Worried About Prime Orientation

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Ryan S.'s Comment
member avatar

I am penciled in to attend orientation at Prime in March. I have a criminal past that is almost 10 years old. The recruiter says 7 years is their standard. I'm also a type 2 diabetic controlled by pills. No insulin. I'm concerned about quitting my job, going to their orientation, and being turned back if I forgot a detail or if their Dr doesn't like my medical stuff. What type of info do they request from my Dr? I have always dreamed of being an OTR driver ,even spending weeks on the road with some friends who drive. I'm just having a hard time making the final decision to go. Does the recruiter saying I'm in carry mush water? Any insight would be super appreciated! Thanks!

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar

Depends on how criminal your "over 10 year old criminal past" was. Usually - over 7 and you're fine. They like you to be able to obtain a TWIC Card and HazMat endorsement though (I'm not 100% sure if not being able to get one precludes employment). So you might want to check on the TWIC website - just google: TWIC Disqualifying Offenses.

But a a lot depends on just HOW BAD YOU WERE - though 10 years with a SPARKLY CLEAN RECORD and you should be OK - again - depending on just what you were convicted of.

As far as Type II - Non-Insulin Diabetes - FMCSA DOT Medical - Diabetes - FMCSA advises re-certifying every year (1 year medical card). A LETTER FROM YOUR PERSONAL PHYSICIAN advising that your diabetes is being managed with ORAL MEDICATION ONLY, and perhaps recent blood work showing your A1C and Fasting Sugar should be sufficient.

Which brings up BMI (body mass index) and Sleep Apnea Testing. Prime Recruiter told me a BMI of 39 and/or Neck Circumference of 17" or more is going to trigger a sleep apnea red flag (resulting in them sending you for a sleep study). If you are found to have apnea, you will be required to purchase a CPAP machine and use it (also gets you only a 1 year medical card). Members here say that 3.4 is the "magic BMI number" - the recruiter I spoke with swears it's 39.

I mention this, because Type-II is a frequent malady of "overweight people" (ask me how I know). So if you are overweight - you might want to google "BMI Calculator" - and see if you are going to throw up another "red flag", come time for your company physical.

I used to be 5'5"/300lbs - and was on my way to "the needle" (with a 6.5 A1C). I dropped a bunch of weight, watch my carb intake - and my A1C's are normal (5.4). In fact - dropping down to 190lbs - got me off ALL the meds (blood pressure, oral diabetes & cholesterol).

If you have a high A1C, you may have the needle in your future.

While you CAN get an waiver from FMSCA. Information on FMCSA Insulin Diabetes Waiver from The American Diabetes Association

So - based on what I've elaborated here - you may be able to get some more information on "potential hurdles" to you employment. NONE appear to be insurmountable - but the key is to BE HONEST.

Rick

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

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

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.

Sleep Apnea:

A physical disorder in which you have pauses in your breathing, or take shallow breaths, during sleep. These pauses can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. Normal breathing will usually resume, sometimes with a loud choking sound or snort.

In obstructive sleep apnea, your airways become blocked or collapse during sleep, causing the pauses and shallow breathing.

It is a chronic condition that will require ongoing management. It affects about 18 million people in the U.S.

BMI:

Body mass index (BMI)

BMI is a formula that uses weight and height to estimate body fat. For most people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. The BMI's biggest weakness is that it doesn't consider individual factors such as bone or muscle mass. BMI may:

  • Underestimate body fat for older adults or other people with low muscle mass
  • Overestimate body fat for people who are very muscular and physically fit

It's quite common, especially for men, to fall into the "overweight" category if you happen to be stronger than average. If you're pretty strong but in good shape then pay no attention.

Body Mass Index:

Body mass index (BMI)

BMI is a formula that uses weight and height to estimate body fat. For most people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. The BMI's biggest weakness is that it doesn't consider individual factors such as bone or muscle mass. BMI may:

  • Underestimate body fat for older adults or other people with low muscle mass
  • Overestimate body fat for people who are very muscular and physically fit

It's quite common, especially for men, to fall into the "overweight" category if you happen to be stronger than average. If you're pretty strong but in good shape then pay no attention.

CPAP:

Constant Positive Airway Pressure

CPAP is a breathing assist device which is worn over the mouth or nose. It provides nighttime relief for individuals who suffer from Sleep Apnea.

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.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Ryan S.'s Comment
member avatar

Depends on how criminal your "over 10 year old criminal past" was. Usually - over 7 and you're fine. They like you to be able to obtain a TWIC Card and HazMat endorsement though (I'm not 100% sure if not being able to get one precludes employment). So you might want to check on the TWIC website - just google: TWIC Disqualifying Offenses.

