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Veterans Find Trucking as a New Career

 

As Veteran’s Day approaches, Diesel Driving Academy wants to express support for all the men and women in uniform who choose to serve and protect our country. The trucking industry has always had a healthy relationship with the military and is a great career option for veterans. Whether you are a veteran with experience driving military vehicles, or looking for start a stable career, your military skills will transfer well to the trucking industry. DDA is proud to help veterans start on an exciting career path!

Veterans and Truck Driving

Veterans have proven they understand discipline, responsibility, and accountability. Trucking companies are looking for people who have this type of experience. Veterans possess these traits, and understand how critical teamwork and organizational skills are to completing any job or mission.

The same attention to detail and situational awareness that military service instills is crucial to safe driving. Recognizing what is happening around you and being able to adapt and adjust to changes in the environment are skills veterans have. This sets them apart from civilians, and make them perfect candidates for the trucking industry.

Veteran’s Benefits

The trucking industry offers veterans an opportunity to use their skills to enter a career field that provides long-term security. Today’s economy depends on drivers to move freight and products to fill consumer needs. As demand increases, so will the need for qualified drivers. With a median annual wage in 2016 of $41,340, the trucking industry offers a stable career with excellent earning potential.

A career in trucking offers the opportunity in an exciting, respectable, and well-paying field and DDA will make it easy. Former military personnel are eligible for tuition assistance, so training is not only quick, but affordable.

All of those at Diesel Driving Academy would be honored to talk with you about helping you to achieve your career goals. Contact us today to learn more about our Class A CDL Training!

Getting a Commercial Driver’s License: Why Your Health Matters

 

For some, the DOT Physical Exam could be the easiest part of the process for obtaining a CDL. A quick check-up and you’re on your way to becoming a truck driver. For others, however, we understand that this is the most nerve-wracking part, especially those with certain medical conditions or who take certain medications.

The truth is, if you have a medical condition it may interfere with your ability to drive. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has a list of ailments that disqualify applicants from commercial driving. For many of these, this applies to instances where the disease is of sufficient severity that it would likely interfere with the driver’s ability to operate a commercial motor vehicle safely.

Disqualifying Conditions according to FMCSA:

  • Diabetes mellitus, requiring insulin to control
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Angina
  • Coronary insufficiency
  • Thrombosis or other cardiovascular diseases that are known to be accompanied by syncope, dyspnea, collapse, or congestive cardiac failure
  • Respiratory dysfunction
  • High blood pressure
  • Rheumatoid arthritis, orthopedic, muscular, neuromuscular, or vascular disease
  • Epilepsy, or any other condition which is likely to cause loss of consciousness or any loss of ability to control a motor vehicle
  • Mental, nervous, organic, or functional disease or psychiatric disorder
  • Visual acuity that allows them to hear at least 20/40 in each eye (either with or without corrective lenses)
  • Hearing that allows them to perceive a forced whisper at 5 feet (with or without the user of a hearing device)

Understanding these Stipulations:

These rules are in place as a safety precaution. These illnesses can compromise the driver’s ability to operate their vehicle safely, which creates a potentially dangerous situation on the road. Allowing a driver behind-the-wheel of a vehicle while having one of those conditions can lead to fatal consequences.

Those aren’t the only conditions that disqualify drivers. The loss of a limb or loss of or impairment of fingers would prevent gripping or otherwise would interfere with the ability to control their vehicle could also lead a driver being deemed unable to obtain a CDL.

However, in cases of physical impairment, much like with vision or hearing impairments, if the candidate can perform the tasks associated with driving a commercial vehicle with the use of a prosthetic, brace, or a similar device, they may be allowed to drive. Someone who has been granted a Skill Performance Evaluation (SPE) Certificate (which was formerly called the Limb Waiver Program) is also typically allowed to drive.

