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How to Get a CDL and Start Driving Commercially in Louisiana

 

The demand for commercial truck drivers in Louisiana offers ample career opportunities for those who want a stable career and enjoy the open road. Anyone that drives commercially must have a valid CDL license. If you are planning to be a commercial truck driver in Louisiana, you’ll have to know how to get a Commercial Driver’s license. At DDA, we can provide the training you’ll need to get your Class A CDL.

Requirements for Getting a CDL

  • Drivers must be 18 years old to commercially drive within Louisiana or 21 years old (at the time of graduation) to become an OTR long-haul driver.
  • CDL drives must possess a valid, personal driver’s license for more than one year
  • You must be able to pass a DOT physical, including hearing and visions tests for color blindness, at least 20/40 vision with eyeglasses, and at least 70 degrees field of vision.

Additionally, ensure you get this documentation ready:

  • Proof of Louisiana address
  • Proof of your citizenship such as a birth certificate or certification of naturalization

CDL Training

The CDL training programs at DDA will prepare you to take the written CDL exam and road tests. Each program is an entry-level program, meaning no previous driving experience is required to enroll. We can assist with obtaining your Commercial License Permit, as well as your final Class A license with endorsements. You’ll practice and prepare for the CDL knowledge test, the CDL endorsement tests, and the CDL driving skills test.

At DDA, we specialize in Class A CDL training and have bee teaching students to safely drive commercial tractor trailers (semi trucks/18-wheelers) since 1972. Our programs and classroom work are regularly updated to meet or exceed current industry standards. Our current training campuses are located in

Start Driving

Job placement assistance is available to each student at DDA, no matter which program you are enrolled in. Recruiters from national and local companies regularly visit our campuses for presentations on starting your trucking career. Once you have completed your CDL training with us, and have obtained your Louisiana Commercial Driver’s License, you’ll move on to training with your new employer before hitting the open road as a solo driver.

For more information on enrolling in our commercial driving school and preparing to obtain your Louisiana Commercial Driver’s License, give us a call today! 1-800-551-8900

This article was originally published in 2017 and has been updated for 2019. 

8 Trailer Types You May (Will) Tow as a Truck Driver

 

The trucking industry involves driving many types of trucks and hauling trailers that carry a wide variety of cargo. As a truck driver, you are likely to find yourself towing goods of all shapes and sizes: from food items to entire houses, and everything in between.

Which type of cargo you are carrying will determine which of many trailer types you use. Trucking trailers vary significantly in terms of size, and each has different requirements and regulations, as does the cargo it carries. This means that each type of trailer brings with it a dramatically different driving experience, so it’s important to know what type of trailer you’re hitching to your rig before you get on the road.

At Diesel Driving Academy, we make sure that our drivers are well-equipped long before they get into the truck. As a start, we put together a list of eight common types of trailers that you will likely find yourself hauling during your time as a truck driver.

1. Standard Freight Trailer

This is the most common type of trailer—the enclosed, rectangular trailers typically associated with semi-trucks and used for traditional store shipping. These trailers protect their contents from the elements, as they are fully enclosed, and are used to carry boxed, crated, and palletized freight, which are unloaded using a forklift. They vary in length from approximately 28 to 53 feet and in width from 8 to 8.5 feet. They are generally between 12.5 and 13.5 feet in height. Most have an axle-to-wheel ratio of 2:8, but heavy loads often use a 3:12 or 4:16 ratio.

2. Refrigerated Truck Trailer

Also know as “Reefer” trailers, these cargo holders are insulated and refrigerated, in order to transport perishable and/or frozen goods, including food items and pharmaceuticals. Reefer trailers have cooling units installed, usually toward the front, to keep their contents cool and fresh. Reefer trailers usually have similar dimensions to standard trailers, with the addition of a fuel tank stored beneath the trailer.

3. Container Skeletal Carrier

Skeletal carriers are designed to be adjustable, so that they can accommodate containers of varying sizes. Their main purpose is to transport international cargo containers, which range from 20′ and 45′ in length. They carry 2:8, 3:12, and 4:16 axle/wheel configurations, changing depending on the load weight.

