U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Work and Employment
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 1.5 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
Jump to a detailed profile or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Business Search - 14 Million verified businesses
Search for:  near: 
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 03-01-2009, 06:43 AM
 
681 posts, read 1,748,840 times
Reputation: 504
Default TRUCK DRIVERS: talk about truck driving!

For about seven years, off and on, I've thought it'd be cool to be a truck driver. I've always driven huge vehicles, though naturally none come close to the size of a big rig. I've taken many road trips and in almost 12 years of having a driver's license I've racked up over 300,000 miles on the road without having an at-fault accident or getting points on my license. I can cover 800 miles in a day easily, and the most I've ever done in one day (between "sleeps") is 1,141 miles.

I'm in excellent physical condition and I think I'd make a good truck driver but there's one proviso... I'd want my wife to be able to ride along with me even if she didn't get her own CDL so she could drive.

I know next to nothing about this. Truck drivers... tell me what you do what what are the good/bad points of it! (And please, don't say "I drive a truck". Tell me if you do OTR, long haul, short haul, local only, shift work, etc.)
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 03-01-2009, 09:51 AM
 
781 posts, read 2,556,486 times
Reputation: 378
Default Residential garbage truck driver


YouTube - Curotto Can Automated Truck
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hY-RD2KrZfU&feature=related


YouTube - Garbage Truck Man - A Day in the Life

It's a physical job somedays. Somedays it's easy. Rain..sleet...snow...sunny your working. The industry is moving forward automated cart pick up. When that happen age want be a factor. Plus it save the company money,you can get more work done with less people. Garbage collections is different across the country. Some are union and some aren't. Some have 1 driver per truck and some have as many as 3 drivers per truck.Their are stages for drive garbage trucks. You have resi drivers,then move up to commercial or roll-off. Then you have Transfer drivers which line haul garbage to landfills. The pay is different across the country. The south usually pays half of what the north pays.

The good for me is I like working outside and the bennies that goes with the job. The freedom of working by myself.

The bad is working in Ice storms or working when the temp is -20 degrees. There only about 6 or 7 days of those bad days total to worry about.



If I'm not mistaken your wife can not drive a company commercial vehicle without A CDL. You both can drive as a team,which would require her to get a CDL. If you own your own truck,its still a bad idea for her to drive a commercial vehicle without license.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-02-2009, 08:27 AM
 
6,351 posts, read 13,026,577 times
Reputation: 9682
NWPAguy, please do a search for City-Data "Truck driving" threads; there are several with some really good info and it will keep us from having to reguritate the same info AGAIN. Short answer: If you want to drive over-the-road, you will have to attend a certified truck driver training program (community colleges and other public programs are a LOT cheaper than the for-profit schools and the training is just as good). Truck driving jobs for beginners are a LOT harder to get now that the economy is slower (less trucks on the road and a surplus of experienced drivers) IT IS possible, though... Consider driving locally, as well.

A few observations:

- Your wife can get her CDL and you can drive as a team. Many companies especially like teams (U.S. Xpress is one of them) If she doesn't want to drive, many carriers will let you have a passenger (and a pet!) Some carriers make you pay extra, some don't.

- I've driven for the same truckload carrier all of my 13 years as a driver. I truly love the job. But I can think of few occupations more demanding. Trucking is DAMN hard work and steering the rig is only a small part of it...

- If you live near one, spend some time at a truck stop and talk to as many drivers as you can from as many different companies as you can. Pick up some of the freeebie trucking magazines (usually found at the trucker's entrance or near the shop or driver's lounge). Look at the advertisers' websites and call their toll-free numbers.

If you're serious about trucking; join the Owner Operator-Independent Drivers Association. (OOIDA) OOIDA is an outstanding organization that fights for driver's rights and provides lots of info and other benefits to all CDL holders. www.ooida.com

Best of luck!

Last edited by Crew Chief; 03-03-2009 at 10:54 AM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-03-2009, 06:37 AM
 
681 posts, read 1,748,840 times
Reputation: 504
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crew Chief View Post
NWPAguy, please do a search for City-Data "Truck driving" threads; there are several with some really good info and it will keep us from having to reguritate the same info AGAIN. Short answer: If you want to drive over-the-road, you will have to attend a certified truck driver training program (community colleges and other public programs are a LOT cheaper than the for-profit schools and the training is just as good). Truck driving jobs for beginners are a LOT harder to get now that the economy is slower (less trucks on the road and a surplus of experienced drivers) IT IS possible, though... Consider driving locally, as well.
I tried that and after two searches, I didn't see anything really golden. I figure that if it doesn't come up on the first page of search results, how can it be golden? If you can link me to other threads about truck driving, go ahead.

