Wayne Cragg was a driver for USA Truck during 2012-2013. Below are his thoughts and experiences driving for the company during that time. The views and opinions expressed below are his and not representative of those of Driver Solutions.
In April of 2015, Driver Solutions and USA Truck mutually agreed to dissolve their partnership. Driver Solutions remains committed to helping new drivers find the best truck driving job and CDL training opportunities available. Learn more about our company-sponsored CDL training program here.
Lester Barber from Driver Solutions Facebook page asks: Wayne, how long do you go with the trainer OTR? I am trying to get money for everything so I can go to school then start driving with PAM Transport.
Thank you for the question! OTR training truly varies from student to student and company to company (I'm with USA Truck). At USA Truck, you need to get at least 175 hours of drive time between your phase 1 trainer and your phase 2 (team) trainer. Now with that being said, any one of those 2 trainers can hold you back for more than the 175 hours if any of them feel you need extra time behind the wheel with a trainer. I stress, if this happens to you, please don't take out your frustrations on the trainer. The trainer has such a hard job training a new student every 2 or 3 weeks and if he/she feels like you need more time, embrace it and work on what the trainer is asking you to improve on.
I spent 2 weeks with a great trainer Randy! He taught me so much in 2 weeks. A great guy to ride with and he had so much great knowledge of OTR trucking I asked him a million questions. My phase 2 training was quite a bit longer. I could have finished up right around the week before Thanksgiving and they gave me the option to sit in a hotel room for almost a week waiting for my upgrade instructors to get back from the long holiday weekend or stay out with my trainer. We were running a load from Columbus, Ohio to New Jersey (right after Hurricane Sandy) 6 days a week...over a 1,000 miles every day! Non stop, except to get diesel, eat and shower of course. I thought, why would I sit in a hotel room for a week when I could gain all that valuable drive time and also help the trainer out as well? He wouldn't have been able to run the miles as there weren't any new students coming until after the holidays. I chose to drive and I'm super happy I made that decision. I learned the very valuable lessons of pre-trip inspections on that last week.
We were heading to New Jersey. I had done my 11 hours driving and the trainer was getting ready to roll so we stopped at a rest area to switch drivers. We could have easily just switched seats and kept rolling, but he didn't do things that way...which proved to be a good thing! He did a complete pre-trip and found one of our trailer tires going flat. We called to get it fixed and we were on our way in no time flat. I can't stress the importance of a good pre-trip inspection.
I hope you can get everything together to start CDL training soon. Reach out to Driver Solutions! They can help you with all the details - that's what they do best!
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