Need Advice For Gaining Experience

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Diesel Diva Kimi's Comment
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I completed an accredited driving school in March and have my Class A CDL. I was hired with a company and attended their orientation. After 4 weeks with a trainer I passed my upgrade to drive on my own. I had trained and was hired to drive OTR. I was put into heavy haul equipment "short term" as my company said they did not have any regular trucks available. In the first week I had two incidents both involving being unable to swing my trailer wide enough to avoid hitting something with my rear trailer tires. Neither incident was DOT reportable. I was then brought in for additional training with someone on heavy haul equipment. I was then put in a regular OTR truck. A month later I had a third incident of clipping the corner of a chain link fence. Unlit area, I admit I just did not see that I was close to the fence as I was making my turn. Again, no ticket issued, not DOT reportable. The company waited three more weeks letting me drive for them. After letting me take 3 days for home time, they brought me in and fired me.

I now face the following dilemma... I was told by a couple companies that I can apply with them after 6 months of "safe" driving. But how can I get that if no one will hire me? I know that my incidents were due to complete lack of experience. All loads I was assigned arrived on time/early. No cargo damage. But that does not seem to matter. I quit my former career and sunk everything I have into this new career. I am not wanting to give up on it.

Advice would be greatly appreciated!


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.


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.


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.


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.


Operating While Intoxicated

Errol V.'s Comment
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Kimberly, you have all the paperwork to drive a legally semi on public roads. For the short term, check local ads, yes, wade though Craigslist, and find a local driving position. That will keep you driving for the next 6 months. (BTW, maybe you'll find "your" job there!)

Now,as for your li'l accidents. Guess who was driving the truck on each incident? That's all that matters for the company. If it's a ding on your record, it's a ding on your record.

PS: I'm sending you a PM. If you don't see it in your in-box, you might need to check your spam folder for mail from ErrolV.

Diesel Diva Kimi's Comment
member avatar

I do understand that I was driving. I am trying to constructively figure out how to find a position that will allow me to gain the experience I need. I have applied to several companies and most of them have told me they won't hire me without experience.

Gladiator 76's Comment
member avatar

Errol is right. Try to get on with a small company and gain some experience. I recommend going in in person, so you can try to establish a rapport with them and sell yourself. Ask for a driving test. If you can get the driving test you've got a good chance to land the job. Good luck.

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