Getting Started With CR England

Topic 9330 | Page 1

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Renae S. (Angel)'s Comment
member avatar

I applied with CR England a couple days ago. Got in touch with my recruiter this morning after missing her yesterday. I don't know if I'm okay with using names so I'll just shorten my recruiter to MR. I know it looks funny because MR is a lady, but hey, it's all good.

She walked me through the information on my application as well as asking me about why I want to be in trucking, medications taken in the last 12 months, driving record, criminal (or non-criminal) record.

MR walked me through the commitment requirements financially, DOT physical, getting home state CDL permit, how I would get to training, time training, and team driving. Basically there's a loan for training, travel, and lodging that successful completion of the training and working for CR England for 9 months will cover. If I'm not successful or don't work for at least 9 months, the loan becomes due in full. (I plan on succeeding! Being broke and in debt sucks.)

Another lady called about scheduling a DOT physical here locally. I'm waiting for the callback for that. I don't think there will be any issues.

I have taken pain medication within that 12 month period so I fessed to it. MR sent an email to "their" doctor and he'll be calling and asking me about it. Not sure what he'll ask, but hey, I'm not interested in hiding or lying about anything. That's always a sure recipe for things to go sideways!

MR sent me an email with a login so that I could study for the CDL permit. She SAID that if I study and pass their test twice I would be ready for the permit test. I'm already studying the High Road here and I will also work on CR England's site. I want to be sure that I'll pass the permit no matter what information is on it. Studying comes relatively easy for me so wish me 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.

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.

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.

Renae S. (Angel)'s Comment
member avatar

7-11-15

I'm still on track to get to the school by the 20th. I have 2 things to concentrate on for the next week. Getting my CDL permit and Getting the house and yard organized.

I've searched for sites, including Trucking Truth, for CDL information, and downloaded and read my state CDL manual. I tried to get a book from the DMV but they're in the process of printing new ones for 2015 and didn't have any. The sites that have practice tests, I looked through to see if the tests were similar to TT, and have been taking any that appear to use the same information for their questions.

Now you're wondering why I'm taking practice tests elsewhere when TT does such an awesome job of teaching and reviewing the information we have to know to pass the CDL tests. The answer is because I'm a repetition learner. Once I learn something, it becomes ingrained. If I learn in multiple ways and formats my retention and understanding improves. I don't get so used to one way of seeing or doing something. I received mostly A's sprinkled with a few B's all through my educational life. If it works for me, I'm not going to fix it.

Apparently, my studying and practice test taking strategy is working. Three days ago I was getting 75% on most of my tests even without reading ALL the materials. Today, my test scores are 90%-100% on everything. I'm going to continue reviewing and taking practice tests this weekend and Monday. By Tuesday, I should have a reliable track record so I can pass the CDL permit test the first time around. If for some reason I can't get it in the first go, I have to wait a week to try again. (You have 3 tries to pass before you have to pay again.) If I don't pass the first time, I would miss my window to get to school by the 20th. I don't want to miss my window.

When I spoke with My Recruiter (MR), she told me I had to do two things before she could get me on the bus to take me to Salt Lake City. One, get my DOT medical examination passed to get my medical card AND two, get my CDL permit from MY home state. Then she would call me with my bus ticket number and get me login information for CR England's school site. This whole week has been about meeting those requirements.

Yesterday I went to my medical examination and got my DOT medical card. Apparently, I'm a bit overweight and my eyesight is worse than it used to be. I'm at 20/40 in my left eye and 20/30 in my right eye and 20/25 in both eyes with 80 degrees horizontal field of vision for both eyes. I'm within the legal requirements but at some point (hopefully this year,) I will go see the eye doctor and get some glasses. Maybe I'll look into some really weird frames to make my kids and brothers laugh at me.

Reorganizing at home has been the hardest part.

I'm turning over the house for the most part to the kids. My daughter is a new mom with one income and my son is only 19. I can see both of their near futures so clearly. I'm scared for them. It's so hard getting started in life. They are one of the many reasons I want to do this so badly. I have to have a home base, so continuing to pay for an empty house when I can give them a free place to live and make their lives a little easier makes so much more sense than watching them struggle. I can do something about that, so I am.

I thought my family and friends would think I was crazy for going into trucking, but I've been really surprised and humbled by their concern AND their support. My older brother has been AMAZING! He jumped in with both feet to help me. He's covering my expenses at home for 2 months until I'm able to earn money and take care of it myself. One of my aunts has helped with getting the things I needed to take with me for school. My kids are happy that they'll have free housing with electricity, phone, and internet paid for. You think I'm spoiling them?