Drugs and Medications

As you can imagine, the government tends to take a negative view of truck drivers under the influence of drugs and heavy medications as well. The FMCSA specifies that a driver who is using a drug identified in 21 CFR 1308.11 (391.42(b)(12)) (which is to say substances identified as controlled) or substances such as amphetamine, a narcotic, or another habit-forming drug, the driver should be deemed medically unqualified to drive. Exceptions can be made if the prescribing doctor can write that the driver is safe to be a commercial driver while taking the medication. The medical examiner then may (but is not compelled to) certify the driver. In addition, anti-seizure medications and methadone are both disqualifying medications as well.

Overall, the government strives to take a position of caution when it comes to allowing truck drivers to operate. In the unsteady hands of someone under the influence of medication, drugs or alcohol, or someone with a severe medical condition. A truck driven by someone medically unqualified could turn from a tool of commercial production and become a weapon of destruction.

If you are interested in becoming a truck driver, but unsure if you are medically qualified, contact Diesel Driving Academy. Our Admissions team would love to discuss with you about your options and your next steps to begin a trucking career.

5 Reasons Why You Should Become a Truck Driver

 

image linking to blog titled 5 Reasons You Should Become a Truck DriverDriving a truck is a big job – and someone has to do it. Why can’t that someone be you? The demand for truck drivers is high and continues to grow. Now is as great a time as any to seriously consider this career move. Think this might be the right industry for you? Wondering why should you get your CDL and become a truck driver? Here are our top 5 reasons why this might be the perfect career for you!

1. You want to get paid well.

Let’s face it, we all need a steady paycheck to survive. It’s even better if you have money left over to spend on family or hobbies. If you’re currently working but making less than you should be, consider a career in the trucking industry. You’ll soon be bringing home a steady paycheck, receiving health benefits as well as retirement options. Isn’t it time you got paid what you’re worth?

2. You don’t have time (or money) for a four-year degree.

The good news is that starting a career as a truck driver doesn’t require spending four years in college… and then spending years after paying off thousands of dollars in student loans. Many CDL schools have a number of options for covering the cost of training. Several participate in tuition reimbursement or financial assistance programs specific to Military Veterans and their family members. Best of all, you don’t have to spend years learning the trade. CDL training programs last just a few weeks or a few months, depending on the program itself. You’ll be on the road earning a living in no time!

3. You work well under pressure… and you’re not scared of hard work.

The situations you will face as a truck driver varies from severe weather conditions to overwhelming road construction, or heavy traffic. The job requires running a tight ship, getting to your destinations on time with a safe and secure load. You can read a map, figure out GPS, and can manage your time well. You have a patient manner and are able to keep a clear head when unexpected issues come your way. Problems like these can actually be fun challenges for you.

4. You hate the 9 to 5 routine.

Does sitting in an office every day staring at the same cubicle wall sound awful to you? Tired of production line factory work? Fortunately, there are many options when it comes to driving a truck. With help from DDA, you can find the trucking company you feel comfortable with. Maybe team driving sounds more like your gig. Whatever the case, if the idea of a boring 9 to 5 job puts a sour taste in your mouth, a truck driving career could be the ideal solution.

5. You just like to drive.

The idea of hitting the open road isn’t for everyone. Being in control of a large vehicle can be exciting for some, but daunting for others. If driving is fun, and you’re up for the task of driving an 18-wheeler, life as a truck driver might be your ticket. Besides, what would be better than conquering major city rush-hour traffic in a big rig, or traveling the roads and seeing the sights this great nation has to offer?

 

Ready to talk to someone in the trucking industry to see if it is right for you? Our admissions officers have helped countless students find the path they need to take. Give us a call or come out and visit our campus locations.

*This article was originally published in 2015 and has been updated according to industry standards*

Trucking Meets College Football

 

lsu equipment truck

The Real MVPs of the Game

The leaves are falling, temperatures are dropping, and college football is well underway. It’s one of the best times of the year as you gather with your family and friends and root for your favorite teams. Whether you are there for the game, the players, the marching band, or even the mascot, college football season always brings excitement to everyone. However, do you know who the underlying hero of the season is? Nope, it’s not the coaches or even the trainers, it’s the hard-working drivers and the trucks that haul all the equipment from game to game. They are the real stars.

