Driving OTR Is All I Think About And I'm Overwhelmed By All The Info On This Website About Truck Driving Schools And Companies

Topic 8227 | Page 1

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LadyDee's Comment
member avatar

Hello to all. I am a soon-to-be-55-year-old African American female who lives in St. Petersburg, FL, and who wants to drive a big rig. I'd like to finish my work life driving OTR. I currently drive public transit buses and I have a CDL Class B license. I have NO criminal history, ONE blemish on my 7-year driving history (I was cited for failure to yield while performing my job, and the citation was subsequently DISMISSED in court - otherwise, I have NOTHING on my driving record), and consistent, continuous employment history that spans the past 15 years. As to what I'm looking for in a driving school, I've narrowed it down to this: I need a school that will pay for the training, transportation to get to the school and back home, meals and lodging (fulfilling a minimum 1-year employment commitment won't be an issue). I need a school that will guarantee me a job after training and run me solo during training. I'm absolutely NOT interested in teams, period. I need a school/company that has electronic logging (I'm computer-literate). I need a school/company who pays ALL dispatch (breakdown, deadhead , layover, detention, etc.). I need a school/company who has training facilities/terminals in Florida or Georgia (North Carolina would be a bit far for home time). I'm interested in being a company driver ONLY. So who wants to give me help in choosing a school/company?

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.

Deadhead:

To drive with an empty trailer. After delivering your load you will deadhead to a shipper to pick up your next load.

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.

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.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Hi Debra.

Most of the Company-Sponsored Training Programs fit 95% of your requirements but there are a few that are tough.

First of all, living in St Pete is going to severely limit your options. I believe Prime, Werner, and Swift hire out of Florida at least part of the time, if not all the time. I've heard they may limit the total number of drivers they have out of Florida at any given time because there's only so much freight available to get them home. I'm not sure who else does on the list to be honest. But that's your first step is to narrow the options down to only the companies that will hire out of Florida.

Now as far as having facilities in Florida or Georgia, you won't have to worry about that. If you're a long way from the closest facilities that your company has then they'll have you take the truck home. Unfortunately the Florida thing comes into play here too. You're considered on the border of "South Florida". Most companies use I-10 as the dividing line. There are a very high number of crimes against trucks in South Florida so I'm not sure what policies a company may have for keeping your truck safe during home time.

I would start by finding out which companies hire from Florida before digging any deeper. That's going to be your only problem. Your record sounds fantastic so anyone would be willing to hire you if you were from the Midwest or something. But very few companies hire out of Florida. There isn't very much freight coming out of Florida so not that many companies will even go there.

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.

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.

LadyDee's Comment
member avatar

Thank you, Mr. Aquila, for taking the time to respond. What you've stated is discouraging, to be honest. You obviously know exactly where I am; how can St. Pete be considered "South Florida"? I don't understand that. If I were in Naples or points south of that, I could see it. I see Knight trucks, Old Dominion trucks, Saia trucks, Scales trucks, Werner trucks, US Express trucks, Estes trucks, AAA Cooper trucks and numerous others in my area (I-275, I-75, I-4) all the time. I will follow your advice and look at all the companies you have on this website again and focus on who hires from Florida. I'm sure there are a LOT of drivers who are from Florida on this forum, and I hope that one of them or some of them are willing to give me some feedback.

Jopa's Comment
member avatar
I would start by finding out which companies hire from Florida before digging any deeper. That's going to be your only problem. Your record sounds fantastic so anyone would be willing to hire you if you were from the Midwest or something. But very few companies hire out of Florida. There isn't very much freight coming out of Florida so not that many companies will even go there.

Consider using a relative's or friend's address in another state as your own to make you more "attractive" to the companies ... it's an untruth but not one that will send you to hell ... well, maybe it WILL send you to hell but at least you 'll have a CDL license so you can DRIVE there, eh??

Jopa

shocked.pngsmile.gif

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.
LadyDee's Comment
member avatar

Mr. Jopa, I thank you for taking the time to provide feedback, but LYING to a potential employer is NOT MY M.O. I guess the "principal place of domicile" issue is something I'd have to address with a recruiter, right?

Slowpoke's Comment
member avatar

Debra, Unfortunately you will not find ANY company that has solo training. You will have to team up with a trainer for usually 6-8 weeks or more after obtaining your CDL. Then be prepared to run team after a couple of weeks as many training companies run things this way...

Good luck finding training companies that pay detention or breakdown.

I'm pretty sure training companies do not pay for your food while you're in school... I do believe they pay for you to get to their school but usually you leave out on a truck when your training is completed.

You are correct to not lie on your application...

Yes, your location should be talked about with a recruiter, that in itself will more than likely limit your options and decided who will train and hire you.

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.
Barbara C.'s Comment
member avatar

There are a few companies that pay for room and food but I dont know that they hire out of florida. Good luck to you on your search

Jetguy's Comment
member avatar

Good luck Debra. I too am planning a huge career change after working in Aerospace for 26 years. So much to learn- but I am amazed at this web site- A+

ColeTrucker's Comment
member avatar

So how's it working for ya so far?

Based on my experience(7 months)..south of I-4 may be tough. I don't know the particulars but here's what I know. Conway, Abeline (sp?), H. O Wolding, WEL, Schneider, Werner, JR Shugal (cameras facing driver), Knight, Covenant will hire you.

If you decide to pay for CDL school go to Mid Florida Tech in Orlando. They have job placement and will run you about $2400. AND they are great. I live in South Florida and used my sister's address in Atlanta to get a job with Schneider Bulk. I've since changed it back to FL ref GA taxes but, it worked for me.

There are a cabillon truck companies in Florida. Most want 2yrs experience for local/regional.

Good luck!

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.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

Ralph G. ( Arejay )'s Comment
member avatar

If you can work around the schedule, PTEC in St Pete may be a great option... I've heard nothing but good stuff about the school and their curriculum.

Pinnellas Tech College Commercial Driving

It is a long course... aprx 12 weeks, but it sounds like they prepare you as much as possible for the job.

Here is an excerpt of the course description from their site. I believe the total program cost is Approximately $2500, which is very inexpensive considering the amount of training & wheel time they guarantee every student.

Tractor Trailer Truck Driver – Course TRA0080 (320 hours) - This program consists of one course and includes classroom, range driving, and 1,000 miles of hands-on road driving on a variety of roads and conditions. Content includes D.O.T. safety regulations, understanding and complying with vehicle operation regulations, cargo handling and trip planning, vehicle inspection, maintenance and servicing, basic vehicle control procedures and basic vehicle maneuvers. Upon satisfactory completion of all requirements, students will be tested on-site for their Class A Commercial Drivers License (CDL). Those passing will obtain their license from the Department of Motor Vehicles office.

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.
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