I'm also setting up a money manager/bookkeeper to help take care of the financial issues. I'm horrible at managing my money. Low-paying jobs and being a single mom raising 2 kids and being an impulse spender makes things ugly when it comes to paying bills on time, debt, and saving. The lady who is taking care of these things for me will pay online what she can, write the checks when she needs to, set a portion of my weekly pay in an account I have easy access to, AND PUT THE REST IN SAVINGS! She's one of my best friends and does this for a living. I'm fortunate to have her watching my back!

My daughter is going out of town for 2 weeks so I won't see her again before I have to leave for school. That makes me sad, but we've said our "I love you's" so it's okay. My son is being a little slow on helping me clean and organize, but if stuff doesn't get done I won't be here to do it for him. He'll learn or he'll starve and live in a mess. When my daughter moves in at the end of the month I don't see her letting him continue being lazy.

All in all, it's been a busy week. Later, Renae

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Renae,

Looks like you're covering all the bases. I believe you can't take practice tests too many times (well, at least until your eyes glaze over!). Also, I found a few questions on my Mississippi CDL test were not covered by High Road, but I still passed on the first try.

I know you expect to be gone from home for maybe a month or two at one shot. Is the lawn going to get mowed while you're gone? LOL.

Keep the postings coming as you have the time. Good luck with the driver school!

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.
Renae S. (Angel)'s Comment
member avatar

7-12-15

Wow Errol! I appreciate you reading my novel! lol

In answer to the lawn mowing question, yes, someone will mow the lawn. After I call someone to weld the broken handle or even make a new one. The poor thing is in serious trouble. The handle is laying flat on the ground dragging behind the mower. So sad! Even the weed whacker is whacked. I just hope after they mow, they'll actually remember to water.

(Maybe I'll pass through a Wal mart or Home Depot and go "Oh look it's a new mower, I'll buy one and have it delivered...or picked up at the local store.") Who knows what will happen. Maybe Mama is going to contract a lawn service because her kids are too lazy.

On the issue of home time...I don't really need to come home very often. I'll get here when the company says I have to take time off or visit some relatives in the Portland area I haven't seen in a long time. Relatives and friends are in Montana as well.

I'm also hoping to make friends online and visiting them if I'm in their area when I get time off.

I guess not being worried about being gone most of the time makes me weird.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Renae S. (Angel)'s Comment
member avatar

7-12-15

I'm officially a lucky idiot. Stressed out a bit, but lucky.

I've got five days to get my CDL-A permit so I've been studying my little (big tuchus) off. I've been using High Road, practice tests from TT, the company site, and a couple others. I'm feeling confident that I could pass the General Knowledge, Air Brakes, and Combination written tests and get my CDL permit. I don't think I would get perfect scores on everything, but I'd pass. It's all good.

SCREEEEEECH! CRASH!

I reviewed the company site and CR England also wants you to have your HAZMAT endorsement. I HAVEN'T BEEN STUDYING THE HAZMAT!!! Honestly, I don't want to study it because I'm forcing so much into my brain so quickly I'm afraid I'll start hemorrhaging information and do poorly on the tests. Failure is NOT an option.

I'm going to call MR as early as possible tomorrow morning and verify if I need the endorsement before I go to school or if I get that when I take my CDL test for my license. If it turns out that I DO need to have the endorsement beforehand then I guess I'll have to push back the day I had planned to take the permit test.

I really wanted to get it all down and firm in my head before I went in to test no later than Tuesday. I hope I'm panicking for nothing, but something tells me I'm not.

Okay, back to work!

Failure is NOT an option is my new anthem!

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

Stevo Reno's Comment
member avatar

Lol @ spoiled kids.....Well, since you're providing free housing basicly, at least once week lawn mow and edge/watering can get done lol......yard sale for used mower/weed whacker tons out there for cheap. Good luck Renae on testing good-luck.gif

Renae S. (Angel)'s Comment
member avatar

Lol @ spoiled kids.....Well, since you're providing free housing basicly, at least once week lawn mow and edge/watering can get done lol......yard sale for used mower/weed whacker tons out there for cheap. Good luck Renae on testing good-luck.gif

Hmmmmmm.... yard sale....Hmmmmm....Do I just put up a sign that the kids are for sale?....Oh darn! That's illegal. lol

Guess I'm a little silly today. Brain fried for a little while after I finished at the DMV. When I was playing sports in school and watching my brother play baseball, the coach always said, "Don't celebrate just because you scored! You've still got the rest of the game to play. Don't relax yet. You're not done." I feel like coach is whispering in my ear.

