out. If you chose to drive for Osborn, all the orientation and training will be out of the headquaters here in Gadsden. Well, while I was testing on the 1st, they anounced a new policy. All students who pass and graduate will be put on a bus the next day for Indy. All orientation and training will be down out of there, regardless of who you drive for. Because I was testing at a site 2 hours away from the school and I didn't get back until almost 6 pm, I didn't find out about this policy change until the next day. The same day I was supossed to ship out. I was supposed to go to the DMV an hour away, get my CDL, drive back, straight to the bus station and leave for 2 months. Because I didn't find out until the next day, when I arrived at the school, I had nothing packed...lol. Now, I was not very happy about this because I spent 12 weeks with the understanding that I would be driving for Osborn and everything will be done out of here. Half a day isn't enough time to prepare oneself for a two month trip. Not to mention that I have a wife and family that I have to prepare for me being gone. My oldest has MS and my wife has diabetes, so there is quite a bit for me to do before I'm able to be shipped out. When I explained this, I was basically told, tough...you have to go. So, while at the DMV, I called my recruiter and she told me that I didn't have to leave that day...that I could choose the day I wanted to leave.

Now, this were things get crazy....lol. I am set to leave this upcoming week. I get told yesterday that my recruiter was chewed out by the director and that I have to leave that day. I email my recruiter, apologizing to her that she got her butt chewed and I asked her for a copy of my contract. She replies, telling me that she wasn't chewed out by anyone for anything and I'm still leaving this coming week. So, my wife and I go to the school to get a copy of my contract and is met in the parking lot by the lead range instructor. He tells us that the "school headmistress" is in Atlanta picking up the person who is taking over the orientation for the graduates going with Oborne, upstairs. He was pointing the upper floor of the Osborn headquarters. Even we were told we have to go to Indy for that. So, I don't know whats going on.

All that being said, I'm thrilled that I have my CDL!!!

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.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

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.

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.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

So, I don't know whats going on.

All that being said, I'm thrilled that I have my CDL!!!

Sounds like you got put through the wringer at your school! But, mission accomplished, CDL in hand. Two days ago you didn't know what was next. Time for an update!

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.
Bleemus's Comment
member avatar

Wow, an update would be great. Not sounding good for Celadon. Might have to scratch them off my list.

Richard G.'s Comment
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Well, to put it short... I'm not with Celadon\Osborn. After all the crap I mentioned earlier, I never heard back from my recruiter or anyone from the company again. I waited for two weeks, even tried contacting them myself, but never heard back. So, I started putting on applications. I began hearing back from so many, that I decided to do something unorthodox. I went down to the local truck stop and I talked to drivers and got their opinion on the companies I was interested in. Keep in mind that they are human and can be very biased, but if you have common sense, you can get an idea of the landscape.

After doing that, I decided to go with Roehl. I went to their orientation, rode with a trainer, and now I have my own truck and have been happy ever since. I ended up going with the flatbed division, which I will do for six months then I will switch to van. I'm not a young man after all lol.

For those that are thinking about going to a Celadon school, please keep this in mind. You will have to sign a contract that states that you will drive for them for 120,000 miles at 27 cents a mile. That is not good at all. There are plenty of reputable companies out there that will pay you better. Don't go by what the recruiter tells you, expect to be lied to. Get out there and talk to actual drivers. At a truck stop, you will find drivers for many, many companies and most are happy to help. They are a valuable resource.

There is a fit out there for everyone, so don't rush.

As a side note, before I started putting in applications elsewhere, an instructor at the Celadon school told me that they aren't going after the students that leave for other companies, to pay back the tuition. Just some food for thought.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

AntoineF's Comment
member avatar

I will start school in Gadsden, Al for Caledon on the 26th of this month. I will do a daily post about it here, in case anyone is interested in it.

Hello I will be going to Gadsden, Al on the 29 June 2015 does it help if you already have your permit and all endorsements(HazMat,Tanker and Doubles/Triples) just need My Passport,TWIC?

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

Doubles:

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.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

AntoineF's Comment
member avatar

I will start school in Gadsden, Al for Caledon on the 26th of this month. I will do a daily post about it here, in case anyone is interested in it.

Hello I have My Alabama CDL Permit already with HazMat ,Tanker and Doubles/Triples I just need My Passport and TWIC Card? Will That help me any already having them?

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.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

Doubles:

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.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

Richard G.'s Comment
member avatar
double-quotes-start.png

I will start school in Gadsden, Al for Caledon on the 26th of this month. I will do a daily post about it here, in case anyone is interested in it.

double-quotes-end.png

Hello I have My Alabama CDL Permit already with HazMat ,Tanker and Doubles/Triples I just need My Passport and TWIC Card? Will That help me any already having them?

To be honest, i don't know. I had all that before I started, but I had to retake all the tests anyway. They required it.

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.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

Doubles:

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.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

Troy H.'s Comment
member avatar
double-quotes-start.png

I will start school in Gadsden, Al for Caledon on the 26th of this month. I will do a daily post about it here, in case anyone is interested in it.

double-quotes-end.png

Hello I will be going to Gadsden, Al on the 29 June 2015 does it help if you already have your permit and all endorsements(HazMat,Tanker and Doubles/Triples) just need My Passport,TWIC?

Hey Antione, I just got off the phone with Quality Drivers and got my online app in. She told me the next class in Gadsden starts the 29th so I may be there with you. What have you been told so far? Any info (from anyone) appreciated.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

Doubles:

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.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

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