The Game Plan

These huge trucks are not only responsible for hauling almost everything on the field; including the medical supplies, the warm-up gear, the equipment, the training gear, and anything else you may think of, short of the benches. However, their duties include so much more. They are required to pack all the equipment up and get it to the stadium on time. It can be a stressful job, as the start of the game is dependent on these drivers.

The Kickoff

Most of these drivers do this job on top of their full-time jobs. Mainly for the fact that they love what they do. They love the college football atmosphere, they love college football, and they love the perks of the job. Many of the drivers get to be a part of the football action. They are found in the locker rooms during halftime, listening to the coach’s speech. They are found watching the game and rooting for their team. The truckers are on the field before and after the game and enjoy the benefit of staying in a hotel with the team when on the road. The job is really fulfilling for many, stressful at times, but provides the drivers a sense of pride and a new look into something that many would love to be involved with.

The Touchdown

These drivers are not only employees but they are a member of the team. Truckers work closely with the team and the staff, knowing all the ins and outs of all the equipment. They are in charge of logistics and knowing where each piece of equipment has to go, including the exercise bike. They know they have to move fast, as pack-up usually lasts 90 minutes and the team cannot wait for them. However, it’s the excitement of the road and the fan interaction that brings the job to a whole new level. Whether it’s the fan waves or the boo’s as they are driving on the highway, or the high-five’s at rest stops, nobody can miss the giant college logos on the huge trucks. At the end of each game, no matter if it’s a win or a loss, the real MVP has to pack it all up and head back home. Riding off into the sunset as the true hero of the game.

At Diesel Driving Academy (DDA) we are the leaders in CDL training and can provide you with the required training where opportunities like this can be a reality. For more information about classes and our training programs, contact us today!

Back to School Time is Not Just for Kids

 

Fall is always the time you see those back to school commercials or you find yourself buying supplies for your kids. You send them off to school hoping they will learn every day. But have you ever wondered what you still have to learn? Chances are you are ready to go back to school too!  A CDL training program could quickly catapult your career forward. Here are some of the reasons why adults should consider adding to their knowledge with a CDL school.

Career Opportunities

Right now, truckers are in high demand and as a result, there are always trucking jobs available. The American Trucking Association estimates there are over 50,000 trucking jobs ready to be filled right now. Additionally, DDA helps its graduates find a career for them with Job Placement Assitance.

Salary Options

Going back to school can dramatically impact your current salary. The average first-year salary for an OTR driver can be up to $50,000 after completing your CDL training and passing all tests. We know that an increase in salary could easily affect you and your family’s life.

Climb Up in Your Current Job

If you currently are working in a career field that includes truck driving such as a delivery service or a construction company, you could possibly benefit from additional skills. Speak with your boss and learn if earning your CDL or additional endorsements could benefit your career. If so, head back to school!

Give Yourself a Competitive Advantage

Currently, some fields are experiencing a shortage of graduates with skills and experience. Individuals who want to set themselves apart in a competitive employment market should embrace the idea of going back to school. You could make yourself an extremely competitive candidate.

If you are ready to better your current career or start a new career completely, this is the perfect time to go back to school. DDA is ready to help you get started today. Contact us!

What is a Pre-Hire Letter?

 

Pre-Hire Letters

The pre-hire letter is a written acknowledgment, from a trucking company, that you qualify as a potential candidate for hire once you complete your CDL training. Obtaining a pre-hire letter is a great way to enhance your confidence once you start looking for a career. This way you have already have gotten ahead of the hiring process and can be on your way to the best career. Check out our recommended steps to help you get your own pre-hire letter.

Do Your Research

Research and understand the different carriers/companies you are interested in working for. Make sure the company culture is one you are interested in and that you can handle their expectations for drivers.

Be Prepared Before You Reach Out

You should make sure you do meet all the qualifications for getting a CDL.

