New Trucking Career Advice Needed

Topic 729 | Page 1

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Tim L.'s Comment
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Hopefully, starting here I can get going on the road to my dream with some good advice. A little background first. I am a 58 yr old divorced male, and am somewhat of a lone wolf, though I do enjoy folks company. I have always loved being behind the wheel, but have no experience with big rigs. It however has been a dream to be a long haul truck driver for years. I have not been able to act upon that due to marriage, and then after divorce, taking care of my elderly mother for the past couple of years. Unfortunately, she just passed away. I must find a new job pronto, and I want it to be in the trucking industry as a driver. I do not drink alcohol, or do drugs, and I have a spotless driving record for many years and no criminal record, and a stable work history. I am also a veteran. I have moderate high blood pressure, but under control, and some hearing loss, correctable with hearing aid. I wear glasses, but see fine with them. Hopefully, these issues will not kill my dream. Would contacting one of the big national trucking companies ie Schneider or Swift and looking into their training program be my best bet? I am short on funds at the moment. Any advice is much appreciated. I can't help but believe I am an almost perfect candidate for this job, as I have no close family left, and do not need to be "home" on a regular basis.

Britton R.'s Comment
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Being a vet you probably qualify for govt assistance (g.i. bill maybe?) to go to a private school and wouldn't have to do a company sponsored school. If thee is a school in your area that may be your best option. That way you aren't tied to a company and contract and would have a wider variety of companies to choose from.

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.

Ernie S. (AKA Old Salty D's Comment
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Being a vet you probably qualify for govt assistance (g.i. bill maybe?) to go to a private school and wouldn't have to do a company sponsored school. If thee is a school in your area that may be your best option. That way you aren't tied to a company and contract and would have a wider variety of companies to choose from.

GI bill is only good for 10 years after discharge/retirement.

I have been driving for Prime since Oct 2011, I went through their training program, very fast paced, but also one of the best because they have 1 on 1 training instead of many students to 1 instructor.

Ernie

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.

ButtonUp's Comment
member avatar

If I am not mistaken, most company schools offer free tuition for veterans as well. It may be a promotional period type of deal, but I know when I went to school it was free for veterans, or for those that stayed with the company for 6 months.

Based on what I read, I would say trucking would be a great career choice for you, especially if driving is in your blood. If you are the type of person who is disappointed when you reach your destination because you enjoy the driving so much, then I'd say go for it. It CAN take a toll on a person driving for so many hours, day after day. If you run team then I've found that running about 9.5 hours at a time keeps the strain down and also allows plenty of hours to keep rolling. As a solo driver driving 10-11 hours a day it can be very tiring.

Another option is to get a home-daily gig. That's what I did. Overall, you probably won't make as much money, but you aren't driving as much because you have to have enough time to get back to your home terminal before you run out of hours, and get enough rest before you start your shift again the next day. I work 5-6 days a week doing this and rarely have to drive more than 7.5-9 hours a day.

Hope this helps a little.

*-ButtonUp-*

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Thanks to all that have replied so far. Yes, driving is in my blood. I used to drive 14 straight hours between Colorado and Texas and had no problems, just loving being on the road. I have no family and with the passing of my mother, no real home now. I don't want to get married again either. I am free to just drive. That is if a company is willing to take me. My biggest fear is passing the DOT physical, because of some moderate hearing loss in upper frequencies. I have new hearing aids coming in August, which should correct the problem. I have also contacted the VA, which may be of assistance. I will be talking to them tomorrow. If they cannot help me financially with a school, I reckon I will have to look into a company sponsored training program. Can you folks think of any other hurdles I might be facing under the circumstances? Thanks.

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.

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.

ButtonUp's Comment
member avatar

With your current glasses and hearing aids if I remember correctly you just have to be able to hear a "forced whisper" at 5 feet or something like that and have 20/40 vision even with corrective lenses. I may be wrong but that's what I want to say were the requirements. I have had physicals with two companies. One was very "easy" the other was very "thorough." I don't think you would have any trouble. The high blood pressure might be more of a problem than the vision or hearing, but it doesn't have to be perfect, just below a certain range. I have also seen medical cards issued for 6 months or other terms instead of the max 2 years where those individuals were still able to get their CDL and drive. Maybe you can google the specifics of the requirements or someone on the forum might have the info and use that information to help you make a decision. I don't think you'd have any trouble, but it might help to know the exact requirements on the blood pressure, etc., so you can compare to yours.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

With your current glasses and hearing aids if I remember correctly you just have to be able to hear a "forced whisper" at 5 feet or something like that and have 20/40 vision even with corrective lenses. I may be wrong but that's what I want to say were the requirements. I have had physicals with two companies. One was very "easy" the other was very "thorough." I don't think you would have any trouble. The high blood pressure might be more of a problem than the vision or hearing, but it doesn't have to be perfect, just below a certain range. I have also seen medical cards issued for 6 months or other terms instead of the max 2 years where those individuals were still able to get their CDL and drive. Maybe you can google the specifics of the requirements or someone on the forum might have the info and use that information to help you make a decision. I don't think you'd have any trouble, but it might help to know the exact requirements on the blood pressure, etc., so you can compare to yours.

You are correct in those requirements. It is a forced whisper at 5 ft, and vision to 20/40. Last time I had my blood pressure checked a couple of weeks ago, it was 120/70 at my 6 mo checkup at the VA clinic, so my BP meds work well. I am not sure just what a "forced whisper" is though.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

A "loud" whisper... I don't remember what the first doctor said, but the second physical he stood a few feet away, had me cover a ear, and whispered "ABC" for one ear and "123" for the other. I would imagine unless your hearing aids are not functioning you would be able to hear it

Starcar's Comment
member avatar

Your medical issues are really minimal. The hypertension is med controlled, you hearing aides fix that issue, as does your glasses. One thing that a company may look at is if you are carrying excess weight, as in BMI. They may want to have a sleep study done. But all in all, if you can prove verified employment and such, you should be cleared for about ANY company. I agree that Prime is solid, honest company. We've not had anyone say a bad thing about them, and I do know their training is top notch. You may wish to check into your local community colleges. Some of them offer CDL training. The VA had a special thing going to get vets into trucking. Not sure what it was, but check into it. If you are a displaced worker, you can get free training thru the employment division. Or....you can have a massive yard sale !!!!!! you'd be surprised how much you can make doin' that... let us know where you are in your adventure...we'll help all we can...theres a link on this site that you can look at companies by area, and there also may be one for CDL schools..if there isn't then Brett may want to do that..... Welcome to TT.....and I THANK YOU for your service to our great nation, and all it stands for.

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.

Hypertension:

Abnormally high blood pressure.

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.

Tim L.'s Comment
member avatar

A "loud" whisper... I don't remember what the first doctor said, but the second physical he stood a few feet away, had me cover a ear, and whispered "ABC" for one ear and "123" for the other. I would imagine unless your hearing aids are not functioning you would be able to hear it

Well, that does not seem so bad. I might even be able to hear that without the hearing aid.

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