4. Standard Flatbed Trailer

Flatbed trailers have no roofs or sides, just a level plane. They are extremely versatile, which is a large part of their appeal. Flatbed trailers are designed to haul oversized cargo, and/or materials that need to be loaded or unloaded from the top or side of the trailer, rather than a smaller rear opening. Due to being uncovered, flatbed trailers must be packed and tarped correctly to protect the contents being hauled. These trailers vary in length, up to 48 feet.

5. Drop Deck “Gooseneck” Trailer

This type of trailer is also used to carry oversized or special cargo. These trailers are very similar to flatbed trailers, but include a raised bed, which mimics the look of a goose’s neck. They are used to carry cargo that requires a different base than the standard flatbed. Drop deck trailers include a ramp on the lower deck for loading and unloading.

6. Car Carrier Trailer

True to their name, car carrier trailers transport cars, trucks, and other vehicles. They are equipped with two levels, in order to hold multiple vehicles. When loading vehicles, you must be careful to make sure all vehicles end up in park with the brakes set, and are secured to the trailer, taking all safety precautions. A series of ramps is incorporated for easy loading and unloading, as vehicles are heavier and more specialized than the average cargo. These trailers can be enclosed, but are often open.

7. Deep Drop Furniture and Electronics Trailers

These two-tiered trailers are often employed to carry large and bulky, but relatively light cargo, such as furniture and electronics. They are specially designed to allow for a greater cargo capacity, featuring an additional, lower rear deck for extra space.

8. Timber Trailers (“Loggers”)

Commonly used in the logging industry, timber trailers transport logs. These trailers are very similar to flatbeds, but are also equipped with special, often rounded, vertical stakes specifically designed to hold logs in place. An attached crane is used to load large logs.

Learn More

Of course, this list doesn’t cover every type of trailer. There are many other specialized trailers you may come across if you choose a career in trucking. Each run is a new experience and takes close attention when determining what special skills you may need to successfully maneuver the truck and trailer before you. We at Diesel Driving Academy hope to get the opportunity to teach you about each and every one of them.

If this information has been helpful in your journey toward becoming a truck driver, we would love to hear from you. Please contact us through the form on this page for more information, and to find out how you can become one of our success stories.

 

*This blog was originally published in 2015 and has been updated to stay current.*

The 5 Must-Know Tricks For Backing Up Your Big Rig

 

Every driver knows just how tricky it can be to master the different techniques for backing up a big rig. Your fellow coworkers may give you a bit of advice and wish you the best of luck in performing this maneuver, but we’re here to offer some detailed instructions on how to get the job done right without sweating through your t-shirt in the meantime.

G.O.A.L. (Get Out And Look)

Get out of your vehicle and take a good look around the entire area. It can be helpful to stand in the position of the spotter, about 20-25 feet in front of the right passenger bumper. This trick will help you see your blind side and any other areas that may not be visible from the cab of the truck.

Roll Down Your Window

Never back into a space without first rolling down your window to look behind you, and always take a look out your left mirror to guide you.

Use A Spotter

You should rely on the guidance of a spotter whenever possible. Remember, the spotter should be standing about 20-25 feet in front of the passenger bumper at a diagonal view of the tractor. If at any time you lose sight of your spotter, stop and reassess. Make sure you are aligning your tractor in straight with the parking space.

Sound Your Horn

Alert pedestrians or other drivers who may be in the surrounding area by honking your horn at least twice before backing up. Also, be sure to turn on your flashers anytime you are in reverse.

Steer the Trailer, Not the Truck

Remember, if your wheels are turning to the right, the tractor is veering left, and when turning wheels to the left, the tractor will go right.

The best tip we can offer may be to find a pull-through spot whenever possible and avoid backing up unless it is truly unavoidable. However, with the proper planning, you can master the techniques mentioned above and avoid unnecessary incidents, no matter what the situation.

