Finally Going To Test Out Of School And Earn My CDL Class A

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Joe Y.'s Comment
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Hello ladies and gentlemen. I've been on this form for about a month and I've learned a lot by reading what everyone is posting. Very informative information on this fourm, especially for someone who is just getting into the industry. Well I've been in school for 4 weeks now after trying to obtain the funding through our local career link office. I had signed up for school three times in the past few months only to be informed a few days before starting that funding had been cut. I finally got in and what a relief it was to finally get the go ahead to start my CDL schooling. I've been fortunate enough my entire life to have had good payunh jobs/careers ever since I got out of high school. Went back to college ten years out of high school and went on the have a good career in business management. Like everyone else a couple of years ago the bottom feel out of the manufacturing sector and I've been on and off work since. Finally lost my job about 9 months ago and here I am today, struggling financially an just about at the bottom of the barrel and the end of the bank account. But, it's giving me the opportunity to finally do what I've always wanted to do, become a truck driver.

I'm taking my road test Monday May 4th to finally get my license. i've been waiting to Post on this fourm for a month but haven't had the time. Between school and my wife's unexpected health issues that caught us by supprise, time is at a premium. I can not wait to get out there and start my company training and getting experience under my belt. Probably will not sleep tonight but I'm just so excited about starting this new career, (and hopefully my last one) finally going to be doing something I know I will enjoy. I've been spending time setting up a youtube channel and email for posting my journey because I'd really like to do some blogging and videos on my journey. Hopefully it can help others in my situation make informed decisions abut a career in trucking. Trust me there are a lot of things going on lately that I've never had to deal with before that are making everything and every decision that more complicated. Sounds bland right now but once I can post more on our situation I think people will appreciate kowing about how the decisions I'm making may affect the next step in the process. As if life isn't compacted enough at times now it's a new career, the stress of being responsible for 80,000 pounds on wheels , a high school senior and some serious health problems with my wife, I'll be forever grateful if I can make it through the next couple months.

So enough of my babbling, would just like to thank everyone for taking the time to share what they know and what the are learning about trucking on here. It is very benificial for me to be able to read and learn a lot about trucking that I will not learn in CDL trucking school. I'm hoping I can make the time tomorrow to post how I did with my test. Feeling comfortable about it so it shouldn't be a problem and I've told ,the recruiter at the company I'm going g to be working for that I would call her as soon as I get out of the truck to inform her that I am now licensed and Ready to go to work.

One thing I would like to ask others here that have recently gone through a CDL trucking school is do you feel that some of your classmates should never be allowed to drive a big rig? I never try to judge people, especially only knowing them for such a short time period but, I've e spoken to others who feel the same way. We all agreed that maybe there should be a gate keeper at schools or with the tester that would determine that maybe a student needs more training befoe they get out on the road. There one guy who has failed twice already and when in the truck with other students instead of watching others like we all do to try and learn or help correct our mistakes, all he does is bury his face in his cell phone watching stupid videos and making jokes. Disruptive to others trying to straigh line or parellel park and not taking any thing seriously and i mean nothing. When it's his turn to take the wheel he jumps in the seat, bangs through a few gears flying up to the cones not paying any attention to his set up and then struggles or fails his practice straight line or other tasks. It's got to the point where we didn't want to even be in the truck with him And feel if he passes and gets on the road he's going to hurt someone. Am i wrong and out of place in feeling like this ? Just wondering how others feel about it.

Thank you for letting me ramble and please wish me luck tomorrow.

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.

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

Hoofinit's Comment
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Good luck tomorrow on the test. Keep us posted on how you do. Happy trucking!

Joe Y.'s Comment
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Passed my test so it official, I can now say I have my CDL class A license. Took the test in the morning on Monday and called a trucking company right after I passed. I had given them an application a couple of weeks ago and the recruiter asked if i could stop by after lunch. I went to see her and they road tested my in the afternoon. Had to back the trailor between two others and unhook when we got back. It was a very tight spot but I managed to do it. The tester asked me when was i looking to start back to work, told him a.s.a.p. he said I guess I'll see you on Wednesday at 9am. I got the job. Starting my trucking career Wednesday morning and I can not wait To get started.

Two or there days with a local driver trainer and then three to six weeks with training on trips. I can earn my own rig after the first three weeks if they feel I'm ready for it. I'm going to do my best to get into my own rig as quick as I can and start runnIng. Thinking of taking the run from here in PA to Atlanta and Jacksonville. Haven't totally decided on which run board to go with but I'm leaning towards that one for now. They also run local as well as coast to coast so there are other opportunities available. It's going to be great to get back to work and even better that I'll be driving trucks for a living.