A few observations:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crew Chief View Post
- Your wife can get her CDL and you can drive as a team. Many companies especially like teams (U.S. Xpress is one of them) If she doesn't want to drive, many carriers will let you have a passenger (and a pet!) Some carriers make you pay extra, some don't.
That's the thing with me... I don't know if my wife would want to get her CDL... we'd talked about team truck-driving before, as a way to make our money without having to be apart from each other and also do some road-tripping in there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crew Chief View Post
- I've driven for the same truckload carrier all of my 13 years as a driver. I truly love the job. But I can think of few occupations more demanding. Trucking is DAMN hard work and steering the rig is only a samll part of it...
What do you mean by the work being so hard? I don't mind hard work. I also don't mind physical work, as that'd keep me in shape without me having to do what so many Americans do... work a job which is minimally physically demanding and then go to the gym later.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crew Chief View Post
- If you live near one, spend some time at a truck stop and talk to as many drivers as you can from as many different companies as you can. Pick up some of the freeebie trucking magazines (usually found at the trucker's entrance or near the shop or driver's lounge). Look at the advertisers' websites and call their toll-free numbers.
I've read through some of those freebie magazines and it seems like lots of drivers love what they do. For now it seems like the only thing that'd really suck about driving a big rig is when you're being paid by the mile and you get stuck in bad weather or a traffic jam. As far as I know, DOT regulations prevent people from driving for more than 10-11 hours per day, meaning that at an average speed of 65 mph, they'd cover somewhere around 700 miles per day. I've driven 19 hours in a day before. It seems as though I could handle the driving part. It also seems pretty nice to be able to work alone, at least when you're on the road.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crew Chief View Post
If you're serious about trucking; join the Owner Operator-Independent Drivers Association. (OOIDA) OOIDA is an outstanding organization that fights for driver's rights and provides lots of info and other benefits to all CDL holders. www.ooida.com

Best of luck!
I wouldn't know if I was serious. Right now I'm not. I'm just doing some fact-finding and opinion-gathering. As far as being an OO, isn't that a position likely to have trouble once diesel prices go up again? I was hearing stuff all over the news about OOs and other independent drivers having to give up driving because diesel prices were cutting so far into their profit that they weren't making any money anymore... and they couldn't raise their rates because then they wouldn't be able to compete with the huge trucking firms.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-03-2009, 11:28 AM
 
6,351 posts, read 13,026,577 times
Reputation: 9682
Quote:
Originally Posted by NWPAguy View Post
I tried that and after two searches, I didn't see anything really golden. I figure that if it doesn't come up on the first page of search results, how can it be golden? If you can link me to other threads about truck driving, go ahead.

NWPAguy; I have NO idea what you want out of a trucking career!!! Do you want to run all 48 states? Canada? Do you want to pull a van? Reefer? Flatbed? How often do you want to be home? At this point, we're looking for a needle in a haystack...
A few observations:



That's the thing with me... I don't know if my wife would want to get her CDL... we'd talked about team truck-driving before, as a way to make our money without having to be apart from each other and also do some road-tripping in there. Many couples do well team-driving. Many get divorced afterwards. Can you live with your spouse in a small box with bunks and a small closet? Would you be willing to alternately run so hard that you pass each other on the way in & out of the sleeper. The sit in that same sleeper over a three-day weekend where you've made little or no money??? Talk to some team drivers to get an idea what that's like! Road-tripping? Yep, you'll get to drive right past the sign for the tourist attraction. That sign will be right above the one that says "NO TRUCK PARKING". Besides, you'll be too busy delivering freight, anyway...



What do you mean by the work being so hard? I don't mind hard work. I also don't mind physical work, as that'd keep me in shape without me having to do what so many Americans do... work a job which is minimally physically demanding and then go to the gym later. If you drive for a truckload carrier, you will eat-sleep-drive-repeat when there is freight. You will sit in your sleeper next to the satellite receiver, making little or no money and having LOTS of time to think & worry when there are no loads available. Trucking is not a 9-5 job; you might spend all day getting loaded (with little or no chance to rest) then they want you to run the load 650 miles and deliver by 7 a.m. the next day. Sleep mostly comes on the customer's schedule. Dealing with customers, dispatch, law enforcement, other drivers can be a real challenge. Picking up a HAZMAT load in Indy and delivering it to Philadelphia safely and legally! (Nope; driving the direct route is not the way...) Spend 11 hours getting your whole body pummeled by roads that are long overdue maintenance. "That'll be a $158 fine for your headlight being out, driver". "Is that bridge REALLY 13' 5"??? Driver, you're 15 minutes late; we're rescheduling you for tomorrow. A GYM??? Good luck getting your truck anywhere near one!!!