But a a lot depends on just HOW BAD YOU WERE - though 10 years with a SPARKLY CLEAN RECORD and you should be OK - again - depending on just what you were convicted of.

As far as Type II - Non-Insulin Diabetes - FMCSA DOT Medical - Diabetes - FMCSA advises re-certifying every year (1 year medical card). A LETTER FROM YOUR PERSONAL PHYSICIAN advising that your diabetes is being managed with ORAL MEDICATION ONLY, and perhaps recent blood work showing your A1C and Fasting Sugar should be sufficient.

Which brings up BMI (body mass index) and Sleep Apnea Testing. Prime Recruiter told me a BMI of 39 and/or Neck Circumference of 17" or more is going to trigger a sleep apnea red flag (resulting in them sending you for a sleep study). If you are found to have apnea, you will be required to purchase a CPAP machine and use it (also gets you only a 1 year medical card). Members here say that 3.4 is the "magic BMI number" - the recruiter I spoke with swears it's 39.

I mention this, because Type-II is a frequent malady of "overweight people" (ask me how I know). So if you are overweight - you might want to google "BMI Calculator" - and see if you are going to throw up another "red flag", come time for your company physical.

I used to be 5'5"/300lbs - and was on my way to "the needle" (with a 6.5 A1C). I dropped a bunch of weight, watch my carb intake - and my A1C's are normal (5.4). In fact - dropping down to 190lbs - got me off ALL the meds (blood pressure, oral diabetes & cholesterol).

If you have a high A1C, you may have the needle in your future.

While you CAN get an waiver from FMSCA. Information on FMCSA Insulin Diabetes Waiver from The American Diabetes Association

So - based on what I've elaborated here - you may be able to get some more information on "potential hurdles" to you employment. NONE appear to be insurmountable - but the key is to BE HONEST.

Rick

The recruiter said they go 7 years from the date you're off probation witch will be 2 days from when I could leave. I haven't been in any trouble since. I did put on my app that it was a misdemeanor because I thought it was. It came back felony but she still gave me the invite. There is a story behind why it came back that way, but I'm sure no one wants to hear that . My a1c has been high but it's been steadily coming down and I'm scheduled for another one at the end of feb. My BMi is 35, and my neck is 16.5 as of today lol. I can't think of anything that would screw me up. I'm just nervous as heck about quitting my job and getting screwed.

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

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

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.

Sleep Apnea:

A physical disorder in which you have pauses in your breathing, or take shallow breaths, during sleep. These pauses can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. Normal breathing will usually resume, sometimes with a loud choking sound or snort.

In obstructive sleep apnea, your airways become blocked or collapse during sleep, causing the pauses and shallow breathing.

It is a chronic condition that will require ongoing management. It affects about 18 million people in the U.S.

BMI:

Body mass index (BMI)

BMI is a formula that uses weight and height to estimate body fat. For most people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. The BMI's biggest weakness is that it doesn't consider individual factors such as bone or muscle mass. BMI may:

  • Underestimate body fat for older adults or other people with low muscle mass
  • Overestimate body fat for people who are very muscular and physically fit

It's quite common, especially for men, to fall into the "overweight" category if you happen to be stronger than average. If you're pretty strong but in good shape then pay no attention.

Body Mass Index:

Body mass index (BMI)

BMI is a formula that uses weight and height to estimate body fat. For most people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. The BMI's biggest weakness is that it doesn't consider individual factors such as bone or muscle mass. BMI may:

  • Underestimate body fat for older adults or other people with low muscle mass
  • Overestimate body fat for people who are very muscular and physically fit

It's quite common, especially for men, to fall into the "overweight" category if you happen to be stronger than average. If you're pretty strong but in good shape then pay no attention.

CPAP:

Constant Positive Airway Pressure

CPAP is a breathing assist device which is worn over the mouth or nose. It provides nighttime relief for individuals who suffer from Sleep Apnea.

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.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Chris L.'s Comment
member avatar

Go get a medical card on your own before you leave your job to see if you can get one. You'll have to pay for it out of your own pocket and you will still have to take another one for Prime but if you pass it will give you some peace of mind.

Not sure about the criminal record, good luck.

Adam H.'s Comment
member avatar

Just to give you a little peace of mind, I just went through Prime's orientation. I came in with my permit (needs minimum of tanker endorsement, you get the REQUIRED hazmat and twic card through Prime), and every piece of paper I could think of for verification. You only need 5 years of employment verification if you have no commercial driving experience, up to 10 if you do. Log in to IRS.gov and go to transcripts. Print as many years of Wage Summary W-2 transcripts as you need. This will serve as employment verification. My roomate had a felony from 11 years ago and leaves with his trainer tonight. Just tell the recruiter EVERYTHING.

