My Progress Becoming A Truck Driver

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R0adRa93's Comment
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I started studying for my class A CDL in early May. I first contacted a few truck driving schools out of state and went through the process with "Driver Resource Center" they were able to get me a prehire with Werner but then I learned I was going to have to surrender my NJ CDL and get a Missouri CDL and the recruiter was becoming more and more vague with the details. I then decided to work on my permit and tests on my own so I had my permit in hand and see if it could be more affordable with a local truck driving school. After studying up for about a week I spent the last $30 I had on the permit for Combination, Tanker and Haz-Mat I didn't get doubles/triples because I didn't have the extra $10 for it. I passed Tanker but failed Combination so I started looking for additional assistance. That's when I found truckingtruth.com and the high road program. I have say, I have studied long and hard with the high road and have had some great results. I have passed Combination, Doubles/Triples and Haz-Mat using the series. Thanks to you guys and your programers for the hard work y'all put into this system.

Now, I am looking at different schools to attend I was going to originally attend bradway out in Vineland, however, they have proven to be a bit difficult to work with and I see myself arguing with the guy and not learning anything. So, I am going with this other school in Williamstown that is just a few minutes away from work. First and foremost, I got along with the owner and instructors had some conversations about safety and how I am safety conscious and refuse to break from my set habits.

Now, let me finish with this, I have an ego, my ego is that I drive safely and I get 300 students to and from school safe and sound every day. I keep my bus under control, keep track of a complicated route with 60 stops and keeping track of students' behavior, the road, traffic around me, turn a 30,000 lb vehicle around tight roads not designed for big vehicles. Park it into tight spots that even my co-workers avoid, I keep my skills fine tuned and I purposely choose difficult parking spots because I can't become complacent in my skills. I'll back into spots, pull straight into spots, I keep my skills finely honed. The biggest thing is, I do what I can to keep my ego in check and make safety my number one priority. I take things slow and easy as there is always room for fixing an error when you go slow and careful than doing it fast.

I consider myself a professional and push myself to be such. Even if that means that others may not think so, or others think I am slow, or I am taking one to many steps, bottom line, I am conscious of my actions and I am sure that my students are safe off and on my bus.

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.

Doubles:

Refers to pulling two trailers at the same time, otherwise known as "pups" or "pup trailers" because they're only about 28 feet long. However there are some states that allow doubles that are each 48 feet in length.

Prehire:

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.

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.

R0adRa93's Comment
member avatar

Just a quick update, I met with the financial aide person through the career onestop after spending a few minutes making sure all my documents were in order she looked over my W2 and said that I qualify for the aid. Afterwards she set me up with an appointment to take a TABE test which I scored 97th percentile. She perused my scores and stated that I had amazing scores then she wanted to know what I wanted to be trained in. I responded with "Class A CDL" and she looked at me as if I had two heads. Then she took a big sigh and handed me the card to my career counselor who will be meeting with me on the 17th.

If all goes well, I will begin school on the 27th. I am quite thrilled as the school has approvals with the state to have my fingerprints covered for HazMat and TWIC using state funds. I am on my own for my passport but I'll have the funds for that by the first of August. Everything is coming together nicely. I am quite thankful. :)

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.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

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.

Christine P.'s Comment
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Wow why was she mad....good luck to you

R0adRa93's Comment
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Wow why was she mad....good luck to you

I wouldn't say mad I would use the word disappointed becuase I had such a high score I would be better off doing something else in her mind.

I have 15 years experience in IT I just don't have the degree to allow me to do the work I would like to do. So I would rather drive a truck... Okay, I enjoy driving big vehicles and I am only happy when I am either with family or driving and yeah if I had to make money, I would rather be behind the wheel than anything else.

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.

Jessica A-M's Comment
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Wow why was she mad....good luck to you

She probably thinks he's wasting his talent and brains on...yeuch...trucking!

Seems truckers are looked down upon from every chair.

Little Syster (a.k.a. Sun's Comment
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Glad to hear you persevered! And as for the degree...sometimes even then you don't get to do what you want to do. All depends I guess. As for the ego thing, you at least comprehend that it could get you in trouble. It's incredible to me that some drivers seem to forget that in this industry you constantly have to be aware, be humble, and be diligent. I think that this industry is often misrepresented by certain drivers and that plays in to why people shake their head at "wasted talent." I have given up trying to convince people that this industry is what helps the world turn. Now I sit back, giggle and shake my head when I encounter a person with this attitude. Driving truck is potentially one of the most mentally intense and knowledge/information dense professions I've encountered. Yes, medical professionals, lawyers, etc have their work cut out for them too. But in the "blue collar" world, we take the cake for having to divide our attention in a thousands different directions both behind the wheel and out of the cab. Next time you run into someone like that, slap the "Truck Drivers Bible" (reg book) down in front of them and remind them that these are JUST the rules and regulations we have to remember and follow! Between that, constantly being aware of everything going on around you and your rig, trip planning, physically operating an 80k lb vehicle in traffic, tracking available hours, finding overnight parking, finding ANY safe parking, securing the load properly, adhering to company policies, and being on contant alert for hazards/knowing what to do in an emergency all while putting on a professional, cheerful, and ego-free disposition with shippers, receivers, and state patrol, you would think that a light bulb would go off in people's heads that driving truck is more than just talking on a CB, eating fast food, and seeing the country. So we should never, ever feel ashamed of what we do and never, ever lose focus that we are doing what we love! :)

Trucker Pride

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

R0adRa93's Comment
member avatar

School starts this coming Monday. The 27th was too short of notice for my career counselor so she set me for the 10th.

The state is covering my hazmat and TWIC finger printing. Which i am heading to after this post.

I am quite excited for Monday these guys are awesome. I am quite thrilled to finally finish my CDL -A. I started the process back in May. A long time coming that's for sure.

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.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

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.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

R0adRa93 holds:

... how I am safety conscious and refuse to break from my set habits.

RoadRage, you can have an ego, you certainly need to place safety over all else. (I drove school bus long ago, some of the safest drivers around!) But the Cast Iron habits have to go. Bus habits, even in safety, are not necessarily semi truck habits.

You are smart enough to know the difference (despite that financial aid person), but according to what you wrote, you may not like to do some things a new way. You have lots of new ways coming up. Enjoy the ride!

R0adRa93's Comment
member avatar

I started school yesterday, they had me sit through the drug & alcohol module and the whistle blower module then sent me out to the yard with last week's class. Yesterday, we were performing the pretrip and the instructor was drilling into every part of the truck as New Jersey's Pre Trip portion has changed and there is a 99% failure rate statewide. (I talked with my yard supervisor and she said the same thing.) The worst part is the state will NOT tell the schools what they are looking for.

Today we went through the pretrip then practiced straight line backing. Tomorrow, it's more of the straight line banking. I actually enjoy being behind the wheel of this behemoth and I can't wait to get some more!

-R0adRa93

Tyler Durden's Comment
member avatar

I started school yesterday, they had me sit through the drug & alcohol module and the whistle blower module then sent me out to the yard with last week's class. Yesterday, we were performing the pretrip and the instructor was drilling into every part of the truck as New Jersey's Pre Trip portion has changed and there is a 99% failure rate statewide. (I talked with my yard supervisor and she said the same thing.) The worst part is the state will NOT tell the schools what they are looking for.

Today we went through the pretrip then practiced straight line backing. Tomorrow, it's more of the straight line banking. I actually enjoy being behind the wheel of this behemoth and I can't wait to get some more!

-R0adRa93

Glad I'm not taking my test in New Jersey if 99% of the people fail

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