I've read through some of those freebie magazines and it seems like lots of drivers love what they do. For now it seems like the only thing that'd really suck about driving a big rig is when you're being paid by the mile and you get stuck in bad weather or a traffic jam. As far as I know, DOT regulations prevent people from driving for more than 10-11 hours per day, meaning that at an average speed of 65 mph, they'd cover somewhere around 700 miles per day. I've driven 19 hours in a day before. It seems as though I could handle the driving part. It also seems pretty nice to be able to work alone, at least when you're on the road.

Many of us LOVE what we do; I certanily do. Forgive me, but I've seen far too many people that get into trucking with very little idea of what they are getting into. Please don't think I sound like an A**bag; I just want you to understand some of the realities. You'll find that if you talk to 5 different truckers, you'll get 25 different opinions! Yes, there are federal Hours of Service regulations. But days where you drive "65 mph and cover somewhere around 700 miles per day" are far and few between. In fact, many states in the Eastern U.S. limit trucks to 55 mph and the traffic prevents even that, at times. Plus, waiting for dispatch, waiting to get loaded, waiting to get unloaded, waiting for maintenance, etc. costs most drivers 35+ hours a week of UNPAID labor! There is plenty of information out there, but YOU have to do the legwork to get it...



I wouldn't know if I was serious. Right now I'm not. I'm just doing some fact-finding and opinion-gathering. As far as being an OO, isn't that a position likely to have trouble once diesel prices go up again? I was hearing stuff all over the news about OOs and other independent drivers having to give up driving because diesel prices were cutting so far into their profit that they weren't making any money anymore... and they couldn't raise their rates because then they wouldn't be able to compete with the huge trucking firms.
DO NOT EVEN CONSIDER OWNING YOUR OWN TRUCK UNTIL YOU HAVE A GOOD IDEA OF WHAT YOU ARE DOING IN THE TRUCKING INDUSTRY!!! I'm sorry for shouting but the trucking industry is full of people who became owner/operators with no real idea of how to run a business or what they were doing with their truck. Many of them went bankrupt and will be competing with you for fewer available jobs and THEY already have lots of driving experience....food for thought.


NWPAguy, I hope you think I'm coming off as a jerk, because I am! I'm trying to give you a reality check so that you don't approach trucking with rose-colored glasses. Now, having said that, I've also had some WONDERFUL experiences. As well as met some of the finest people you'll ever hope to meet. There really isn't anything quite like driving along looking at the scenery. You'll have some INCREDIBLE adventures... Best of luck!

Last edited by Crew Chief; 03-03-2009 at 11:46 AM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-03-2009, 10:44 PM
 
365 posts, read 594,596 times
Reputation: 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by NWPAguy View Post
For about seven years, off and on, I've thought it'd be cool to be a truck driver. I've always driven huge vehicles, though naturally none come close to the size of a big rig. I've taken many road trips and in almost 12 years of having a driver's license I've racked up over 300,000 miles on the road without having an at-fault accident or getting points on my license. I can cover 800 miles in a day easily, and the most I've ever done in one day (between "sleeps") is 1,141 miles.

I'm in excellent physical condition and I think I'd make a good truck driver but there's one proviso... I'd want my wife to be able to ride along with me even if she didn't get her own CDL so she could drive.

I know next to nothing about this. Truck drivers... tell me what you do what what are the good/bad points of it! (And please, don't say "I drive a truck". Tell me if you do OTR, long haul, short haul, local only, shift work, etc.)