Do as others said and verify that it was not a disqualifying offense for getting the twic card. The background check is for two things: 1. To make sure you can get a twic card and hazmat endorsement, and 2. To see if you were honest. Most honest mistakes in the gold packet will be forgiven as long as there are no disqualifying offenses you did not mention. I had a bogus reckless driving charge dismissed before the trial, but it still shows as a dismissed charge in your criminal history (NOT mvr). I explained it at the interview and was told, "don't worry about it, you wouldn't know without pulling your own criminal history."

Also, go to your doctor and get an office note for EVERY ongoing or recent condition. Make sure nothing in your medical history will keep you from getting a medical card. I'm on greyhound home on Prime's money to fix a mistake that my doctor made in my file, but will return sometime next week to get the medical card and Prime badge. They even checked up on me to make sure I would be able to come back. (Note: they can EITHER pay your way home OR your way back, not both) Show them you want it, and be proactive and positive. They will work with you where they can.

Get your permit ahead of time. And try your best to get everything done the first day of orientation. Yes, it sucks waiting in line for hours just to change rooms and do it several more times. Smile and make friends instead of complaining. The time will fly by. If you get it all done, you will be free after classes every day, which gives you a golden opportunity to find and talk to Prime drivers and instructors. Their opinions only made me feel better about the company.

One more thing, the whole week is an interview. Be polite, courteous, and early the entire time. When they give instructions, write them down and follow through. Hold doors for people. Pick up trash here and there even if it isn't yours. And please take the simulators seriously. They don't grade you on them at that phase, but a lot of the PSD Instructors come in and see how you did before they talk to you. They notice. Everyone from the instructors to the cafeteria workers to even the cleaning ladies at the Campus Inn is watching you. Act like you're in a week long interview and you'll be just fine. The people who got sent home this week either lied on the application, failed the drug test, or chose to go home. Good Luck! -Adam H.

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

MVR:

Motor Vehicle Record

An MVR is a report of your driving history, as reported from your state Department of Motor Vehicles. Information on this report may include Drivers License information, point history, violations, convictions, and license status on your driving record.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

PSD:

Prime Student Driver

Prime Inc has a CDL training program and the first phase is referred to as PSD. You'll get your permit and then 10,000 miles of on the road instruction.

The following is from Prime's website:

Prime’s PSD begins with you obtaining your CDL permit. Then you’ll go on the road with a certified CDL instructor for no less than 75 hours of one-on-one behind the wheel training. After training, you’ll return to Prime’s corporate headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, for final CDL state testing and your CDL license.

Obtain CDL Permit / 4 Days

  • Enter program, study and test for Missouri CDL permit.
  • Start driving/training at Prime Training Center in Springfield, Missouri.
  • Work toward 40,000 training dispatched miles (minimum) with food allowance while without CDL (Food allowance is paid back with future earnings).

On-the-Road Instruction / 10,000 Miles

  • Train with experienced certified CDL instructor for 3-4 weeks in a real world environment.
  • Get 75 hours of behind-the-wheel time with one-on-one student/instructor ratio.
  • Earn 10,000 miles toward total 40,000 miles needed.
Ryan S.'s Comment
member avatar

Wow, that's a great reply! Thank you. I'm definitely interested and am mostly comfortable with going. I just don't wanna screw it up and cause my family any more hard times. What type of doctor notes are you saying that I should get?

Brian M.'s Comment
member avatar

Their were a few people in my class that had to get their records and medications faxed to prime before they had the doctor ok their med cards . I would contact your doctor to see if he would be open do doing it. Also make sure you have his number with you if their is a verification problem

Adam H.'s Comment
member avatar

As far as doctor notes, get one explaining any existing condition and any limitations involved (such as diabetes), and I would get one for any injury you had in the last 6 months if any. Mostly a precaution. The one note they asked me for happened to be screwed up! Oh well, I'll be right back next week. Just remember, the more of your history you can prove going in, the less stressful it will be for you. Oh, and tell them you have the condition(s), but only give a note if it is asked for. You can easily have this information faxed, just at least call your doctor's office to let them know you may need some records on short notice. -Adam H.

Ryan S.'s Comment
member avatar

Ok, so today I talked to CR England. They ran my criminal record and we're good with it. Even went to the secondary approval and was approved. They offered me a position and signed me up for a school that they are contracted with As they don't have their own where I live. So, I'm scheduled to leave on the 16th. Anyone been through their orientation and can give me some insight? The recruiter says I'm hired as long as I pass the school and get my cdl. Is it really that easy, or is my criminal stuff gonna come up again? Again, I'm just real nervous about quitting my job and getting screwed.

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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