Oh How I Despise Team Driving

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Sam C.'s Comment
member avatar

Just feeling the need to vent. Team driving sucks. I've only been doing it for 2 weeks now, prime TNT , but this is horrible. First off I hate being stuck on night shift when I was on days the day before. It's hard enough to sleep when you are constantly being bounced around let alone when you slept the night before. Secondly, I'm tired of high vals. I've had to pee for the last 2 hours and can't my trainer can't stop yet because we still aren't 200 miles away yet. We've been driving for 5 hours but because of wonderful NYC traffic we've only gone 169 miles. Fml! Also what happened to me actually getting a break from this? All I do now is drive and try to sleep. There is absolutely no down time to just relax. I can't wait to be off this truck and to have my own.

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.

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14¢ per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Best Answer!
And to call my trainer an actual trainer is a joke

Sam, I agree completely.

I'm pretty sure this system is messing with alot of people's lives in a negative way

HudsonHawk, I agree completely with you also.

This is how training has always been in the industry. It's a little worse at Prime because most of their trainers are lease drivers and most of those guys are only taking students on for the cheap labor. Let's tell it like it is, right? And the reason Prime is having those lease drivers train students, knowing many of them are terrible trainers, is because it's the best way for the corporation to make money. Again, let's tell it like it is.

Honest to God the person that comes up with a way to recruit enough genuinely good trainers to keep the students rolling while paying the students enough to survive on should get a tickertape parade in Manhattan. And a billion dollars. But I don't know how you go about doing that and obviously nobody else in this industry has figured it out either.

There are companies that only dispatch student trucks as solo operations and require the trainer to stay in the passenger seat, not the bunk, and only the student does the driving unless the trainer feels he/she should take over for the sake of safety. That's the proper way to train people. The problem is that it's extremely expensive to do that. Not only is that truck not making the company any money, but having a trainer sitting there doing nothing is costing them a fortune. So those companies pay the students next to nothing and have a heck of a time recruiting anyone.

Now you might be able to justify doing that if you knew the trainee would stick with the company for a year or two and the company could recoup that investment. But how many drivers do we have right here in this forum that continue to encourage new drivers to get their training and move on against my advice? A lot of em! And they know who they are.

This is what's creating a situation where the companies have their back against the wall. They know no matter what they do a lot of students are either going to fail to pick up the necessary skills to become efficient drivers, they're going to quit the company quickly and move on to someone who pays an extra penny a mile, or they're going to drop out of trucking altogether. Why? Because drivers who are new to the industry don't understand the big picture or don't have what it takes to make it out there. They don't understand how expensive it is to train them or what it takes for a company to survive economically. They don't understand how stressful and difficult it is to live on the road and do this job day in and day out. So they do whatever they want to do for themselves and say screw everyone else. Well what that does is screw all of the students that come after them.

Prime has even taken the initiative to pay their student drivers the highest salary of any students in the industry. Part of that is because they want them to stick around. But part of it is also because they know they're going to keep you out for two or three months when you first go out on the road, which is shameful in my book, and they're going to let a lease driver run your *ss into the ground which is dangerous and stressful. They also know once you complete your training you're going to be stuck in a lightweight truck with far less room than most drivers in the industry get. So they're hoping the great pay will make up for it.

Other companies pay their students next to nothing but give them much nicer circumstances to train under as I had mentioned earlier. But many of those students bolt after two months for a better paying job elsewhere.

The bottom line is that nobody has ever found a true winning formula. There is always some degree of risk and suffering. Either the company pays dearly for trying to make things safer and more enjoyable for the student or the student pays dearly because the company wants to protect their profit margins. And regardless of how you do it, nobody seems to be able to recruit enough good quality trainers to do the job right.

