My First Day Of Orientation

by JakeCat22

Today was my first day of company orientation. I was nervous, which is to be expected, because I had no idea what to expect. I took the shuttle bus from the hotel to the operating center, and arrived about 20 mins before orientation was to start. The meal situation was quickly solved when we were told we could eat breakfast at the oc because our hotel didn't serve it that early. We have 15 people in our orientation, and speaking with most of them, we are all from the mid west, and all of us are new, or fairly new drivers.


The first part of the morning was nothing but paperwork. Most of the usual paperwork you would fill out when starting a new job. Now, I knew from my research, and from talking to people, that an invitation to orientation does NOT mean you have a job. That is one of the first things the instructor told us, to treat this week like it's a week long job interview. Apparently, some were under the impression they were already employees of the company, and were a little miffed at what the instructor had told them.

After we were done with our paperwork, we jumped right into logbooks. How they should be filled out, and how my company wants them filled out. Even though the company runs electronic logs , they require all drivers to back them up with paper logs. I was taught how to do logs in cdl school, but this company does them a little different. All in all, it is basically the same. After logbooks it was time for lunch, in the oc cafeteria. Can't complain, the food was pretty good, there was enough of it, and best of all, it was free!!! After lunch we jumped into map reading. Now this portion of training was pretty easy for me. I think my army background made it easy to pick up. We did a lot of exercises finding the distance between cities and what routes to take.

We had our first "check for learning" on logs and hours of service. It was a test, but they call them "checks for learning" because some people get nervous when they hear the word test or quiz. We are required to get an 80% or above to pass, and nobody failed, which is great! We were also given homework, a 49 question test on the FMCSA. Tomorrow is our physical assessment test. Other than that I don't know what is in store for tomorrow.

The instructor is a really nice guy, and seems very interested in teaching us what we need to know to be successful. He is also very, very patient with students when they don't pick up on something right away. One thing I will, safety, safety. That is the theme of the week. The instructor wore out his voice telling us how much safety is not just a word on the screen with the company, but it is the #1 most important thing. I had read that and heard that from many people, and it's nice to know it is true.

Well, time to finish my homework and get to sleep! Until next time.


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.


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.

Electronic Logs:

Electronic Onboard Recorder

Electronic Logbook

A device which records the amount of time a vehicle has been driven. If the vehicle is not being driven, the operator will manually input whether or not he/she is on duty or not.


Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle


Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The FMCSA was established within the Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000. Their primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.

What Does The FMCSA Do?

  • Commercial Drivers' Licenses
  • Data and Analysis
  • Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement
  • Research and Technology
  • Safety Assistance
  • Support and Information Sharing


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.
by Brett Aquila

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