Randy's Truck Driving School - Day 5

by rbradyjohnsen


There was an accident at the truck driving school today!

Oh, I can't believe my husband's been gone less than a week, it feels like a month! Usually time goes by so quickly but now it's just dragging, even though I've been ridiculously busy.

It makes me sad when I talk to him lately, he's not himself at all. He seems disinterested in what I say sometimes, he's always preoccupied and distracted. I suppose he's just focused like a laser-beam on the intense CDL training. I know he has to be, or he'd be lost. And he did apologize for being so hyper and cutting some of our calls short, and I understand. But I also miss him terribly (the "regular" him) and I'll be glad when the trucking school part of this is over with.

He only called me twice today. He was going to call again but, when I called him, he said he forgot! How could he forget? Talking to him is the highlight of my day and I sit on the edge of my seat waiting for my phone to ring (actually, it plays a Black Sabbath song).

I also got upset when he said it felt like he was partly on vacation...nice. That annoys me because I NEED a vacation. Made me feel like shopping (but I fought that urge and did not). On the other hand, he did say that his room feels like a modified jail cell, complete with steel beds. I'm glad he's suffering. ;) Just kidding.

- He never did get a tour of the place, and is still discovering new stuff in bldg. He missed his first business call at home today, but it was only a small job we lost.

- He says he probably didn't need quite as many socks/underwear (my bad). Well, if he's not changing them that often, then I'm glad that I'm here and he's there! ;)

- Between 1/3 to 1/2 of his original CDL class are gone, with more leaving every day (he lost track). But I found out something very interesting: He was told that they do not charge you any tuition if you drop out or are sent packing during the school part of this, only once you get a CDL and go out with the trainer. I hope that's true, it only seems fair.

- He was offered a flexible, accelerated program, for those who already have some truck driving experience, and he could have gone out with a trainer already today. But he decided that he wants to stay with the "regular" class, and learn as much as he can at a slower pace, even though he said he's bored some of the time.

- They take practice CDL tests every day, they are still practicing backing and pre-trip inspections, and will do more backing and parallel parking tomorrow.

- The very few who are still failing their CDL permit tests are being held back for more training, and will be delayed a week behind everyone else (but at least they didn't send them home).

- Some of his school mates are a draftsman from California, an EMT from New Mexico, and someone all the way from Hawaii.

- He claims he hasn't been eating much and says he's only spent around $50 so far...we'll see when I check the balance online. J

- Apparently the DOT comes to the school and gives some of the tests separately (pre-trip inspection, backing, etc. and they have 2 or 3 chances to pass). That seems like cheating to me. Then they are supposed to go out on the road to practice next week and get their CDL's by Friday. I am shaking my head here because he keeps telling me about all the people who are completely uncomfortable in those trucks and have no idea what they're doing yet. They won't be ready to pass a test in only a week, and they shouldn't be! He said they delay it for some people. Still shaking my head...

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.


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.


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.


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.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
by Brett Aquila

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