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.
Joe Y.'s Comment
member avatar

Well things not going as planned so far. Pre-employment drug test not back yet. Had another new driver start the same day as I did and he took his drug test on Tuesday (did mine on Monday ) and his came back the next day. So no local run for me today nor does it look like I'll be making the run to NC tomorrow. When I tell you that my luck has been nothing but bad for the past year or so, I'm not throwing the bull s&@t around. Here I was thinking my luck has finally changed and sitting here waiting on test results. Not worried about the results just need it back. Yes I realize people have much bigger problems than mine. But it's still a let down.

So my new career in trucking will have to wait a few more days I guess. I can not wait to get out there and start to learn all the things I need to learn. There is so much to this that it'll take years before I can say that I know half of what the pros know. that is another reason I'm looking forward to getting started, I'll always be learning something. I hope I can learn something new everyday which will help me be a safe driver as well as being an informed driver. Really disappointed to have to wait longer. It seems like time is in slow motion waiting to get out on the road.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Joe Y.'s Comment
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Can't believe that the results from my drug screen were not back this morning. I called the tester and they said it was still in the lab, WTH already. She promised me it would be cleared by 5 o'clock (Friday) and sent back to the Company. I called the company and she said she will call me Monday as soon as they get the email from the drug screen. I also found out that the NC trip I was so bummed about missing because of my test results not being back yet wasn't going to happen. Turns out my driver trainer is just returning to work after an injury that he was off work for more than 30 days for. Policy is that he had to submit a drug screen and his wasn't back yet either. So I feel a little bit better but still bummed I'm not hitting the road until Monday. The trip is scheduled to leave here on Monday. Fingers crossed that the lab did what they promised and I can finally start my driving career.

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.

Mr. Smith's Comment
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Good luck bubba let keep us informed.

Joe Y.'s Comment
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Thank you Mr. Smith. Can't wait for Monday to get here and hopefully getting on the road finally.

My friend that works for the same company has been a great help. So far he's given me his old CB (to borrow until I get my own), a booklet with a listing of truck stops for ever state which he has made notes in about other useful things in the area. Today he gave me his old (2014) Rand McNally deluxe road atlas with lamanited pages. That alone saved me about $50. So I'd like to thank him, ( thank you Buddy) that's his nick name.

All I need now is about another $1,000 or so when I get my own rig assigned to me and I'll have everything I'll need to be comfortable and entertained in the truck. lol

Joe Y.'s Comment
member avatar

Just got home a couple hours ago from a 3 day road trip. So my new career is officially under way and I'm hoping to keep it going as quickly as I can. Let me start with day one. We left the yard at around noon, (I know, late start but thats what the man wanted to do) and head to a Walmart distribution center to pick up an empty trailer. My driver trainer is doing the driving so far. With empty hooked up we head to our next stop not to fall away and drop the empty and pick up our load that's heading south. So far we've logged about 50 miles. We head for the highway and travel aabout 50 miles and a warning light comes on about the DEF system. The truck is loosing power so he pulls off the highway and stops on the side of the off ramp. I read an article and have watched several videos on these systems and I knew that it needed a forced regeneratiion to clean it up. While I'm reading the manual in the truck my trainer is on the phone with the shop. The mechanic said a regeneration is not going to fix it correctly based on the codes that it was giving us. so he tells us to go to the Volvo dealer back up the highway about 25 miles. Trainer doesn't think we'll make it but tells him we will try. We get there at about 40 mph and the dealership tells us that he thought we were going to get towed from there after we think it'll be fixed there. Back on the phone and over to the truck stop about 2 miles away to wait for a tow truck. They had another tractor towed up for us. So 4 hours later he shows up and tells us he told the mechanics that the truck was unfit for him to give to us but was told that's all thy have so take it Anyway.

They should have listened because I've never seen a truck so filthy in my life. Fifteen empty soda bottles filled with "P" a Port-a John with I don't want to know what still in the bag. It stunk to high heck and if you touched anything your hands stuck to this sticky dirt all over everthing. Don't know how the driver lives in this thing. He is out on sick leave and based on the cleanliness of his truck I can see why he's sick. The smell is enough to burn the hair out of you nose and it was hard to get any sleep when your smelling what we were smelling all night. I started a maintenance sheet on the truck but was finding so many things that needd to be fixed i ran out of room so i stopped and figured they'll figure the rest out. Plus its 80 degrees and the AC doesn't Work. Well by the time we cleaned it out as best we could and transfered our stuff over it was midnight so we decide to get some sleep and start in the morning.

So much for my first day as a trucker. I was so bummed out but kept a positive attitude and told myself tomorrow is a new day.

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.

Joe Y.'s Comment
member avatar

Day 2.

