Randy's Truck Driving School - Day 6

by rbradyjohnsen

Randy was all excited and relieved to tell me that, early in the day, he passed his backing test on the first try. He was nervous, so he did lose 2 points (could miss 12 and pass). He's been backing trailers (on and off over the years) since he was 16, but said that being trained in proper techniques has increased his confidence.

- He is spending the rest of the weekend practicing pre-trip inspections and, like most people, is very concerned about this test.

- He found out that they must all pass the quizzes they take each day with scores of 80% and up in order to be hired. And he was confused about getting the CDL by next Friday. He will go out with the Phase 1 trainer for 30 days before taking the final road test for a CDL. And he thinks he may get to come home after that, before he leaves with the Phase 2 trainer for 60 days. That would make me happy! He was also informed that students are encouraged to report a bad trainer to a safety officer.

- He's feeling kind of trapped and restless at the school and looking forward to Monday, when they will be practicing out on the roads around the city. He keeps missing the shuttle because he's always busy when it goes to Walmart (6pm-7pm).

- He hasn't figured out yet why people are still leaving the school (though not many now). He said that, during the earlier interview, if someone admitted to recently drinking 2 beers/day they were disqualified. And they can somehow tell when you're lying. Maybe that's just another one of those rumors, and they are rampant there.

- The big excitement for the day was when a cocky guy, who nicknamed himself "Super Trucker" and who stirs up trouble with students and instructors, was escorted out of a class (don't know if he left the school). Apparently this guy is not a skilled driver and spends most of his time shooting his mouth off and bossing around the newbies. Randy said that is a huge problem there right now and it's a lot like the unpleasant side of being in high school. There are too many students, not enough instructors, and the CDL holders (the jerky ones) are taking over the place 1/2 the time. He said it kind of reminded him of being on "Survivor". He also said that the troublemakers are the same people who are having both skills and safety issues during the training. Figures.

- He said the thing he misses most about home is "me making dinner". What??? Shouldn't he have just said "me"? He better be really hungry! ;) Sorry, but I do NOT miss making dinner. ;) The thing I miss most, at least right now, is just being able to sleep.

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.


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.


Hours Of Service

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

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