Obviously, we’ll go into more detail during your training, plus you’ll get a hands-on approach to learning this maneuver. Ready to roll? For more information on becoming a better driver, call us today and get started! 1-800-551-8900

Flexible Programs to Fit Your Needs for CDL Training

 

Thinking about a job change and looking into truck driving as your new career path? Worried about how to fit training in with your current schedule? Can’t afford to quit your current job while working towards your new one? Diesel Driving Academy is here to help, no matter your situation!

With four convenient training locations in Louisiana and Arkansas, there will be a campus that is conveniently located for you! And each one offers full CDL programs – from your classroom coursework to hands-on-training behind-the-wheel. Today, we’ll take a look at what those programs offer, so you can find the one that is perfect for your CDL training needs.

Advanced CDL Training

  • If you are brand-new to truck driving and have never held a Class A CDL than this might be a great fit is for you! No experience is needed to enroll in this program. We’ll teach you all you need to know.
  • You can choose if you would like the daytime program covering 20 weeks or the evening program covering 30 weeks. Whichever method works best for your schedule and needs! Both programs total 600 clock hours.
  • Since flexibility is crucial to you, you might potentially be concerned about finances as well. You can apply for tuition assistance, to see if you qualify for a sponsorship program.
  • This course will prepare students for a range of career entry-level opportunities, such as a truck driver, line haul driver, or over the road driver.

Basic CDL Training

  • This basic CDL training course will teach students the skills of being an entry-level truck driver. No experience is required to enroll.
  • To adapt to schedules, you can choose the daytime program lasting four weeks, for a total of 160 hours.
  • The other option is an evening course that lasts eight weeks (offered at select campus locations only) while still maintaining the 160 hours of the daytime class. This will allow students to pick an accelerated or part-time course, to better fit their needs.
  • Job placement is available with this program. We’ll assist you with finding the right carrier company for you!

CDL Prep Course

  • This class will help prepare students to take their CDL test to become an entry-level truck driver. No experience is needed to enroll.
  • This course lasts 3 weeks, for a total of 136 hours.
  • Whether you want to brush up on your skills or have no previous driving experience, this course is tailored to quickly help students understand the basics that the Department of Motor Vehicles will test you on and industry standards for truck driving.

We are happy to help you figure out the best program for getting your Class A CDL. Call us anytime and we can find the flexible program that best fits your needs! Call today, 1-800-551-8900

Getting your Family on Board with You Going to CDL School

 

Becoming a commercial truck driver can be a great career opportunity for many people. There are a lot of truck driver jobs available, and with the driver shortage that brings plenty of job security. However, it can be hard to start a new career – especially one that might take you on the road for days or weeks at a time. Even harder when you have a family at home.

So, how do you get your loved ones on board with your decision so that you can start your training? Today we’re sharing a few ways to help get your family on board with you going to CDL school and beginning your successful career.

Remind them about job security

Truck driving is a very stable career because supplies need to get all over the United States and they need drivers to do it! With more and more drivers leaving due to retirement, carriers are looking for drivers to fill those positions, as well as new ones that open up. If going OTR isn’t your thing, you can transition to a local or regional position – often with the same nationally known carrier.

We offer tuition assistance

Coming up with the money to put toward school can be difficult, and it is the reason why many don’t go any further. While CDL school is less expensive than traditional college courses, there are still some training costs involved. How much you pay will depend on a variety of factors – including the program you choose to attend, if you use any type of assistance, or if you choose to go through a sponsorship program. Together we can find a way to make your new career happen, and make training affordable to you!

We offer different training locations

At Diesel Driving Academy, we’re close to home! We offer complete CDL training courses at four separate campus locations throughout Louisiana and Arkansas. Find the campus that is closest to you, and we’ll help you get on the road in your new career.

Programs based on your needs

We have classes that are as short as 4 weeks and as long as 30 weeks. We’ll help you find the program that is best for your career goals. We offer both classroom instruction and time behind the wheel, and classes start regularly. So you’ll be on the road earning a steady income in no time!