For Louisiana Residents: Louisiana CDL Handbook 2019

For Arkansas Residents: Arkansas CDL Handbook 2019 

Be Neat

As we all know, honesty is the best policy. Your application will be your first impression. You need to provide accurate and thorough information and make it look as neat and professional as possible.

Be Honest

Be sure that you let each company know you are not CDL qualified, and you are interested in a pre-hire letter. Be sure to tell them your current training status. If you’re getting ready to begin CDL training, you’re in training, or you’re about to take the required tests, they will appreciate having an idea when you may be available. You may also have a better understanding of your employment probabilities.

The More Pre-Hire Letters, The Better Odds You Have

You can apply to as many trucking companies as you would like. Take the time to do this. You will have better odds at employment if you make yourself known.

Follow-Up

Don’t assume that your application gets seen right away so do not be afraid to call and introduce yourself. Let the hiring staff know you have submitted your application and you are interested in someday working for their company.

Stand Out from the Crowd

If you already know you want to get CDL Endorsements, and you plan on becoming a highly-qualified truck driver, let them know. You may find you’re going to be in high demand. Don’t worry, you will learn more about CDL Endorsements at Diesel Driving Academy.

Become an Outstanding CDL Driver at Diesel Driving Academy

At Diesel Driving Academy (DDA), we are committed to offering the best in CDL training, and we also work hard to place our graduating drivers with exceptional trucking companies. With training from DDA and pre-hire letters in your back pocket, your trucking career is sure to have a great start.

Learn more about us and how we get you on the right road to a rewarding, truck driving career. Don’t hesitate to call with any questions you may have if you’re wanting to make sure you are ready to begin applying for trucking positions to request pre-hire letters. We’re excited to hear from you.

National Truck Driver Appreciation Week

 

Celebrating the Rock Stars of the Road

National Truck Driver Appreciation Week

National Truck Driver Appreciation Week is September 8-14, 2019. This is a time for the business community to recognize the dedication of professional truck drivers. Thousands of trucking companies and industry suppliers throughout the country will be holding special events to honor their drivers. As we celebrate this week, we’re also taking a look at some rockin’ facts about truck drivers as well as their connection to the music industry!

Legendary Truckin’ Music

Utter the words “breaker, breaker” and trucking movie classics like Smokey and the Bandit come to mind. The 70’s were a time of free expression and open roads. The appeal of the CB radio took hold of the nation and suddenly truck drivers were of great interest. The music industry took notice and started turning out road trip hits.

Country music crooners and rock and roll legends produced songs that told the story of the long and winding road. They sang about the trials and tribulations that truckers face on a daily basis. Songs of love, loneliness, and driving took hold of the airwaves. These hits included:

  • “East Bound and Down” by Jerry Reed (1977)
  • “Teddy Bear” by Red Sovine (1976)
  • “Movin’ On” by Merle Haggard (1974)
  • “Truckin'” by the Grateful Dead (1970)
  • “On the Road Again” by Willie Nelson (1979)

Celebrities That Were Once Kings of the Road

Before becoming the King of Rock n’ Roll, Elvis Presley was “King of the Road,” as a truck driver for Crown Electric. At his first performance, he was told “stick to truck driving.” Lucky for us, he didn’t take that advice and became one of the world’s most well-known musicians. Several other famous celebrities also started their careers on the open road.

  • James Cameron, of Avatar and Titanic fame, drove trucks to save money to buy film equipment.
  • Liam Neeson was a truck driver in Ireland for Guinness Brewery.
  • Robert Duval drove trucks while taking acting classes with Gene Hackman and Dustin Hoffman.
  • Chevy Chase was a truck driver before hitting it big on Saturday Night Live.
  • Jason Aldean drove for Pepsi while writing the country music lyrics to mega-hit “Asphalt Cowboy.”