CDL permit test has been taken, passed, and paid for. I was totally sweatin' paying for the test and permit more than taking the test. I felt prepared for the test.

I checked my bank account....drumroll please.....dddddddddd $3.42 available. Totally squeaked by on being able to pay for the test. Fortunately I already have MOST of what I need and what I don't have, I can beg or borrow. It's good to have friends and family who are being supportive of my choice of new career! (You can totally see the appeal of yard sale with kids being on the auction block!)

Anyway, I let MR know that I passed the DMV CDL-A Learning Permit Test and received a brand spankin' new piece of paper, with the worst photo I've ever taken in my life, which says I can drive a rig on the road with an instructor. Yay!

MR was pretty much all business today. Congratulations! Yada Yada..."I just sent you an email with information to fill out your enrollment forms. It's only compatible with Google Chrome, so you have to use that. Follow the instructions on the site."

I finally open up this thing and I get three sections that need to be "done in order."

* Fill out the enrollment form and sign everything electronically. Now this thing is pretty cool if you've never seen anything like it. A yellow arrow points at all the places I have to sign or fill in and scrolls me automatically through the whole thing, stopping and zooming like it's on crack. * Study for you CDL Permit (REALLY?!!!!) * Get your CDL Permit (REALLY?!!!)

You can't see me but I'm banging my head on my desk over and over and over again.

Now I've got a headache and another test I MUST pass in order to even think about clicking on the dang button in order to progress to the next step.

Oh, and by the way, THIS test has HAZMAT on it.

You can't hear it, but my forehead just FIRMLY planted in the middle of my notebook on my desk. AGAIN.

Repetition means retention, but dang, couldn't she have sent this to me last week when I passed my DOT physical? At least? Maybe?

Oh well. I'll smile when I wrestle this into submission. My coach is getting louder. Gotta go.

Renae

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

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.

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.

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.

DAC:

Drive-A-Check Report

A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).

It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.

Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.

Renae S. (Angel)'s Comment
member avatar

7-14-15embarrassed.gif

I would just like to start today by saying, MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS ARE ROCK STARS!

When I did my physical last week, I passed everything. As I mentioned before, my eyesight is legal but I'm pushing it. So what do I do to make sure I don't get sent home when/if they recheck "stuff" at school? Well, duh. Go to the eye doctor and get glasses BEFORE leaving for school. Just a tiny little issue. I have no money, no medical insurance, and have already hit up two different sources for help; my aunt and my older brother.

Luckily, I have another brother. He's my twin. (Weirdly, or maybe not, we've never really gotten along. We communicate on separate channels. Think AM trying to talk to FM and you have a good idea how it works. I adore him and have always been proud that I have such an awesome brother, but we take each other in very small doses.)

I called up and got down to business. (Don't ask why I call him Bones because I don't remember. I just know I'm the only one who calls him that and have since I could talk.) (My nickname was given in the hospital where I was born. Angel)

Me: "Hey Bones, how was your vacation?" Him: "Long." Me: "I bet you were glad to be out of cell phone range." Him: "Not really." Me: "I was wondering if you could help me out." Him: "What do you need?" Me: "Glasses. I need to get my eyes examined and get glasses before I go to school. Can you help pay for them?" (I should NOT have used the words help pay for them, as this implied that I would cover some of the expense. This caused me to have to clarify by text later on when he asked how much I could cover.sorry.gif ) Him: "Sure. Set up the appointment and let me know what it will cost." Me: "Okay, Thanks. I'll text you."

*All of my phone conversations usually last between 1 and 2 minutes. I'm not making this up!

So, anyway, I set up the appointment and we worked out the details. Then, the fateful question came. "How much can you cover?" Uhhhh... Can being broke and having to ask for help be any more embarrassing? I texted back that I had $3 in my account, went to the food bank for food, and had to ask our older brother for food money at school AND to cover house expenses for 2 months while I was at school until I started making money.

A long pause later...."Okay, go to the exam and order your glasses. The more basic they are, the faster you can get them. Let me know how late they're open."

That was it. I didn't need to beg or humiliate myself, justify the need for help, or get down on the ground and kiss his feet. A simple Thank You and paying him back later is all he needs from me to be willing to stand behind me and make sure I have what I need to make this work. Of course, he'll also get a backbreaking hug and I love yous before I leave.

Why did I go over a personal conversation with my brother, expose my pathetic financial situation, and reveal how much help I'm already getting from other family members?