It's a terribly difficult problem for all involved and it isn't anything that I believe will be fixed anytime soon, if ever. The companies simply aren't in a financial position to take it upon themselves to do something about it. They're doing everything they can to compete and survive. The fix is going to have to come through legislation of some sort but I just don't know if that will ever happen or not. Nothing has been done about it in 30+ years so I don't know what would motivate anyone to get it done now.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

guyjax(Guy Hodges)'s Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

Tell me about a company that pays a trainers a good living wage and allows the trainer to concentrate strictly on training and not miles plus training and I would be all over it.

The problem is the trainers are supposed to train, which means being awake during the students drive time but also supposed to turn miles for the company meanwhile only getting very little sleep cause they have to be up during the students driving time. It's a balancing act.

It leads to stressed out trainers due to lack of sleep trying to do 2 jobs. And throw in being a lease OP on top of all that. It do not make for an ideal situation.

Sam C.'s Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

Even though tnt sucks it's not bad enough to make me quit. All it does is motivate me more to get in my own truck. I've spoken to other who came in the same class as I did who say the same things. No showers, non Stop, filthy truck with trash everywhere. We've already agreed to not be that way when we get our own trucks lol. I know I'm not alone with my situation so that makes it easier to deal with. I get a weeks worth of home time this Tuesday so I can suffer a few more days of filth. I also know that I'm getting back on this truck more prepared after my home time. 1 of my biggest gripes is the fact that he refuses to stop by a Walmart so I can get groceries. Instead it's eating out everyday. I swear I burn through 150$ a week just in overpriced fast food. I've already told him I'm getting back on with groceries and a crock pot. I only have 4 to 5 weeks left on this truck, God willing, then I'm in my own. So I can suffer through that to get where I need to be. The funny part is that he keeps pitching me to stay on the truck. At first he offered a whole 16 cents per mile but after his friend offered me 900 a week minimum he said he'd give me half to stay. Funny thing about half is he doesn't know what that actually means. He said he'd give me half of his net take home. I argued that net isn't half. I understand that you can't count the truck payment into income but fml he pays 900$ a month in child support and spousal support and doesn't think that counts into earned income. Same with breakdown expenses, they shouldn't go against me when I'm not getting half of the lease completion bonus. Side note, the way it was explained to me is that unless you are overweight, over 6 foot, or running teams you Do NOT get a condo in reefer. You are stuck with a lw

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14¢ per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

Ernie S. (AKA Old Salty D's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

When I was driving for Prime (I plan on doing it again) and was training, I always made time to get showers/eat/laundry/bathroom breaks. Now, on the high value loads you have to be able to move for 200 miles minimum before you stop, that is company policy. Now if it takes you 4-6 hours because of traffic, etc, so be it. There is no way to be able to plan for all the possible delays in completing that 200 miles.

Just for the record, I was a lease op. I for one did not train just for the money, I did it because that was what I wanted to do. I spent the better part of my 20 years in the military involved in training folks to do whatever job I was doing, be it doing maintenance, firing torpedos etc.

So not all trainers are as big of jerks as some are. I know of several folks personally (Daniel B being one) that do the training for all the right reasons, not to have a second logbook to run you into the ground for the money.

So just to clear the air, when I go back to Prime (I am looking at next spring possibly) I will be going back to flatbed (if my health etc permits) and will not be training.

Sorry folks, just not looking to do that as a flatbed driver. When I was training the last time, I was running the reefer side of Prime. Most of the loads that Prime has on the flatbed side is setup to be solo runs, not team freight.

Ernie

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

I have a question. When doing the backing maneuvers you would have the tandem in the 12th hole I understand that, but during the road test my instructor slid the tandems forward to the 1st hole. Now the whole three weeks I was out there we never drove like that. Is this normal or is he setting me up for failure?

We had an argument and I brought it up with the people in charge here. They told me my best bet is to keep him as an instructor or I'd have to wait two more weeks. The thing is he can't even teach me the alley dock backing maneuver and I'm not sure what's happening. He gets frustrated after 2 attempts and sits down gets angry throws **** around etc. I haven't even worked on the other backing maneuvers and I test tomorrow. Kinda at a loss here. I've invested a month and a half worth of time on this and it's unraveling on me. Kinda gave up a good job for this and I'm trying but it looks pretty grim right now.