Truck Drivers Are Essential to the Economy

Truckers still face many of the same issues that drivers dealt with in the 1970’s. But, today, they are looked at as the Rock Stars of the Road. There is a much greater appreciation for the work truck drivers do to keep our nation prosperous. Chris Spear, the President and CEO of American Trucking Association, recently stated:

“Everything that we consume – groceries, school supplies, clothes, medicine – gets delivered by a truck driver whether it’s to your front door, your local market, or your workplace. These drivers improve our quality of life by dedicating themselves to safety and making every effort to deliver the things we need efficiently, professionally and responsibly.”

Diesel Driving Academy is proud to participate in National Truck Driver Appreciation Week. If you are ready to hit the open road, contact us today to learn more about Class A CDL training.

“That’s a 10-4, good buddy.”

How Much will my CDL Training Cost?

 

CDL Training Programs to Keep You on Budget

Trucking is a career that is in high demand and many people are interested in getting into, but the real question on many people’s minds is how much will it cost to go through CDL training?

The good news is that getting your Commercial Driver’s License is much more affordable than a standard 4-year college program. However, there are a few things that will determine how much getting your CDL through a training program will cost.

Diesel Driving Academy offers students the options of three driver training programs to choose from. Each of these programs are “career-oriented” and prepare students for a driving career in a short period of time.

Tuitions costs vary by program, and your out-of-pocket costs will depend on what types of financial assistance you qualify for. Our goal is to offer quality truck driver courses at an affordable cost to students.

CDL Training Variety

At DDA, you can choose from three different CDL training programs that will fit with your current skill level so you can meet your professional goals.

The CDL Basic training program, you are looking at 4-weeks of hands-on training. The Advanced CDL training program will require a bit more training, running 20-weeks for daytime classes, and 30 for the evening schedule. Admissions Representatives will help you cover the basics needed for entry into the program. The 3-week CDL prep class will help you stay sharp behind the wheel and improve your driving skills.

What Do These Programs Cost?

Tuition costs will vary, depending on which program you enroll in, if you qualify or use any sort of financial aid, or if you attend school through a carrier sponsorship program. At DDA, we offer a variety of financial aid options that can assist students in paying for their driving school costs.

Admissions staff can help provide with exact costs for each CDL training program and can help with registration and enrollment.

What’s covered in Tuition?

All Training Materials: Students are not required to purchase any additional supplies, books, or tools other than their DOT Physical Examination and Commercial Drivers License (CDL).

Intensive Classroom Instruction: in-class hours cover standards, qualifications, regulations, logging, ICC Safety Regulations, and preventive maintenance.

Maneuvering and Driver Training: docking, blindside parking, offset alleys, parallel parking, cornering and many other maneuvering techniques, basic hookup, and preventative maintenance and pre-trip inspection.

Road Driving: hands-on training in the driver’s seat.

Keep The Big Picture In Mind

While having to pay for your truck driving school may seem challenging, there are options and ways to help bring the costs down. Talk to a school representative today about programs that cover most (or even all) of your training costs! Drivers entering the industry make an average of $45,000+ in their first year with great potential for growth beyond their initial forays into the industry.

Whether you are just starting, changing, or advancing your career, getting your CDL license at DDA will help you earn positions with top companies offering great pay and competitive benefits.

Now that you are ready to take the next step as a truck driver, contact us to get started on your path to driving freedom. After all, there is no better time than right now to start work towards your new career!

How Hard is the CDL Driving Test?

 

Test day at DDA Shreveport

CDL exams are changing, and come February 2020 you’ll need to pass a federal level CDL exam that covers theory (classroom and bookwork), and drives on the road in an 18-wheeler. It’s important to know that no one is just born a truck driver. It will take study, diligence, and practice to pass the exam.

Do I Need Trucker School?

Yes, as of February 2020 you WILL need to attend a formal training program. The good news is that trucking school will prepare you for the CDL exams. You’ll feel confident about passing a skills test and a written test.

What does the Written Test cover?

