Am I Cut Out For This??

Topic 8473 | Page 1

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Unflappable and Relentles's Comment
member avatar

Hey all, Timothy Matthys here. I went to Knight's CDL Program in mid February to early March and didn't make it.. So I went home and put my CDL goal on the back burner for a bit and now I'm giving it another go. Instead of going to a company for training, I'm going to a local private school here in the Rochester, NY area. If I flunked out of Knight's CDL Program, I'm really wondering am I cut out for this or was Knight just not the right fit for me? They did have an accelerated program but I don't wanna flunk twice... Advice?

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.

Slowpoke's Comment
member avatar

Without knowing what made you flunk out, it's a little tough to give you advice... Was there one particular thing you were having too much trouble with? Was there something in your back ground that made Knight cut ties with you? Too many unknowns here. I do know there have been plenty of folks who have not been successful their first time out of the gate that have ended up getting their CDL's.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Unflappable and Relentles's Comment
member avatar

Without knowing what made you flunk out, it's a little tough to give you advice... Was there one particular thing you were having too much trouble with? Was there something in your back ground that made Knight cut ties with you? Too many unknowns here. I do know there have been plenty of folks who have not been successful their first time out of the gate that have ended up getting their CDL's.

Well for starters, I'm more of a book learner than a hands on learner. They told me at the end week 1 you will have an evaluation and progression to week 2 depends on successfully doing a pre-trip inspection with 54/70 items minimum as per Indiana DOT regs, and competency driving and shifting using the double clutch method moving forwards and doing all basic skills maneuvers must be at no less than 80%. Is that a realistic expectation? I'm fine with the pre-trip. I could do that no problem. I wasn't the best shifter but not the worst either. But it took me way longer to figure out how to shift and drive than most others. And we also didn't get any seat time doing the basic skills maneuvers. I was told 6 out of 10 don't make it through the progression test to move on to week 2. The day before my evaluation they pulled me aside and they said if you do the evaluation tomorrow realistically you have a very slim chance of passing it and progressing to week 2 so you can go home today, or you can take your test tomorrow and if you make it which isnt realistic, great! But if you dont make it then youll be sent home and terminated. If you go home today voluntairily though, you can always come back once you have your cdl license and work for knight. I just don't want the same thing happening where it takes me too long to catch on and not being able to get my license at school. I know they won't fire me cuz I don't work for them but I don't want to have to withdraw from the program either. Hope that gives you more detail on the situation. Thanks again for your help.

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

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.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Slowpoke's Comment
member avatar

To be honest, if they expect folks to learn the pre-trip and double clutching in a week I would not even consider giving Knight another thought..... The company admitting to a 60% failure rate and they don't think there's a problem with their training program?? They are possibly turning away great drivers which makes me think they have a reason to turn so many away, maybe government money for everyone that signs up whether they finish or not.. I would research other companies training programs and ask specifics about what is expected during their training programs... If you can afford it, I would suggest a community college or nationally recognized CDL school to get your CDL on your own... That way you will not be obligated to any specific company for whatever time period they hold you in indentured servitude for paying for your training.... I went to a community college program in 1997. We didn't even see a truck for the first week, that was spent on logs, haz mat and regs and there was no "progression" testing. We practiced the pre-trip every day, did some skills everyday and did road driving after a couple weeks every day.

I cannot recommend any company sponsored programs as I have never been through one, but I will say again.... Research them, ask lots of questions and even search online for reviews from others who have been through them...

Don't let this one bad experience deter you if trucking is truly what you want to do......

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.

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.
James U.'s Comment
member avatar

I went thro a private school my self. The main reason I did is because I didn't want to work for one company I wanted to choose who I work for and Not get stuck in one company for a period of time if it didn't work out. I wasn't able to shift well neither. It took lots of drive time with teachers to get it down enough to pass for my class AS. I really didn't get everything down good until I went to a trucking company and they sent me out with a Trainer who was awesome and a great guy to be with. He showed me how to be a strong driver. If this is what you want to do I myself would go to a private school or college and get that class A and while there research different trucking companies apply to them talk to them ask them Questions and take my Time to see which company would be the best fit for me. Best of Luck to you

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.

Old School's Comment
member avatar
To be honest, if they expect folks to learn the pre-trip and double clutching in a week I would not even consider giving Knight another thought..... The company admitting to a 60% failure rate and they don't think there's a problem with their training program?? They are possibly turning away great drivers which makes me think they have a reason to turn so many away, maybe government money for everyone that signs up whether they finish or not.. I would research other companies training programs and ask specifics about what is expected during their training programs

I think a couple of things needs to be clarified here. Any Company-Sponsored Training is considered more like a try out than it is like a school. That is the reason for high failure rates. They are taking you in on their dime, and if they don't see potential really quickly then they don't want to spend the resources that it takes to get you to the point you need to be. That's how it works, and therefore it is not for everyone. This B.S. about them doing this for government money is complete hog-wash. They make money with efficient drivers, not government handouts for training folks for a week and then kicking them to the curb.

Even if you go to a private school you will be expected to learn very quickly. That first week is always a killer for anyone who didn't have enough foresight to get their permit ahead of the schooling. The community colleges are the slowest paced schools, and that is only because they have to have enough class time to be able to make it into a legitimated course length so that they can get the supplemental funding they need to conduct the classes.