If driving a commercial rig is something that you are interested, it is the right time to get started. Don’t hesitate to contact us to get your new career moving! Call today, 1-800-551-8900

Trucking Students Wanted: Pre-Apprenticeship Truck Driver Program Starting in Shreveport

 

Skilled trade jobs are in high demand, and the need for new truck drivers in the trucking industry continues to rise.

To help meet the growing demand for new truck drivers, Diesel Driving Academy has partnered with the Department of Community Development, the Bureau of Workforce Development, and the WIOA Youth Program for a Pre-Apprenticeship Truck Driving Program.

This program allows anyone aged 21-24 years old to enroll in CDL training at Diesel Driving Academy in order to obtain a CDL (Commercial Drivers License). This program includes a 1 year apprenticeship with Schneider Trucking. Drivers will be paid $9 per hour during training, for a total of 95 clock hours.

Who Qualifies?

This program is open to anyone between the ages of 21-24. To qualify, potential students must have a clean driving record, a clean criminal record, and must be able to pass a drug test as well as the DOT physical.

Specialized Training for New Drivers

Truck driving is one of the best trade jobs you can get, but it takes special know-how. You’ll need a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and specialized training. Diesel Driving Academy has been training new truck drivers since 1972. Our CDL training is continually updated to meet industry standards and is designed to provide new drivers with the skills and endorsements companies want.

Wages and benefits for truck drivers are increasing; entry-level drivers can earn up to $50,000 in the first year of driving. And, companies like Schneider are offering new drivers improved benefits like more home time and updated equipment.

This Pre-Apprenticeship program introduces students to the trucking industry while preparing them for a wide range of job opportunities as a truck driver. CDL training for this program begins on April 15, 2019, and will run through June 30, 2019.

For more information, please contact the Department of Community Development’s Bureau of Workforce Development WIOA Youth Program’s Youth Coordinator, Penny Butler, at (318) 673-7567 or Youth Counselor, Shaquavia Durden at (318) 673-7544, or Diesel Driving Academy at 1-800-551-8900.

The Drive Safe Act and the Driver Shortage

 

3 Ways the DRIVE-Safe Act Will Benefit You

A recent development out of Washington D.C. promises to make a huge impact on the ongoing driver shortage in America and create more jobs for graduating high school seniors. Passage of the DRIVE-Safe Act was made possible early this year by Representatives Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) and Trey Hollingsworth (R-Ind.) with backing from both the American Trucking Associations (ATA) and the International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA). The act seeks to address the issue of young drivers ages 18-20, whom until now, were not legally permitted to cross state lines for the transportation of goods. So in what ways will this new initiative serve to improve not only the trucking and foodservice distribution industry, but the economy as a whole?

PROMOTES SAFER ROADWAYS

Stipulations under the DRIVE-Safe Act require that drivers under the age of 21 must undergo completion of a highly demanding apprenticeship program beyond simply earning their CDL. This will comprise of 400 hours of on-duty time and 240 hours of driving under the supervision of an experienced driver over the age of 21. The young drivers will also be required to prove they can master such skillsets as rural two-lane driving and maneuvering into close quarters among several other performance benchmarks. Strict adherence to these guidelines will mean safer road conditions for all motorists and is sure reduce the number of preventable accidents each year.

ADDRESSES DRIVER SHORTAGE

With the increasing number of baby boomers retiring, the trade industry is reaching a demand that must become more accommodating to the millennial generation in order to survive. Passage of the DRIVE-Safe Act will help to fill the growing employment gap with eager young drivers who prove themselves capable of transporting goods safely and efficiently.

CREATES MORE JOBS

More drivers on the road will translate into more cooks in the kitchen thanks to the coupled support from the IFDA on the passage of this bill. The food industry recognized the positive benefits the DRIVE-Safe Act would have on the transportation of food to stores and restaurants all over the country. This will ideally yield shorter delivery wait times, a reduction in the cost of fresh food, and more affordable meals at your favorite restaurants. Think more drivers, more food service workers, and more money in your pocket!

