CA CDL Step By Step. The Process.

Topic 9025 | Page 1

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Ride2BFree's Comment
member avatar

Made a decision to go for the CDL and becoming OTR driver. Decided to go for a company school. At first I got a notice from CRST and Swift. Both look good. Then CRST rejected me. I got a ticket for speaking on the phone while driving it is not consider a moving violation in CA. So there is no points to it. But eventually CRST don't accept you if you had one of those in the past 5 years. I checked with Swift with them I'm ok. School starts at 6/23. But because of my dislike for some type of surprises I have decided that I'll go and get my DOT medical card and get my vision test before school start. In addition need to get basic written test as well and my motorcycle endorsement if I like to keep it. So plan for next week to get all written exams out of the way. I hope the training here will be as good as I expect it to be. So far this forum and the website are extremely helpful. Thank You guys much appreciated. For CA applicants you need the DOT med card when you go to the DMV to apply for the CDL. There is a bunch of companies that doing it for about 40$. I'll keep you inform as the process continue. Hope I'm not shooting too high to pass all written with in a week.

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.

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.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Ride2BFree's Comment
member avatar

Got my DOT medical today in Oakland 39$ got my med card for 2 years. Went to the DMV got my vision test paid for the CDL App. 71$. Now the weekend plan is to study so I can take the exams next week. Feeling excited.

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.

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.

Ride2BFree's Comment
member avatar

Monday checked in to Econo Lodge in Fontana. Tuesday first day of TDA course for the CDL. TDA are contracted by Swift to help the new recruits get their CDL. first day Tuesday was some admin staff as well as med exam for the DOT medical and a drug test as the pre employment for Swift. Contracts sign up. Training cost 3900$ if you don't stay in the hotel if you do it's an extra 500$. Finance no interest. Payback starts after you getting your own truck and become a solo driver. Deduction is 75$ a week. But swift pay you addition 37.50$ per week to cover training so after 13 month you pay for training but you keep getting the 37.50$ for the second year. So actually after 2 years your training become fully paid for.

Wednesday was mostly doing pre exam to practice. All day long we did like 3 general knowledge 3 combination and 3 air brake exams.

Thursday morning heading to the DMV.

Passed the all three. Got my Permit. 😀😀😀😀

Swift does not want the new recruits to get any endorsement at this stage. They want the drivers quick.

Thursday afternoon watching Pre trip check up videos. Over and over.

Will continue later.

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.

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.

Maverick (Tom H).'s Comment
member avatar

So what has happened at school it has been a while since you posted

Ride2BFree's Comment
member avatar

Hello again, Yesterday I passed my test finally, Tomorrow dmv to get my CDL and hopefully within a few days on the road with a mentor. I passed air brake and Pre Trip in first attempt skills only on the third one and road test on first attempt. Now my comments on the school and my experience. 1. Written exam for the permit- the school will teach you how to pass the exam, without any explanation for the why or how things work. I have seen people pass the exam without knowing the difference between engine and transmission, without having any knowledge around the truck. So it's like many other things in life there is difference between knowing and passing an exam and the later does not guarantee knowledge. The school get paid to get you the permit and the CDL. Don't expect them to give you technical knowledge. But if you are serious about your new career it's your responsibility to acquire the maximum knowledge you can on the equipment you are going to operate.

2. Air Brakes- again you learn what to do in order to pass the test. Some are looking at the air gauges and don't really understand what behind them, they learn like a script. Your life and other people's life will depends on the brakes, ask questions if you don't know.

3. Pre Trip- another script to learn. People are mistaken alternator to A/C compressor. On different trucks they got lost and does not know what to look for.

4. Skills - Either you get a natural talent for it or you need to learn the technique behind it. It took me longer then I expected to learn the technique but at the end I got it. My advice according to my experience is if you fail to do it properly couple of times during training ask for help from the instructor if you did not learn from one get help from another different instructors have different teaching method and if you did not get it from one you might understand it better from another. And most important if you feel you need more practice time ask and if you have to demand it. At the end you will be the one paying for your training so it's your right to demand what you need. 4. Road Test/Driving- again some will learn the shifting quicker and easier then others. Each instructor have different teaching method, each truck the clutch and transmission will work slightly different than the other truck. Do not be shy you are there to learn ask questions, do not feel embarrassed by the other students in the truck.

Conclusion- Only after my last driving lesson I really felt confidence that I'm operating and controlling the truck properly and the following day I did pass the test.

You are there to learn you pay the school to teach you to pass the test, But it is your responsibility to ask questions it is your responsibility to ask for help when you need it.

You are starting a new career that will require you more or less knowledge than what you needed in your previous job but it's a different knowledge that you need to learn, And one can't learn without asking questions or help when needed.

Obtaining the CDL it's just the first step because driving you can learn only by practicing it for many hours on the road. Now I'm looking forward to go on the road.

I have very few bad comments on the school and I don't think they are relevant here but I will tell them to the school manager so your experience can be a little better.

In general despite the stress and sometimes frustration the experience was good and I got my CDL.

I'll keep posting on my future experience as I go along.

I hope my post help some people.

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.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Maverick (Tom H).'s Comment
member avatar

Congrats on getting your CDL I think we may have been in the same class there in Fontana.

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.
Ride2BFree's Comment
member avatar

It was Monday morning I went to the DMV to get my CDL after I passed the test on Saturday. Went to swift terminal. To get my mentor. Within an hour got my mentor he was there at the terminal so by little after noon time I was already driving. I have been with the mentor for 5 weeks to get the 200 behind the wheel hours to go solo. He was a nice guy but not a good teacher. When I got for my upgrade to solo I had to do a bunch of backups as practice because we did not do enough. Well finally pass the test to solo and become an official solo driver reefer division.

Regardless how you do with mentor first time on your own it's scary.

First load 8 hours detention loosing the appointment for next stop. Waiting overnight for next stop Going to scale. Tandem axel need to be moved but stuck. Then check trailer tires i figured out one was too dangerous rubber pulled off when service guy came he realize need another one as well so tired replaced tandem fix and off we go.

Drop trailer take an empty one going to shipper drop empty pick up a loaded one oops tandem does not move. Drive to scale call service came within an hour guy worked 2 hours fix tandem Next day heading back to Ca for home time. Monday after home time driving bobtail to shipper pick up a trailer another stuck tandem another 5 hours gone between waiting and fixing.

Good start.

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.

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

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.

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

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.

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