I went to a private school, but I am of the opinion that these Company-Sponsored Training programs are a very good option. They serve a definite need for the folks who can't afford to plunk down anywhere from three to six thousand dollars for school, and in this day and time there are a lot of folks in that situation.

People get all bent out of shape thinking they have to work for that company now for one year, and that they don't have a choice in their employer. I think it a bogus concern, and here's why. You just make your choice of company before you make your choice of school. It's not like you are a slave or anything, you've just decided you want to work for Prime, or Knight, or whoever it is before you go to their schooling. There are some definite advantages to doing it that way. One of the major ones is that you have already been vetted by the company and have their approval. I had a terrible time finding a job after I finished private school, and I had no idea I was going to run into the problems I did. I ended up settling for just about the only company that would take me.

A one year commitment is really a minor thing, even if you are not real happy with the choice you made. It would do most of us some real good to have to put up with a few problems for a little while - it not only builds character, but it helps you realize that maybe you had a knee jerk reaction at first to some of the things that you thought were so bad. Patience is a great virtue to have when you are a professional driver, and it is kind of like a muscle, it gets better and stronger the more you exercise it.

I'm not trying to defend Knight with this post, but just wanted to clarify a few of the misconceptions I saw in Slowpokes response.

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.

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.

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.

Unflappable and Relentles's Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the advice guys and the insight. I got my permit in January before I even thought of going to knight and I'm not sure if I said I was going to a local school or not but I am going to start one soon in the Rochester NY area.

J. Snow's Comment
member avatar

The private school I went to was 154 hours done in 3 weeks (15 days). If you passed, great, if not you could stay on another week and hone your schools. If you needed to stay another week they would keep you, but they would charge $125. The most it's taken anyone was going into that 5th week. The instructors were licensed examiners so we did all of our DMV testing right there at the school. It was intense-but we made it.

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.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

Eckoh's Comment
member avatar
double-quotes-start.png

To be honest, if they expect folks to learn the pre-trip and double clutching in a week I would not even consider giving Knight another thought..... The company admitting to a 60% failure rate and they don't think there's a problem with their training program?? They are possibly turning away great drivers which makes me think they have a reason to turn so many away, maybe government money for everyone that signs up whether they finish or not.. I would research other companies training programs and ask specifics about what is expected during their training programs

double-quotes-end.png

I think a couple of things needs to be clarified here. Any Company-Sponsored Training is considered more like a try out than it is like a school. That is the reason for high failure rates. They are taking you in on their dime, and if they don't see potential really quickly then they don't want to spend the resources that it takes to get you to the point you need to be. That's how it works, and therefore it is not for everyone. This B.S. about them doing this for government money is complete hog-wash. They make money with efficient drivers, not government handouts for training folks for a week and then kicking them to the curb.

Even if you go to a private school you will be expected to learn very quickly. That first week is always a killer for anyone who didn't have enough foresight to get their permit ahead of the schooling. The community colleges are the slowest paced schools, and that is only because they have to have enough class time to be able to make it into a legitimated course length so that they can get the supplemental funding they need to conduct the classes.

I went to a private school, but I am of the opinion that these Company-Sponsored Training programs are a very good option. They serve a definite need for the folks who can't afford to plunk down anywhere from three to six thousand dollars for school, and in this day and time there are a lot of folks in that situation.

People get all bent out of shape thinking they have to work for that company now for one year, and that they don't have a choice in their employer. I think it a bogus concern, and here's why. You just make your choice of company before you make your choice of school. It's not like you are a slave or anything, you've just decided you want to work for Prime, or Knight, or whoever it is before you go to their schooling. There are some definite advantages to doing it that way. One of the major ones is that you have already been vetted by the company and have their approval. I had a terrible time finding a job after I finished private school, and I had no idea I was going to run into the problems I did. I ended up settling for just about the only company that would take me.

A one year commitment is really a minor thing, even if you are not real happy with the choice you made. It would do most of us some real good to have to put up with a few problems for a little while - it not only builds character, but it helps you realize that maybe you had a knee jerk reaction at first to some of the things that you thought were so bad. Patience is a great virtue to have when you are a professional driver, and it is kind of like a muscle, it gets better and stronger the more you exercise it.

I'm not trying to defend Knight with this post, but just wanted to clarify a few of the misconceptions I saw in Slowpokes response.

got to agree with this. I went though SWIFTs academy. They tell you straight up its a 3 week job interview. Even if you get your CDL its not a 100% shot at getting a job, more like 95%. They do teach by a sink or swim mentaility, they want to find out if you have the drive to learn how to drive a big truck or not.

For me i failed my straight line back the first time as i had exactly 1 attempt before my test to "figure" it out. After my initial fail you get to go though a slightly more indepth class and test again. However what i did was ask one of the teachers what i was doing wrong and he told me and then said "everyone else walked away ho hop in the truck and try again" I did 6 perfect straight backs (not as easy as it sounds as at my school the straight back lane was on a grade as well as only being 9 feet wide for an 8.5 foot truck) then tanked the 7th. The tracher told me if i do it perfect one more time he will just pass me and i get to move on to pretrip, so i id it correct one more time and moved on. Funny enough EVERYONE who failed the first time from my class and did the "second" straight back lesson failed.

In my class at SWIFT we started with 18 people 6 passed, there are 3 states that learn at the Richmond school North Carolina, Virginia, and Pennsivania. 11 people were in the Virginia group I was the only one to pass.

The VA pretip is also 118 items and you can miss 12.

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.

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.

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.

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