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Diesel Driving Academy Year in Review

 

Celebrating 45 Years of Success

It has been an exciting day at Diesel Driving Academy. This year, we celebrated our 45th anniversary of being a Truck Driver Training School.

Since our start, our goal has been to provide students with the skills and endorsements transportation companies look for in their drivers. The focus of our CDL Training programs has always included classroom instruction, maneuvering and driver training, as well as on-the-road experience. We have strived to establish ourselves as a leader in truck driver training and produce world-class drivers.

We are extremely proud of our 45-year accomplishment and look to the future. Our goal is to continue on and to help our past and future students reach their goals.

A Big Thank You

To our staff members and instructors that have helped us this year: Thank you for meeting with prospective students, encouraging them, and telling each of them about our strengths and our driver training programs. Thank you for instructing our students and helping them reach their goals.

To each of our many students and graduates from this yet: Thank you for trusting us to help you take the first steps in your trucking career! Each one of you has been an essential part of our successful year, and we can’t thank you enough.

Happy Holidays & a Joyful New Year

As we conclude 2017, we would like to wish all of you a very Happy Holiday. May you have a wonderful time celebrating with family and friends while reminiscing about the year. We look forward to 2018 and all that the year will entail. From all of us at DDA, we wish you a very Happy New Year!

Great Outlook for Truckers in 2018

 

Throughout Louisiana and Arkansas, forecasters are predicting economic growth in all industries. A whopping 4,500 new jobs are expected to be added just in Baton Rouge alone! What, then, does this mean for the trucking industry though? It means a very positive outlook with some great money to be made!

The American Transportation Institute says that there is a shortage of truckers sitting at around 35,000, eventually projecting the shortfall to reach 50,000 by the end of the year. This means that the job market is wide open for new truckers entering the field.

Why Is 2018 A Good Time To Be A Truck Driver?

  • The economy is growing, especially in Louisiana and Arkansas
  • There is already a shortage of truckers
  • Salary for truckers, on average, is higher than it has ever been

Is Being A Trucker A Smart Decision?

Yes. Absolutely! Of every single bit of freight shipped in the United States, nearly 70% of it travels by truck for part or all of the trip. With this much cargo being hauled around on trucks and with there being a shortage of drivers already, this is simply nothing but excellent job security for those in this industry.

In fact, the federal government will even help you with the cost of tuition at a trucking school and the cost of obtaining your CDL. Financial assistance is available through FAFSA. Visit the FAFSA website or speak to one of the counselors for assistance.

Let’s sum things up, then you answer for yourself if it is a smart decision:

  • There are 35,000+ jobs to fill
  • Plenty of job security for reliable workers
  • The pay is as high as (or higher than) other trades
  • The federal government may assist with tuition

We think the answer is a no-brainer for anyone who is considering a new trade or who is looking to get into the world of trucking.

Diesel Driving Academy has locations throughout Louisiana and Arkansas. Contact us today to get started on your new career!

Spending the Holidays from the Driver’s Seat

 

semi-truck driving on a snowy road

The holiday season is here! That means it is time for parties, gift exchanges, and the celebration of traditions handed down from generation to generation. While traditions are valuable, and the holidays are important to celebrate, those with careers that require year-round work often celebrate the holidays in different ways. Important work doesn’t stop, even on Christmas Day. However, there are still ways to enjoy the holidays even as an over-the-road truck driver.

1. There’s an App for That

One thing that most holiday celebrations have in common is that loved ones gather to talk, laugh, and spend time together. While spending time with those you love face-to-face is special, it is still possible to do so while apart. Take advantage of free applications that are designed specifically to help people connect and talk. For example: start a group chat with your friends or family members and recall old times together, use the Snapchat application on your smartphone to send funny pictures or short videos to your children or significant other, or Facetime your parents and let them know that you’re thinking of them.

2. Celebrate When You Can

Christmas always falls on December 25th and New Years Day on January 1st. However, there’s no reason that you can’t celebrate these holidays before or after the actual date. A holiday is much more than just the day of. If your schedule requires you to travel on the holidays, plan a different day with family members and friends where everyone can come to celebrate and spend time together. Take the pressure off the day itself and focus on making time for family and friends whenever you can. If you consistently work on a specific holiday, it could be an opportunity to create a whole new tradition by celebrating on a certain day every year.

3. Get the Best Gifts

Truck drivers should take advantage when shopping for gifts. Traveling to different states means having access to stores that aren’t available in your home-town. Plan out extra time when you travel to shop for the perfect gift. If you don’t have enough break time to stop and shop, order gifts online. You can do your shopping at a stop and have them ordered directly to your house to save time.

 

Remember, your job is an important one. While it is not always possible to spend every holiday with loved ones, you can still enjoy the holiday season by making an effort to stay in touch with friends and family. Plan time to celebrate each holiday when you can be home, and take advantage of your traveling by snagging up unique gifts. Get creative this holiday season and make sure to remember that family and friends are more important than a day, event, or tradition. Happy Holidays from all of us at Diesel Driving Academy!