Hudson, your instructor sliding the tandems forward is actually setting you up for success not failure. And he's not sliding the tandems into the 1st hole because that's impossible. They don't slide that far forward, he's most likely putting it in the 4th or 5th hole. Remember, count every hole includin blocked holes.

You see, the trailer responds much faster with the tandems forward versus to the rear. Let's say you're making a right turn in the 12th hole and you hit a curb, well if the tandems were forward you probably wouldn't even get close to hitting that same curb on the same turn. It's a huge difference.

Now this is puzzling, did you seriously bring this up with the guys in charge during an argument? Very unprofessional of you, do not argue about things you simply don't know to the examiners and your instructor - that makes you look like a complete fool. You're there to learn not critique on things you think are being done wrong.

Now about him getting mad after 2 maneuvers. He's frustrated just like you are. You've sacrificed and so has he. He's frustrated that he invested all that time on you but it looks like it's not going to pay iff. You're frustrated that you've given up your job and it doesn't look like it's going to pay off.

Remember, the instructor has to stay with you until you pass your exams. Nothing is worse than staying at the terminal for a week because you're student can't pass. If he's a lease operator he will go in the hole. There are lots of things going through his head right now and he's just as frustrated as you are.

He definitely should do a better job of hiding that frustration but it doesn't look like he is. But at the same time you have to look at both sides of the coin.

Now here's what I recommend to you. Spend your entire day on the testing pad and watch people take their exam. Try to learn from them and their mistakes, afterwards go to prime east and talk to the instructors over there. Give them your story and ask for pointers.

Also, you don't have to stick around with this guy if you don't want to. There's a million trainers begging for a tnt student, you would wait 2 days maximum. If he is absolute hell to work with then ditch him for someone else. But first, focus on that exam and no more arguing!

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.

Tandems:

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".

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".

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14¢ per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

guyjax(Guy Hodges)'s Comment
member avatar

While your sleeping situation will improve once you go solo cause the truck will be stopped the relaxing time your are speaking of will not happen. Most all companies expect you to get your 10 hour rest break in and once you can drive you get moving again. Got hours available? You will be driving.

While you do get to see the country and get paid for it you rarely get to stop and smell the roses. That is just a fact of life in trucking.

Old School's Comment
member avatar
All I do now is drive and try to sleep. There is absolutely no down time to just relax. I can't wait to be off this truck and to have my own.

Sam, I felt the same way when I was with a trainer, but I've got to tell you that as soon as I had my own truck all I did was drive, and then try to sleep - the advantage of course was that the truck was still and quiet during my sleep times.

Sam C.'s Comment
member avatar

I understand that I'm not going to be lounging around. That's not really what I meant. I was meaning more along the lines of taking a shower, or watching a movie. I haven't showered in over a week because my trainer says we have no time. I get my 30 min break to eat something real quick and that's it. When my 10+ hours are up I get the pleasure of trying to sleep while being constantly bounced around. My only relief over the last couple weeks are when the receiver won't unload us early or the shipper won't load us early. I understand that my trainer is trying to make as much $ as possible while he has me on his truck but I'm only making 14 cents a mile. So while he's getting 4g for one load and 2800 for another I'm only getting about 300$.

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.

Sam C.'s Comment
member avatar

And now that we have gone over 200 miles he still doesn't want to stop because he doesn't want the food at flying js or the rest area. He wants TA that's 40 miles ahead. I have to MFing pee. I can't sleep when I have to pee and I take over driving in a few hours . Fml

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.
guyjax(Guy Hodges)'s Comment
member avatar

That's a matter of basic common sense. Not on your part but your trainers. A week without a shower? Wtf!? No way. And not stopping for bathroom breaks? Again wtf?

I know your in training but that does not mean your a slave and I know that is not Prime's policy either.