I got my cdl and drove teams with my husband for 3 years. I'd still be out there today but I got spooked about 2 months ago. I just got tired of being chased by tornadoes and the last one almost blew us over. I was out of the truck after that. Aside from that, I absolutely loved driving. My husband and I got along great and that is a very big requirement. it is a small living space inside that truck and if you don't get along or argue a lot, it won't work. you can only slam that curtain so hard, and it isn't like you can get away from each other. that being said, there are lots of couple's out there driving and the couple's my husband and I ran into loved the life as well.
The pay is great (when the freight is there) and you get paid to tour the country. We saw places we'd never have been able to see otherwise.
You can go to truck driving school. Swift Transportation trains drivers. Schneider does as well but you may want to double check on that because I've heard they just suspended their driving school due to the economy. Werner, I believe trains, as does Covenent Transportation. there are several private schools out there but if you go with one of these companies, they will train you and it cost practically nothing and some will even reimburse you if you stay with them for at least a year or two...each varies.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-03-2009, 10:59 PM
 
365 posts, read 594,596 times
Reputation: 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crew Chief View Post
DO NOT EVEN CONSIDER OWNING YOUR OWN TRUCK UNTIL YOU HAVE A GOOD IDEA OF WHAT YOU ARE DOING IN THE TRUCKING INDUSTRY!!! I'm sorry for shouting but the trucking industry is full of people who became owner/operators with no real idea of how to run a business or what they were doing with their truck. Many of them went bankrupt and will be competing with you for fewer available jobs and THEY already have lots of driving experience....food for thought.


NWPAguy, I hope you think I'm coming off as a jerk, because I am! I'm trying to give you a reality check so that you don't approach trucking with rose-colored glasses. Now, having said that, I've also had some WONDERFUL experiences. As well as met some of the finest people you'll ever hope to meet. There really isn't anything quite like driving along looking at the scenery. You'll have some INCREDIBLE adventures... Best of luck!
You're not really being a jerk. What you're saying is dead on right! Yes, I absolutely loved my job and we lease our truck. it wasn't a bad thing for me to get out of the truck. with freight the way it's been, we were getting solo runs and went from 6000-7000 miles a week to less than 4000. My husband is training now and he is lucky to get 3000 miles because unlike some trainers out there who are just looking for miles, my husband actually takes the time to TRAIN. He just got a student who was 3 days from testing out. his trainer got sick. this student didn't even know how to use the qualcom. didn't know how to check tire pressure or slide the tandems. can you imagine this poor guy on his own? he is learning all this now and he's NOT testing out until my husband tells him he's ready.
That being said, being a driver is not just driving. that's the easy part. You have to know how to log, read a map, follow directions, keep your truck in good repair, go through weigh stations (omg...i got stories on my first experiences with that). You have to be able to drive up and down steep mountain grades without losing control of your vehicle. You have to drive in all types of weather and in all kinds of traffic. it's NOT an easy job. You are bound by local, state and federal regulations and you are expected to know all of the laws. You have to spend weeks out on the road and forget spending time and holidays with your family. The only holiday our company guarantees hometime is Christmas and if there isn't freight, you're not getting there. The pay is great, but only if you are single, or your kids are grown up. It's a cut throat business and very competitive. Turn over rates on drivers is high because someone heard about the money. that's all these people hear. there is no such thing as a shift. it's a 24 hour business and the dispatcher will laugh at you if you tell them you don't drive nights. it's all about getting the load there ontime. Again, it can be a great life and a great experience but it's better to find out now whether you think you can handle it.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-03-2009, 11:25 PM
 
365 posts, read 594,596 times
Reputation: 164
oh, and when i said we got to tour the country? I meant we got to see the country from the ROAD. Many attractions have no room for big rigs and the big parking lots that do have no truck parking signs plastered all over the place. They WILL tow you if you park where you don't belong and to tow a truck at a minimum is $800. I said there is big money to be had, but there are plenty out there wanting to take it from you. log violations, blowing off a weigh station ($1500 fine...I don't recommend it) the truck stops...a meal is $10-13 per person per meal. Oh, trucking companies don't like their drivers to idle so if you are in hot or cold weather, and you idle more than a certain percentage..you won't be with them long. make sure you have a warm sleeping bag. make sure you put money aside for a rainy day because there will be times when you will be sitting for days at a time. you get paid by the mile. not the hour. some companies pay layover but if you own or lease the truck, you don't get layover. still have to make the truck payment. you want to be an owner operator? those tires are over $200 a piece. we paid over $5000 to install a power inverter to run microwave, etc so we could eat in the truck, get fog lights put in, and have a fridge installed. our routine maint costs almost $300 every 20,000 miles. if you stay in a hotel, it's a tax write off but that can still add up. everything costs money. do NOT consider being an owner operator until you can afford to, save up the money to make a good downpayment and you have enough experience to drive the rig safely. always remember that you are always an accident away from losing your job because if you roll that truck..and live to talk about it, you've lost your job. if you have to use that runaway truck ramp...you've lost your job and the fine is steep for having to use it. just more food for thought
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-04-2009, 08:12 AM
 
6,351 posts, read 13,026,577 times
Reputation: 9682
GREAT posts, Ladihawkae! I sure wish more of the masses that think trucking is a paid vacation would read this thread!!! Yep, there's a MILLION different stories out here on the Big Road. And if you have the right personality and mindset, trucking is the best job in the world! I've always believed that being honest with potential recruits would be better for trucking companies; they might have plenty of applicants walk away, but the ones that stay would be far better drivers and more likely to stay.