BECAUSE GOING TO SCHOOL ISN'T JUST THE COST OF SCHOOL. Yes, there's however you pay for your school, be it a credit card, cash, loan, company school tuition, etc., but it's also making sure that you have food money, toiletries, clothing items, school supplies, bedding, medications (if you take them), phone and chargers, laptops, etc. It's making sure you have a place to come back to if things don't work out. (God forbid!) It all adds up.

I know there will be a very limited amount of space in the dorm room and on the truck so I'm taking the absolute bare minimum of what I need to survive. * This minimizes the cost of clothing items. I don't need to go out and purchase a wardrobe, I just have to utilize wisely what I already own.

I don't need to purchase school supplies. Yay! I have a ton of leftover stuff from when my kids were in school. A notebook, extra paper (cause I take a lot of notes when I study), some pens, a straight edge (for logbook charting), phone has a calculator (not ideal and may pick one up later, but it will work in a pinch or god forbid putting pen to paper).

My required document are present and accounted for. Don't have a social security card? Get one ahead of time. Don't have a birth certificate? Get one ahead of time. Make sure you have all paperwork needed. Double check. Triple check. Then check a few more times. Almost everyone who goes over what happens at school has mentioned people being sent home because they don't have something they were told to bring. Some documents cost money to get and take time to reach you. Allow for that time and expense.

My credit stinks. I'm lucky I have family who have jumped in to support my efforts. I couldn't do any of this without their help. I know it, acknowledge it, and thank God every day for them.

(BTW finished the required stuff from yesterday. The test wasn't as bad as I thought.)

Back to more studying,

Renae (Angel)smile.gif

Logbook:

A written or electronic record of a driver's duty status which must be maintained at all times. The driver records the amount of time spent driving, on-duty not driving, in the sleeper berth, or off duty. The enforcement of the Hours Of Service Rules (HOS) are based upon the entries put in a driver's logbook.

Fm:

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Renae S. (Angel)'s Comment
member avatar

7-15-15

After stressing a little about no callback from MR yesterday, I received a call early this morning. I gave her my permit number and she bought a bus ticket and sent confirmation numbers for the ticket and the school. YAY!

Come to find out "the grey dog" takes 20 hours from where I am to where I'm going. So I have to leave Saturday. I'll have almost a full day of hanging around on Sunday before starting school Monday.

The closer it gets to GO time, the faster time seems to run. I keep thinking, "What is going to be left not done?" I guess all I can do is all I can do.

Renae S. (Angel)'s Comment
member avatar

7-16-15rofl-3.gif

I guess it's been a busy day again.

Heck, I don't even know if anyone is interested in all the pre-trip adventures I've been having, but I'll keep documenting. As the link is called "Diaries Category," I'm just trying to fulfill my own expectations of what a diary entails. If that's a bunch of boring stuff too, I'll get to the school stuff when I arrive. It's likely to be a bit more sporadic since I'm going to be relying on the computer lab they have available at the school.

Going through all the papers, junk, and general crap people accumulate through the years has taken a lot of time today. I found a bunch of stuff I'd thought I'd lost and things I'll be bringing with me. Basically, because I'm turning my house over to the kids, I'm looking at what is going with me to school as my sole possessions. My whole life has been whittled down to 1 large duffle, 1 small sports duffle, a purse, and a pillowcase with 2 throw pillows stuffed in it.

Yes, I packed everything already. Why?

* Will it fit?

* What's missing? If it's missing, can I live without it? Do I have everything on the school checklist from the welcome packet? All the necessary paperwork?

* What else can I do without? How can I make this smaller? Lighter?

* What will I need to get while I'm at school?

* What will I need to get or get rid of while I'm on the road with a trainer? Can I reduce my bag to 1 small duffle, purse, and pillowcase for this time?

What I've found so far is that reducing my bags to 1 large duffle, purse, and pillowcase is doable. Reducing to 1 small duffle? Not so much.

Honestly, I've been a packrat my whole life. Like just about everybody, I accumulate stuff. Stuff. STUFF. Do I need it? No. Is it nice to have? Sometimes. Can I leave it behind and not miss it? Don't know yet, but I'm going to do it anyway. As all the reading and research, all the trucker testimonies say, this is a LIFESTYLE not just a job. My home will be in my truck. I need to prepare for that. Preparing for that lifestyle change means trimming the unnecessary accumulations of years!

Sure, I'll still technically have my house, household items, furniture, decorations, yard tools, car, etc., but I'm not going to be using any of it. I don't plan on being here. All of it will be there for my kids to use as they need it. They won't have to start from scratch the way I did.

The whole process sort of feels like going on an extremely effective weight-loss plan. I just lost more than pounds and inches. It actually feels pretty good.smile.gif

Renae (Angel)

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