If you would like more information on how to get started in an industry that’s increasing in demand and obtain your own CDL, call us today for information! 1-800-551-8900

Cost Effective Ways to Get Your CDL

 

Earning your CDL can open doors to amazing employment opportunities in a booming industry. However, when people hear that CDL training courses can cost $3,000, $7000 or even $10,000, they immediately know that it’s out of their price range. The good news is that you have options for affordable CDL training! At Diesel Driving Academy, we offer several different programs that can make earning your CDL as low-cost as possible. 

Financial Assistance for Tuition

For qualifying students, we offer financial aid programs that allow students to get their CDL at minimal cost to them. No matter what plan you qualify for, the financial team here at DDA will help you maximize your benefits and ensure that you are making the most of whatever aid you qualify to use.

Assistance for Veterans

In addition to standard financial aid, there are programs for active duty military and veterans looking for CDL training. We also work with government and grant-funded payments to help our military members and veterans start their civilian careers. Some of the programs that we are proud to be part of include:

  • GI Bill® programs – Post 9/11 and Montgomery Bill
  • Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR)
  • Special Vocational Training (SVT)
  • Survivors and Dependents Educational Assistance Program (DEA)

Trucking Carrier Tuition Reimbursement

For students who have paid their tuition out-of-pocket, many of the larger carriers will provide a monthly “reimbursement” to drivers who work with their company. These contracts typically require the driver to commit to working for that carrier for up to one (1) year in exchange for monthly payments above and beyond their additional salary. Payments range from $100 to $400 per month depending on the carrier and the amount of money that the driver paid out of pocket to get their CDL.

The price of going through CDL training shouldn’t be a cause for panic. For many students, financial assistance makes getting a CDL license more affordable. To learn more about payment options, or assistance plans you can use for your CDL training, call us today! Let’s see how getting your CDL affordable can lead to a successful future in the field of trucking! 1-800-551-8900

CDL A vs. CDL B: What’s the Difference?

 

When you decide that you are going back to school for your CDL, it can be confusing which Class of CDL you should get. The most common types of CDLs are Class A & B, which both allow you to perform different jobs and drive different types of vehicles. Depending on the kind of work you want to do, you will need to choose the type of CDL you get accordingly.

In this post, we will discuss the main differences between a CDL A vs CDL B, along with what each does and does not allow you to drive when you get into the truck driving industry.

Class A CDL

A Class A CDL will allow you to operate a combination of different vehicles. For example, you can haul a semi-tractor and a trailer. You can drive a vehicle with a gross weight of more than 26,001 pounds and drag a trailer that weighs at least 10,000 pounds or more. It is worth noting that if you wish to do jobs that require things such as handling hazardous material, you will need to obtain additional endorsements on your CDL to do so. The exact laws and requirements regarding endorsements vary by state, but you required to comply with the endorsement requirements outlined in your state.

After you have a Class A CDL, you can drive a variety of vehicles including:

  • A tractor-trailer (18-wheeler)
  • Tractor trailer buses
  • Tankers
  • Flatbeds
  • Most vehicles that you can operate with a Class B or C CDL

Class B CDL

If you were to receive a Class B CDL, you could only drive a single vehicle weighing 26,001 pounds without a trailer attached. If you wish to drive a trailer, it is the only piece you will be able to haul at that time. Again, it is worth noting that if you wish to drive a vehicle hauling hazardous material, you will need to obtain additional endorsements on your CDL to do so. In addition, some Class B vehicles (such as School Bus or Commercial Bus) require specific endorsements. The requirements and laws will vary by state, but you will be required to comply with the requirements outlined in your state.

After you have your Class B CDL you can drive the following vehicles:

  • Straight trucks
  • Buses (i.e., tour buses, city buses, etc.)
  • Segmented buses
  • Box trucks
  • Dump trucks
  • Some Class C vehicles (if you have appropriate endorsements)

CDL A vs CDL B: The Advantages of Choosing Class A CDL

Earning your Class A CDL gives you a lot more options than the Class B CDL. The more options you have, the better chances you have of getting employment in the truck driving industry.