Favorite "customer directions" stories:

- Called the customer in NJ for directions. Guy on the other end says: "I dunno. I take the bus to work".

- Picked up beauty aids in L.A. for delivery in the Bay Area the next a.m. Young woman at the consignee was helpful: "Take the 101 North to CA 85 and go West..." As I approached CA 85 the next morning, the large white sign said: "NO TRUCKS"...

- Speaking of Joisey, my undeveloped ears didn't understand that it's "Route 1 AND 9", not "Route 109" the first time I heard it...

- One of our customers, a large paper company, has a mill deep in the hills of SW VA. Only ONE legal truck route in. Almost to the town where the mill is on this route is a height sign on a railroad bridge: 13' 5"! You can get your 13' 6" truck under it if you drive in the center of the road...

For the moment, many of the large truckload carriers are suspending driver training courses; Schneider, in fact, did recently. The Chattanooga-based carrier with the red trucks that misspells "express" () stopped training last year but will hire from certified schools.

The "CLOSED" sign at weigh stations means: "Could've Loaded On Some Extra Deliveries... (As a newbie, I went thru the scales on I-24 in TN. 2200# over on my tandems; tuition to the "School of Tandem Axle Adjustment" (STAA!) was $223...)

Last edited by Crew Chief; 03-04-2009 at 08:30 AM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-04-2009, 11:00 AM
 
365 posts, read 594,596 times
Reputation: 164
well, i was spoiled. my husband trained me and so all i really had to do was drive. i did the paperwork, and he did the rest. at least he taught me how to do the stuff on the outside of the truck, but i rarely backed. i didn't have to slide the tandems, but i was in the driver seat helping him adjust them..2 is better but when you're solo, you don't have that option. i knew how to open the trailer doors (my sister and brother in law drive teams and she got stopped at the california ag station and they told her to open the doors so they could look for fire ants...she told the guy she had to wake hubby up because she didn't know how to open the doors. i teased her over that.
I had two mishaps at the weigh station. i wasn't overweight, but after driving the main interstates and driving 30 mph so when i went through the weigh station in oregon on hwy 84? i misread that speed limit of 3 mph for 30! doh! ya that was a yuck yuck. had to stop. back up. try again...slowly...park and bring in paperwork. i was brand new. about my second week. he asked me for oregon permit...i looked at him confused and he took my permit book and then asked for my license. he said it was obvious i was new so was just going to give me a warning and to make sure to get a permit before leaving. I looked at him even more confused and asked if there wasn't a permit...he opened the permit book and showed me where the oregon permit SHOULD have been...it said..please call permits department at least one hour prior to entry...the look on my face must have been priceless and when i asked him why they would waste paper to do that, he lost it. he was laughing so hard when i left.
the second was in colorado or utah. i can't remember but it's on old highway 666. there is one scale and is shared by both lanes...never HEARD of that. the weighmaster told me to leave before i caused an accident.
downgrades? in the beginning, i was notorious for parking and telling hubby to watch that first step...it's a doozy.
What's your favorite stretch of road? i have several. love driving in the northwest...in the summer... and i'd have to say i loved driving through kansas until that tornado. it wasn't that i got spooked by just one tornado. last year, we were outside greensburg ks when that tornado hit and wiped out the town. i saw something go across the sky and there were no warnings on the weatherband. luckily i saw a rest area just then and pulled in. by the time i pulled back out half an hour or so later the road was closed 5 minutes up the road and we were told a tornado just took out the town. a year later, the same stretch of road..high winds and they said there was a tornado watch and all i know was trucks were being blown over. i pulled over and that cab rocked so hard...scared me to death.
they give warnings for counties and thats a pet peeve of mine. if you're not from the area, you don't know WHAT county you're in!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:


Over $84,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Work and Employment
Similar Threads

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2014, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 - Top