We get up and fuel the truck up, hit the wash room to take care of some quick personal business and off we go. I ask the trainer when am I going to start driving. He tells me he's not sure I'm reday yet but it'll be soon. This is my first clue that something is just not right here. This guy was an owner operator for 25 years and retired out of Snider I think after 10 years With them. He's only driving part time until his wife retires in two years Plus he's just starting back to work after being off on injury the last 7 months so this is his first trip in a while. He is teaching me as we're going down the road and he's a really good teacher. He has the experience and the know how of the job because he's been around so long. After our first stop he finally tells me to get behind the wheel and drive for a while. It's about time I'm thinking. So off we go getting onto the highway and down the road. As I'm looking over at him he's not saying anything which seems strange because he's been telling me things about trucking ever since we started out. By this time I've already learned more from him in one day than I did in 5 weeks of CDL training school. So after about 5 minutes I notice his hands are shaking and he's still not saying anything. I asked him if anything is wrong and he tells me he just doesn't think he can do this. I don't know what to think so I ask him what he means. He tells me he doesn't think he can be a trainer (I'm his first student driver) and that it has nothing to do with me. Talk about putting pressure on me, my nerves just exploded and I instantly become very uncomfortable and a little scared that if I make one small mistake it'll get blown way out of proportion. He reassures me that he thinks I'm a great driver and that the manager that road tested me told him that he wouldn't have a problem with my driving because he though I was a very good driver and all I need is to learn the ropes and practice with my docking manouvors.

So I drive for about 3 hours and log about 200 miles. Speed limit is 70 so it adds up fast. We make a stop and he takes over again. We make our delivery early and swap trailers and take the empty about 70 miles to pick up our back haul. Once again he does the drop and hooks and all the docking which is what I need the practice at. Well by the time we get loaded with our back haul he's just about out of hours. It's getting late and will be dark soon so he tells me I'll have to drive. Off I go gain and head through town towards the highway. I drive for another 3 hours or so most of which is during dark and where we were the lines on the road you could hardly see. I think they used black paint to do line stripeing on this section of road, it was that bad. Had me shaking in my shoes for a while. As soon as we crossed the next state line the lines where white and bright, I thought I had just left my home state of PA because the lines were that bad. (Actually PA does a great job with road markings it's just all the pot holes and construction all the time)

Long story short he tells me we're stopping at the truck stop off exit 11 to spend the night. As soon as I cross the state line he said get off exit 4 and we'll spend the night there. So I exit and pull in the truck stop and start looking for a place to park for the night. There were a lot of open spots so I pick one and start to back it In. My trainer said in a bit of a snippy voice why don't you just let me do this so we can get settled for the night. I move over and he parks the truck. After we get settled a bit he tells me that he think I'm a great driver and I'll do very good as a driver the problem is that he is having anxiety attacks whenever he sits in the passenger seat and someone else Is driving. He again assures me that it has nothing to do with me or the way I drive, he said even at home if his wife is driving he gets the same attacks. Now we're 600 miles from home why didnt you just not offer to do any training. He told me several times he thought he would be able to do it but he just can't stop the anxiety attacks. So now every time I drove I felt very nervous not because of my driving but became of his attacks. I felt that if I made a mistake I would be marked as a bad student driver.

We ended up talking about it for a while and he again assured me it had nothing to do with me. The end of day 2 was very nerve racking but I got some driving hours in and we will be taking our back haul towards home tomorrow then back to the yard to speak with the manager. So far I'm feeling pretty good about my new career and I can't wait to finish my training and get assigned my own truck. Still hoping it will happen quickly but only time will tell when.

I'll post more later but for now it's late and I'm tired, tomorrow's another day hopefully with a new trainer.

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.

Owner Operator:

An owner-operator is a driver who either owns or leases the truck they are driving. A self-employed driver.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

Joe Y.'s Comment
member avatar

Day 3 of the new career.

My driver trainer and I got up early and hit the road about 6 am. I could tell he was in a rush to get our back haul delivered and get back to the yard before the manager left so he could talk to him about not wanting to be a trainer anymore. When we got to the drop off he was tired so I drove the rest of the way home. Again he did the drop and hook and even went as far as pulling out of the yard before letting me in the drivers seat. As I stated earlier he just can't sit in the passenger seat and not have an anxiety attack. I totally understand where he's coming from. When we get back to the yard he let's me back the empty trailer into a spot, which again I was nervous as heck because knowing his anxiety was making me very uncomfortable. I get it straightened out and unhook, pull the tractor around to the parking area and park it. Help him get his stuff out of the truck and we head Inside. I clean out the garbage and by the time I get inside he's already talking to the manager. what I did hear him saying was all good about my driving.

On the way home part of the highway was closed and detoured onto a skinny two lane windy country road. I knew he was shaking and was nervous as hell with me driving. The speed limit was 40 but I drive down it at about 25 to 30 max. A lot of winding curves, and down hills and very very dark. Not a house light in sight. The detour was about 20 mies and he didn't peak a word but he did tell the manager how he felt and that I did an excellent job in handling the truck though it. He said he would be nervous himself if he were behind wheel. After explaining that he just couldn't be a trainer because of his anxiety I was told to call in the morning and he'll hook me up with another trainer.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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