From CDL School And Beyond...

Topic 7349 | Page 1

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J.K.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi All,

I'm registered up for CDL school starting in March and going until April. It's a community college course and it's only concerned about me getting my CDL and not preparing me to drive. I've starting applying to some companies and I've got two "future hire" offers so far. One from Schneider and one from Westside Transport. I've got a few questions about the meaning of "future hire" status and about how strict Schneider is about shifting right away. I'll only get about two days of prep before the road test at the school and the testing will be on an automatic. I want to and know that learning a 10 speed is vital but this is the only CDL school within 100 miles any direction. What should I expect from Schneider orientation? Will I be in the simulator substantially before we hit the road? I learn really fast and I'm watching daily videos on YouTube about double clutching , down shifting, hi/lo, etc. Can anyone ease my troubled mind?!?!?!

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.

Double Clutch:

To engage and then disengage the clutch twice for every gear change.

When double clutching you will push in the clutch, take the gearshift out of gear, release the clutch, press the clutch in again, shift the gearshift into the next gear, then release the clutch.

This is done on standard transmissions which do not have synchronizers in them, like those found in almost all Class A trucks.

Double Clutching:

To engage and then disengage the clutch twice for every gear change.

When double clutching you will push in the clutch, take the gearshift out of gear, release the clutch, press the clutch in again, shift the gearshift into the next gear, then release the clutch.

This is done on standard transmissions which do not have synchronizers in them, like those found in almost all Class A trucks.

Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi All,

I'm registered up for CDL school starting in March and going until April. It's a community college course and it's only concerned about me getting my CDL and not preparing me to drive. I've starting applying to some companies and I've got two "future hire" offers so far. One from Schneider and one from Westside Transport. I've got a few questions about the meaning of "future hire" status and about how strict Schneider is about shifting right away. I'll only get about two days of prep before the road test at the school and the testing will be on an automatic. I want to and know that learning a 10 speed is vital but this is the only CDL school within 100 miles any direction. What should I expect from Schneider orientation? Will I be in the simulator substantially before we hit the road? I learn really fast and I'm watching daily videos on YouTube about double clutching , down shifting, hi/lo, etc. Can anyone ease my troubled mind?!?!?!

Here's the main issue I see. If you TEST ON AN AUTOMATIC - your will have an AUTOMATIC ONLY RESTRICTION on your CDL.

Pretty much WORTHLESS - if you're looking for a hire. I'd look for another course if I were you.

Even though a lot of companies are upgrading their fleets to auto-shift trucks - you DON'T want to go into a hire with an "auto-only" restriction. In fact - you may NOT EVEN BE ABLE TO GET A HIRE with that restriction. I would check with the companies that you have a "pre-hire" with, and make sure they will even take you with an "auto-only restricted" CDL.

You might be better served, by doing into a Company Sponsored Training program.

Rick

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.

Double Clutch:

To engage and then disengage the clutch twice for every gear change.

When double clutching you will push in the clutch, take the gearshift out of gear, release the clutch, press the clutch in again, shift the gearshift into the next gear, then release the clutch.

This is done on standard transmissions which do not have synchronizers in them, like those found in almost all Class A trucks.

Double Clutching:

To engage and then disengage the clutch twice for every gear change.

When double clutching you will push in the clutch, take the gearshift out of gear, release the clutch, press the clutch in again, shift the gearshift into the next gear, then release the clutch.

This is done on standard transmissions which do not have synchronizers in them, like those found in almost all Class A trucks.

Pre-hire:

What Exactly Is A Pre-Hire Letter?

Pre-hire letters are acceptance letters from trucking companies to students, or even potential students, to verify placement. The trucking companies are saying in writing that the student, or potential student, appears to meet the company's minimum hiring requirements and is welcome to attend their orientation at the company’s expense once he or she graduates from truck driving school and has their CDL in hand.

We have an excellent article that will help you Understand The Pre-Hire Process.

A Pre-Hire Letter Is Not A Guarantee Of Employment

The people that receive a pre-hire letter are people who meet the company's minimum hiring requirements, but it is not an employment contract. It is an invitation to orientation, and the orientation itself is a prerequisite to employment.

