Things Are Falling Into Place

Topic 7394 | Page 1

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ShortRound's Comment
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My high school ambition of driving OTR is finally coming together after nearly 20 years. I joined the Air Force after graduating HS in '95 because I couldn't drive interstate until I was 21. Ended up staying in the AF for 19+ years until I retired in August.

I started working in manufacturing after the military, and while the work is not real difficult, it's not very satisfying either. Around the holidays they cut our hours WAAAYYYY back. This got me to doing some soul searching, and my wife asked my why I hadn't pursued trucking when I retired (I didn't think she would be supportive of being gone that much). I did some (ALOT) of research and found that I'll likely make as much in my first year of trucking as I am making in my current job (and I'll be pursuing something I have wanted to do for along time). Turns out that having my hours cut was a blessing in disguise...it is allowing me to attend a 4 week local truck driving school by using the 11 days of paid vacation I have available (did I mention they cut my hours). I will be starting school on Feb 23rd. It will also be paid for by the GI Bill. I am going to get my DOT physical tomorrow, and plan to take my permit test sometime this week after getting the physical.

I have applied to several companies, and received a pre-hire from Prime (currently my first choice due to pay, pet policy, and generally positive reviews on this and other forum sites). The other companies I have applied to all asked me to "re-engage" with them after I start school. Before I get blasted over the pet policy...I will not be taking my dog with me until I have had several months over the road.

As I'm sure you can tell by the tone of my post I am REALLY excited to be doing this. I am also REALLY anxious about the total change in lifestyle. I am confident that this is something I can and will excel at, I have enough humility to admit, I don't KNOW for sure until I am "all up in it". I am trying my best to plan out my steps carefully, so as not to burn any bridges I may need to walk back across. I fully intend to give my current employer 2 weeks notice, even though I am sure they can put 2+2 together now. My supervisor is aware of why I'm taking my vacation.

I do have a few things I'm curious about:

Does Prime push their lease program or try to bully it like some other companies I've heard about? i.e. "Sorry you'll have to wait a couple weeks to be assigned a company truck, but we can get you on the road this afternoon if you sign this lease on one of our "gently used" program trucks". I am adamant about going company AT LEAST for a few years to learn the industry before I even consider leasing or purchasing.

When starting TnT with Prime, do they immediately expect it to be a "team" environment, or will there be a couple days that the trainor will be in the passenger seat? I'm not sure yet how big of a deal this will be to me by the time I get out of school and go to orientation, but would be good to know what to expect.

If I drive my own vehicle to orientation (600-900 miles from home depending on the terminal) rather than the greyhound, how can I work out getting my vehicle back home, assuming orientation and training go well? Would it be better to rent a car if I decide to pursue this avenue?

I am sure I will have other questions as I go along, but these are the ones that are currently bouncing around my head.

Sorry if this post is long and rambling, I am just excited and wanted to share my story thus far.

Thanks for any replies, and I look forward to sharing the road with you all in the coming months.

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.

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.

Over The Road:

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.

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.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

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.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14¢ per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

ShortRound's Comment
member avatar

I just remembered a very important scenario I wanted to ask about...

I am a pudgy guy (5'2", 190lbs), not one of the REALLY big guys, but overweight. I know that Prime does sleep studies on some of the bigger fellas. When I got out of the military and got a new Doc (around Dec-Jan), he ordered a sleep study due to my proportions. The sleep study came back totally negative for sleep apnea. Will Prime make me do another study or should I bring along a copy of my previous results? I don't see the need to pay for another study (not to mention I am suspect of the motivations of some of these studies). If they do make me get another study, am I able to put this through my insurance?

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.

ShortRound's Comment
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Just passed my permit test. I owe much of that success to The High Road program, thank you Brett. I will now be ahead of the game when I start school Monday.

David L.'s Comment
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Good afternoon David, thank you for your service. I retired from the USAF in 1993 and just completed my training with Swift and will start orientation next week. I'll be mentored by my son who will also be my team mate.

As a Swifty I can't answer your Prime specific questions, but have heard that Prime does not pressure you to lease. "Just say No!" will work - maybe soften it by I'd like a year's worth of experience to consider my options!!

Ensure you have documentation from your physician vis-à-vis the sleep apnea. This should be honored. As to insurance - you'd have to check with Tricare (I presume Tricare as you are retired military).

Congrats on getting the permit. That definitely puts you ahead of the game if most of the class are spending the first week getting ready for their tests. Swift required a permit before starting along with a physical so we didn't spend time in a holding pattern waiting on everyone to catch up - but that's just Swift. We wasted time other ways!!

Welcome to the forum and have great success when you start training next week.

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.

Diver's Comment
member avatar

Wow, 3 of us retired USAF guys going in to trucking around the same time! Good to hear things are falling in to place for you. I start my 8 week school at a local vocational school 17 March. Things were going smoothly for me up until I went for my physical. I had a heart attack 7 years ago with no issues since and I have sleep apnea. I was temporarily disqualified until I had a stress test done and got a CPAP compliance report. Got those and finally got a 1 year medical card. I concur with David L. Since your study was done fairly recently you should be good to go if they bring it up and you have the documentation. Looks like I'll have to do another physical with whatever company I end up going with and you can bet I'll have my paperwork with me!

Afraid I can answer any of your other questions since I'm just starting out. Congrats on getting your permit and good luck with your training! And good luck to you too David L.!

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Halfway through my first week of school and things are going great.

Getting my permit before starting has been an immense stress reliever. While everyone is cramming information into their heads, I'm relaxing and reviewing.

I'm already scheduled for my license test, but everyone else has to wait until they have their permits to schedule their tests.

ShortRound's Comment
member avatar

Week one complete. One more day of classoom, then we start driving on the pad.

Diver's Comment
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Good to hear!

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