However, there are other advantages to a Class A CDL that many people may not always see, including the following:

  • Jobs requiring a Class A CDL have much higher earning potentials.
  • Most carriers will prefer drivers with CDL A, especially since most carriers have drivers hauling heavier loads.
  • It allows the driver to operate more commercial vehicles.
  • You can drive the same vehicles on a Class A CDL as you could with a Class B or C CDL along with a whole other host of additional vehicles as well.
  • It allows you to drive further distances, log more miles, and get into over-the-road (OTR) trucking (the highest paid trucking jobs of all).

Having said all of this, the Class A CDL is your best bet if you plan on working for a carrier long-term and making a career out of truck driving. If you end up operating a vehicle that can also get operated under a Class B or C CDL, in most cases you will still be covered to drive those with a Class A CDL (possibly an additional endorsement needed for specific vehicles).

Get Your Class A CDL at DDA

You can start your Class A CDL training at DDA, and we will help you get started on your way to a new career that gives you more options than any other class of CDL available. We offer both Basic & Advanced training to meet your specific needs. No experience required for either program and you can complete either course in anywhere from 4 to 30 weeks, with day or night class options.

For further information on enrolling to at the DDA to get your Class A CDL, call today! 1-800-551-8900

Which CDL Class Pays the Most?

 

 

Considering a career in trucking, but confused on whether you need a Class A or Class B CDL? Wondering which one will earn you the most income? The different classes of CDL’s can be quite confusing, but today we’re going to explain the benefits of getting your Class A CDL – which can be earned right here at DDA.

Class A CDL  – What is Involved Training?

We offer two types of Class A training; Basic and Advanced CDL courses.

The Basic Class A CDL course does not require previous truck driving experience for you to enroll in. Classes can be completed in 8 weeks, for a total of 160 clock hours. Your instruction will include both classroom and hands-on driving experiences as part of our course. Graduates of this course are prepared to do entry-level truck driving work.

The Advanced Class A CDL can be completed during daytime classes (20 weeks) or evening classes (30 weeks) for a total of 600 clock hours. Students do not need previous driving experience, and instruction will still include both classroom and hands-on driving experiences as part of your course. Students who graduate this program have many career options available including employment as a Truck Driver, Line Haul Driver, Owner Operator, Semi-Truck Driver, or Over the Road (OTR) Driver.

Why Choose a Class A CDL?

When deciding between a CDL A or CDL B, you want to weight your career options. Your Class A CDL will generally be able to garner you the highest wages of any type of truck driver. Most students who graduate with their Class A CDL will get into over-the-road (OTR) trucking. That means you drive longer distances, log more miles, usually drive across the US, and therefore get the highest wages of any class of truck drivers.

How good is the pay?

On average, DDA graduates can expect to start with income of around $40,000+ annually. Driver pay can go as high as $90,000+ for veteran truckers with the biggest carriers. The middle/average salaries run between $50,000 annually (25th percentile) and $70,00 (75th percentile) for OTR truck drivers.

You Get Additional Benefits, Too

Most carriers also provide their drivers with a host of additional benefits in addition to a good salary when they are OTR truckers. The following are some of the other benefits you can expect to get from your carrier:

  • Full health insurance coverage (for your family also)
  • 401k and other retirement options
  • The possibility to qualify for monthly payments back to help pay off your student loans (signing a 1-year contract is usually required)
  • Opportunities to earn additional performance-based bonuses
  • The possibility of promotion to higher-paying loads (with experience)
  • Annual paid vacation time

These additional benefits make getting your Class A CDL worth your time and money. Once you get your Class A CDL you will enjoy access to some of the highest-paying jobs in trucking and you will have a career that can become a passion for the rest of your life.

Want more information on getting your Class A CDL so you can start earning a consistent paycheck? Call us today! 1-800-551-8900

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