Diesel Driving Academy

Skip to Content

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!

What Would Happen if Truckers Stopped Driving?

 

Truck drivers are extremely important to our economy and help drive the economy forward. Without our hard-working truck drivers, we would all experience an unhappy lifestyle. We are all used to seeing the trucks all over the interstates, but have you ever considered what would happen if all truck drivers stopped driving?  Without our truck drivers, life would almost completely stop. Consider the following timeline explaining what could happen if there were no trucks.

First 24 Hours

Gasoline shortages will begin. The busiest fuel stations require multiple gas deliveries a day. US mail and package deliveries will stop. Deliveries to hospitals and nursing homes will stop leading to shortages of supplies such as syringes and catheters. Many major manufacturers, such as computer manufacturers, rely on “just in time” manufacturing and without those they cannot continue their work and cannot continue to employ many people.

Day One

Gas shortages will continue to grow to lead to skyrocketing price increases and long lines at the pumps. Grocery stores will stop receiving food deliveries thus causing to the start of food shortages.

Two to Three Days

The situation will become even worse. Gas stations will completely run out of fuel. ATM’s will run out of cash and banks would be unable to complete transactions. Trash will begin to pile up in the cities and neighboring suburbs leading to toxins and infectious organisms leaching into the soil, causing disease. Container ships, railways, and planes will cease operations. Food shortages will lead to public panic, looting, and hoarding. Food essentials, such as bottled water, powdered milk, and canned milk, will completely disappear.

One Week

All personal vehicles will remain still due to the lack of gasoline. People will not be able to get to grocery stores for food, get to work for an income or receive medical care. Hospitals will begin to run out of oxygen reserves.

Two Weeks

Our clean water supply will begin to run dry. It’s important to remember that humans cannot live for more than a week without sustainable clean water.

Four Weeks

The clean water supply will be completely gone and the only source of clean water will be through boiling. This will lead to an increase in gastrointestinal disease which will then exhaust the medical system that is already terribly overloaded.

 

It is amazing to think about how much is riding on the shoulders of all those truck drivers. Remember to thank the truck drivers in your life because they help carry the future of our economy and our country. It is a difficult job but so worth it.

If you’re interested in becoming a truck driver to keep America moving, our team at Diesel Driving Academy is excited to talk with you. Learn more about how you can train for a great career in our trucking industry.

CDL Training: It May Be Harder Than You Think

 

CDL Training is a fun and exciting time. It means the start of a new career path and new experiences. While you may be ready to get going right away, you also need to remember that your instructors still have much to teach you. You will have to demonstrate your learning before you can hit the road. Not taking CDL Training seriously could be detrimental when it comes time for you to take your CDL Test. Therefore, use these tips to help you stay focused and get the most out of your training.

Pay Careful Attention

Being a professional truck driver is a rewarding career, but it also comes with big responsibilities. You will be driving one of the biggest vehicles on the road and you will have other driver’s safety to account for. You need to make sure you are paying close attention to everything your instructor says during CDL training.

Tips For Class:

  • Bring a notebook and pen to take notes
  • Arrive on time and ready to learn
  • Have good attendance
  • Make friends with other students in the class. You can support and help each other study.
  • Bring your best attitude to class every time. The more excited you are to be there, the more you’ll learn during your CDL training.

Ask Questions

If you are unsure of exactly what your instructor is saying, you should ask them to explain it in more detail. There is no such thing as a bad question. It is much better to ask questions and understand every aspect of the CDL training now before you hit the road. Also, instructors love to answer questions because it shows your interest in the topic and it allows them to share their knowledge with new students.

You Don’t Know It All

You may have been driving vehicles for many years now, but driving a truck professionally is a completely different story. There will be new rules and regulations you must follow. You will be responsible for the safety of not only you and the goods on your truck but also those driving around you. Staying humble during training with ultimately end up giving you the confidence you need when you are ready to hit the road.

Coming to CDL Driver Training with a positive, eager to learn attitude is the first step in having a successful driver training course. Students who understand the importance of listening and paying close attention to their instructors will excel in CDL Driver Training.

 

Diesel Driving Academy has been teaching students the ins and outs of CDL Training since 1972 and is one of the top driver training programs in Louisiana and Arkansas. We have day and evening programs to fit your busy schedule. If you are interested in starting your new career as a professional truck driver, contact us today to learn more or to enroll in our next class.

How to Pass Your CDL Test

 

Your CDL test can seem overwhelming sometimes. However, there are steps you can take get started in the right direction. With the right training program, plenty of on-the-road experience, and some good old fashion studying, you will be well on your way to success.

CDL Skills Test

Driving Expectations

The driving skills test is usually broken down into three parts:

  1. The pre-trip vehicle inspection test: You will be tested to see if you know how to perform your pre-trip inspection for your vehicle. They will grade you on how detailed, correct and efficient you are.
  2. The basic control test: For this section, you will be asked to move the vehicle in several different maneuvers in specific areas. You will need to follow the directions given by the examiner.
  3. The road skills test: You will be asked to drive in a variety of traffic situations. This may include intersections, left and right turns, upgrades and downgrades, railroad crossings and highways. Be prepared for any real-life driving scenarios.

Format

The skills test will be scheduled by the driver with a CDL third-party examiner. The driver will need to bring the type of vehicle that matches the licensure they are applying for, with proof of insurance for the vehicle.

Score Needed to Pass

The driver cannot lose more than 30 points in order to pass the CDL test. The test must be taken in the correct order and you must pass each section before you can move onto the next. You must pass all three sections in order to receive your CDL.

How to Prepare

The best way to prepare for the skills test is to practice on the road and with an instructor. The only way to get real-life driving experience is to drive in real life! A good CDL training program will prepare you for the test by giving you plenty of time to practice on the road. Another great resource is the state CDL manual, which breaks down which maneuvers and skills you will need for the test.

CDL Knowledge Test

Question Expectations

The general knowledge test has to be taken by every applicant. It covers the general information all truckers need to know, regardless of vehicle type. In addition to this test, you may need to take other tests in order to drive specific vehicles. For example, the hazardous waste test or school bus test.

Format

The tests are multiple-choice and can be taken online.

Score Needed to Pass

The general knowledge test has 50 questions and you will need to get 40 (or 80%) correct in order to pass.

How to Prepare

The CDL manual is a great resource for studying, but nothing can replace the specialized instruction you receive in a driver training program. Be sure to take notes and ask questions in class to ensure the information is clear to you. On test day, take a deep breath and know you’ve received the proper training and that you studied hard.

For more information on driver training and how to prepare for your CDL tests contact us today.

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

Companies that Hire our Drivers