Although the federal tests haven’t been published as of August 2019 you can expect these topics:

  • Weight & overweight trucks
  • Securing Cargo
  • What happens at scales
  • General road rules: right of way, pedestrians, railroad crossings, trolleys & streetcars, 4 Way and 2 Way Stops, school buses
  • Drinking and Driving / Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) rules for truckers, Drug and Alcohol testing
  • Chaining up
  • New Electronic Logbook regulations
  • New Hours of Service regulations: 30-minute break in 8 hours, 10 hours of rest between shifts, 34-hour resets

Format:

There are different CDL written tests to take depending on what type of class the driver is testing for. The general knowledge test has multiple-choice questions and is usually taken on the computer.

Score Needed to Pass:

Students will need at least an 80% is needed to pass the CDL Knowledge Test.

How to Prepare:

The best way to prepare for the written portion of the CDL exam is to faithfully attend your trucking school classes, take good notes and STUDY! Just cramming for this exam the day before the test is not going to be enough. You need to set aside time to really focus on learning the laws.

What does the Driving Test cover?

Again, the new tests aren’t public but you should expect these sorts of skills to be used:

  • Backing up safely
  • Making sharp turns correctly
  • Shifting
  • How to chain up
  • Safe parking
  • Execute a safety walk around your rig

Format:

The skills test is given in the class of vehicle the driver intends on using in their future career. An instructor will sit in the passenger seat and markdown notes and deductions as the drive perform the instructed directions. The instructor will tell the driver which route to take and give specific maneuverability instructions for the course.

Score Needed to Pass:

In order to pass the skills portion, a driver cannot have more than 30 deduction points during their evaluation.  Not sure if this is true for all states

How to Prepare:

To prepare for the driving portion of the CDL exam your best bet is to get as much time behind-the-wheel as possible. Again, be present and alert during your driving classes. Practice checking your mirrors a lot! You will have a professional tester in the cab with you, so you might want to practice driving this way. Have a helper tell you which turns to take and where to park.

At Diesel Driving Academy our focus is you! We partner with numerous trucking companies that need drivers now! We want you to be successful, so we take a lot of one-on-one interest in our CDL students. Contact us for more information about the CDL test today!

*This blog was originally written in 2011 and has been updated according to industry standards.*

Don’t Let Your Ego Become Your Downfall When Earning Your CDL

 

Getting your CDL means that you are going back to school to learn a new trade. If you have worked in your previous industry for 10-20+ years, going back to school can be quite a humbling experience. After all, you’re used to being the one in charge and knowing your trade. Now it’s time to learn something new all over again. It may not be a position you get used to being in or comfortable being in, at least at the beginning. However, setting your ego aside can help you open your mind to learning more and being the best you can be at your new job.

Getting the Instructor You Need:

Basic CDL course will include 160-hours of instruction, and the Advanced CDL course is 600-hours of instruction. That will include both instructions in the classroom and behind-the-wheel. Understanding the information presented both in the classroom and behind-the-wheel is vital to passing your final test and getting your license before you start your work as a truck driver.

All of the information provided by Diesel Driving Academy (DDA) is geared towards helping student’s pass their road test to earn their license and get to work as a truck driver. Studying, reviewing, and mastering the material presented will be imperative for a long-term career as a truck driver.

Don’t Get Over-Confident:

It is easy to think you know it all after your first time behind-the-wheel of a truck, but this over-confidence means you could miss valuable training opportunities. Being a professional truck driver comes with big responsibilities. You will want to make sure you are fully prepared before you hit the road. Use the time you are in training to soak up as much knowledge as possible. Ask questions, seek clarifications, and ensure that you are ready to launch a successful career.

And Remember:

Learning and starting a new career is possible at any age, but putting your ego aside is vital to ensuring you are truly digesting the information presented to you. After enrolling at the Diesel Driving Academy, reminder yourself, you are here to learn. It’s okay not to know everything presented, but do have a positive attitude about learning something new and starting your new career. You will go far in your new truck driving career!

For further assistance and to enroll in classes today, please feel free to contact us. We are here to help and can’t wait to welcome you to our family!

Companies that Hire our Drivers