While it's OK to vent on here, I have done it a time or 100 times, it won't change unless you speak up. We are talking about basic human rights. If you have told your trainer and nothing has changed then it's time to speak with your training coordinator. While there is nothing you can do about the sleeping issue there is something that can be done about showers and bathroom breaks. That's simply unacceptable.

Joshua C.'s Comment
member avatar

Just feeling the need to vent. Team driving sucks ass. I've only been doing it for 2 weeks now, prime tnt , but this is horrible. First off I hate being stuck on night shift when I was on days the day before. It's hard enough to sleep when you are constantly being bounced around let alone when you slept the night before. Secondly, I'm tired of high vals. I've had to pee for the last 2 hours and can't my trainer can't stop yet because we still aren't 200 miles away yet. We've been driving for 5 hours but because of wonderful NYC traffic we've only gone 169 miles. Fml! Also what happened to me actually getting a break from this? All I do now is drive and try to sleep. There is absolutely no down time to just relax. I can't wait to be off this truck and to have my own.

Tnt sucks. Especially in the beginning. I drove nights too and from the day till tnt was over I'd wake up 8 times during my sleep. I got into a routine and looking back it went kind of fast. Having your own truck is night and day and you get way way more sleep. I rarely begin my clock as soon as my 10 hour break is over and I've yet to be late on a delivery. Tnt sucks man . It does get thousand times better if you hang on and get it over wi th.

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.

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14¢ per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

I agree that running team sucks. I only did it for two weeks during my initial training phase and my trainer was a super nice guy who genuinely cared that I did well and learn right. But teaming is teaming and I couldn't wait to get my own truck. Another time I did it for a week when I started with a food grade tanker company and an experienced guy at the company took me with him to teach me how to pump off loads, vent the tank, control the temperature, and things like that. Again, super nice guy and we laughed all the time. But man was I glad to get my own truck again.

The bathroom thing - you'll need to have a pee jug with you I guess. The shower thing is completely unacceptable. We have so many Prime drivers here, including trainers, that I don't want to tell you to speak with your coordinator until one of the guys chimes in from the company. But something needs to be said about that to someone. Unacceptable by any measure.

And for anyone considering leasing a truck, I'll bet a million bucks that's what we're dealing with here. The trainer is leasing the truck, he's losing his *ss, and he's trying to get caught up by training students. Nobody goes a week without showering if things are going well. You do that when you're desperate. Heck, if a bear kept chasing me for a week I'd at least run through a creek to rinse off or something! Even people being chased by bears need a shower once in a while.

Ernie S. (AKA Old Salty D's Comment
member avatar

When I was training at Prime, I always made time for showers, bathroom breaks, etc. There isn't a load out there that did not have enough time built in to be able to do all those things (tight schedule yes, but always found time). And by the way, I was a lease driver on the reefer side while I was a trainer. So what you need to do is call your trainers fleet manager first, if that doesn't get things changed then call Stan (the training program manager). I am sure Daniel or any of the other current trainers on TT can get you the number if you don't already have Stan's number.

And use this current experience as a reminder that when you are on a high value load, use the restroom before you head out to ease the need to use the restroom during that first 200 miles.

Ernie

Fleet Manager:

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

When I was training at Prime, I always made time for showers, bathroom breaks, etc. There isn't a load out there that did not have enough time built in to be able to do all those things (tight schedule yes, but always found time). And by the way, I was a lease driver on the reefer side while I was a trainer. So what you need to do is call your trainers fleet manager first, if that doesn't get things changed then call Stan (the training program manager). I am sure Daniel or any of the other current trainers on TT can get you the number if you don't already have Stan's number.

And use this current experience as a reminder that when you are on a high value load, use the restroom before you head out to ease the need to use the restroom during that first 200 miles.

Ernie

I'm pretty sure that he said he was in new York and 5 or so hours had went by. There are lots of days and times I need to go twice in 5 hours

Fleet Manager:

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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