During the orientation you will get a physical, drug screen, and background check done. These and other qualifications must be met before someone in orientation is officially hired.

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.

J.K.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi Rick,

I thought the same thing so I called the Iowa DOT just yesterday. As of right now testing on an automatic won't put any restrictions on my CDL. There is talk of making that change in Iowa in the near future but not within the time frame of me getting 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.

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.

Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi Rick,

I thought the same thing so I called the Iowa DOT just yesterday. As of right now testing on an automatic won't put any restrictions on my CDL. There is talk of making that change in Iowa in the near future but not within the time frame of me getting my CDL.

Hmmmm - I'd check that again - because it IS a FEDERAL regulation under FMCSA - CDL Classes, Endorsements & Restrictions - which means all states are supposed to comply uniformly with this. It is likewise with AIR BRAKES. Even if you take the written test for Air Brakes - if you skills test in a vehicle not equipped with them, you will have a restriction on your CDL, precluding you from operating a CMV with Air Brakes.

At any rate - trucking companies that take students DIRECTLY from school (that is - recent grads that already have a CDL - versus having their OWN IN-HOUSE CDL PROGRAM) are going to want you to be able to shift a manual IMMEDIATELY. They may not expect you to be able to progressive-shift and float like a PRO - but you will be expected to shift. One of the first things they are going to do, is put you in a truck for a ROAD TEST - before sending you out with a Mentor/Trainer for your "finishing training".

And shifting a TT is a whole lot different than a car. I was thinking - "no big deal, I've owned stick-shifts all my life" - when I started trucking school. I've learned how to operate all manner of heavy equipment in minutes - yeah NO PROBLEM. Very frustrating my first day in a truck.

I'd hate to see you show up at your first hire - unprepared.

In fact - if it's a course like Iowa Western CC CDL Course - the 80 hours there, may not even be enough to qualify for most trucking companies that take on recent grads. Versus Iowa Central CC CDL Course - which is a full 390 hours.

First hire and first year of trucking is difficult enough - without walking into a company that expects you to be able to at least operate a truck with a manual transmission.

Not trying to be difficult/depressing/disappointing here. There are MANY OPTIONS AVAILABLE for getting into trucking. You want to choose the BEST ONE that will create the LEAST AMOUNT OF ADDITIONAL DIFFICULTY for you moving forward.

ALL CDL COURSES ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL.

I understand you have a "geography issue" with the nearest school. Again - there are many options - Schnieder is not the ONLY ONE. You may want to look again at the "company sponsored schools", such as Prime, Swift and others that take people WITHOUT CDL's and train them to get both their CDL's and to become SAFE COMPETENT OPERATORS.

Sorry for the lengthy post - and I don't mean to come off negative. I'm SHOCKED that Iowa doesn't have a "E Restriction" - it has been federally mandated for awhile now.

Rick

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.

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

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.

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.

CMV:

Commercial Motor Vehicle

A CMV is a vehicle that is used as part of a business, is involved in interstate commerce, and may fit any of these descriptions:

  • Weighs 10,001 pounds or more
  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more
  • Is designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) not for compensation
  • Is designed or used to transport 9 or more passengers (including the driver) for compensation
  • Is transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards

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.

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.

Tman's Comment
member avatar

Hi Rick,

I thought the same thing so I called the Iowa DOT just yesterday. As of right now testing on an automatic won't put any restrictions on my CDL. There is talk of making that change in Iowa in the near future but not within the time frame of me getting my CDL.

Hi, Same here in PA, they won't put a Restriction on your CDL license if you test on an Automatic until sometime this summer. It is in the FMCSR Safety Regulations 383.95 (c) (1), but there are states that haven't put this restriction in place yet. I actually had my school ask me if I wanted to test on an Automatic, I declined

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.

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.
J.K.'s Comment
member avatar

Yeah it will be switching over soon, probably right after I would finish my testing. I want to learn on a 10 speed and test on one but there isn't the option with this program. I'm looking into USA Truck schooling program though to see what they can offer. It just doesn't feel right, the thought of training and testing on an auto. If I was to get to a company and they had autos that's one thing but I feel that if you can drive a 10 speed you can drive anything.

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