Trucking Company Orientation - Day Two

by TruckerMike

Today was a much better day than yesterday. Instead of just paperwork, we had some real-world stuff. First, I had to take a quick driving test. This is nothing like the CDL road test. It's just to prove to them that you aren't completely crazy and know the basics of shifting. These trucks are awesome! I haven't seen a bad looking truck yet. Even the training truck I was in was nice. Comfortable leather seats, VORAD and accident avoidance systems, all the bells and whistles, etc. When I first went to shift, I was shocked by how little play the shifter had. It's a short throw shifter compared to what I had in training. Night and day. My road test went just fine, so no problems there.

We had a class on HazMat loads and company policies regarding them. This company hauls a lot of medication, which is usually considered HazMat. Even those that don't have a HazMat endorsement are expected to know the policies since they will likely be around HazMat trucks at one point or another. There weren't any tests or anything on this, just letting us know their policies. Pretty straight forward and common sense for the most part. It was all review for me since I have my HazMat endorsement already.

Next up was a very humorous sexual harassment class. Luckily, this wasn't a typical sexual harassment course like most companies have. In my experience, most sexual harassment courses make you feel like you have to walk on broken glass all day every day. This guy was very realistic and knows we've all been through these courses before. He made it very humorous and relatively painless.

After that was a very interesting class on load security. We started off covering the basics on how to make sure a shipment is properly loaded. But that wasn't the interesting part. We also covered a topic on high value loads. They had a load last year that was worth 35 million dollars. The company I work for frequently hauls medication in large quantities. These loads can easily eclipse the million dollar mark. I won't get into specifics on the company policies regarding these loads for obvious reasons, but I must say it was extremely interesting. And when you get this type of load, they know where you are and what you're doing at all times. It's taken very seriously, as you would expect. If you ever have the urge to steal a load off of a truck, you better think twice about it. They have some pretty sneaky tricks up their sleeve!

The rest of the day was spent talking about cargo claims, logbooks, safety issues, driving safely, and ways to take advantage of taxes and tax write-offs while out on the road. All of my classes, even the ones that sound boring, were actually quite interesting and the people running the classes did a good job of keeping some humor about it. They understand sitting all day listening to lectures isn't the most fun thing in the world, so they did a great job keeping it at least a little fun.

Tomorrow will be my final day of orientation! Should be on the road soon!

Until next time, drive safely.



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.


Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations


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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