5 Reasons Why You Should Become a Truck Driver

 

Top 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 your CDL school, 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.  We are ready when you are!

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

Tips for Safe Road Sharing while Truck Driving

 

Driving a car has its challenges. Driving a semi is even more challenging. The size and length of your truck can make it hard to safely share the road when driving next to other big vehicles and cars. Check out this list for tips to safe road sharing with cars and other semis.

Challenges

  • Size: The size of your truck makes driving harder than normal, especially on busy roads, when making turns, or when sharing the road with other semis and trucks.
  • Speed: Because your truck is so large, you already know that it can take longer to stop, slow down and react to road conditions in a semi. Even seasoned drivers face these challenges when driving semis and other large trucks.
  • Vision: Blind spots in any car make seeing other cars more difficult, but blind spots are worse in semi trucks because of their size and length.

Tips

  • Keep Watch: When you drive for long stretches of time, it’s easy to forget to stay sharp and look out for dangers on the road. Stay alert at all times and make sure to take breaks when you start to feel exhausted or drained. It’s especially important to keep an eye out for other semi drivers who might be exhausted and in need of rest. Remember to always check for blind spots to avoid any accidents.
  • Be Prepared: If you see an accident or something happens on the road, make sure that you know how to respond. Stay safe by knowing who you’re going to call and have an emergency kit in your truck at all times. If you drive a consistent route, make sure you know where emergency services are.
  • Follow Rules of the Road: Because you’re a professional driver and you’ve had a good share of training and practice, you probably know the rules of the road. Make sure to stick to those rules and other safety precautions every time you step into the cab. For example, keep at least four seconds of distance between your truck and other drivers on the road and make sure that you always pass on the right.

If you have any questions about safety or driving contact us to learn more. Diesel Driving Academy proudly provides Class A CDL Training in both Louisiana and Arkansas.

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!

How to Ace Your Trucking Job Interview

 

Congratulations, you’ve earned your CDL! The hard part is out of the way. Now you need to get a job. Here’s a few tips to remember when you head out to those interview. Don’t forget to breathe, you got this!

1. Realistic expectations

Do your homework. Having realistic expectations about how much money you can expect to earn, how often you can expect to be home, and the demands of the job, are critical to your career success. If any of these things are a surprise to you during the interview, it will send up red flags. Take not if you have a preference of the type of trucking that you are most interested in, or a type of work you don’t want to do.

2. Honesty

You’ll be asked about your driving and criminal history – be honest. The carrier will check your driving and criminal history as required by law and if you weren’t honest about it you might be disqualified.

3. Research

Learn about the carrier you are interviewing with. What type of trucks do they have? Which states do they operate in? What kinds of technology do they use? How large of a carrier are they and who are their competitors? What is their mission statement are core values?

4. Dress for the Interview

You are interviewing for a trucking job, but you should still dress for an interview. Showing them how you will represent their company each time you visit a customer to pick up or deliver freight, is very important. You are a professional driver, and you could interview again soon to become a fleet manager or driver trainer.

5. Bring a Resume

You might be thinking that your new CDL is the only relevant qualification, but think about your experience and how it will make you a great driver. Military experience shows that you are no stranger to demanding hours far from home. Retail experience means that you know that the customer is what keeps the wheels turning. Kitchen experience means that you can adapt to a rapidly changing environment.

6. Prepare a list of Questions

After doing some research on the carrier you are interviewing with, prepare a list of questions you can ask during the interview. By showing your future employer that you are interested along with invested in their company, will help you stand out. They will definitely appreciate it if you show you’ve done your research!

 

Diesel Driving Academy is proud to off Class A CDL training. DDA campuses are located in Shreveport, Baton Rouge and Little Rock. To learn more, head over to our Truck Driver Training Program!

Having a CDL Means More Than Just Over-the-Road Trucking

 

Over-the-road trucking isn’t for everyone. It requires long hours, night driving, and long periods of time away from home. Some drivers want to work regular hours and be home every night. Once you have your CDL, there are options than just long-haul trucking.

  • Local: Known as intrastate, local truckers stay within state boundaries. These drivers can work in the community where they live and make it home every night. Depending on the job and company, local drivers can expect standard time off (days off between weeks of work and vacation time) and may even have weekends off.
  • Regional: Regional drivers may cross state lines (interstate), but stay within a certain designated area. These drivers aren’t too far from home and can often go home every night. Regional drivers usually have standard break and vacation times; depending on company policies.
  • Over-the-Road (OTR): Also known as long-haul truckers, these drivers travel across the country and even into neighboring countries. Long-haul truckers are away for extended periods of time and, because of this, may have longer rest periods between jobs. Extended layovers can be a part of OTR trucking.

Many companies need CDL drivers for a variety of functions. Depending on your CDL class and your endorsements, you could be a:

Regional or local delivery driver

  • Work for any number of local businesses, government entities, and organizations including: restaurants, vendors, construction companies, hospitals, mail service companies and more.

Limo driver

  • Also known as a chauffeur, limo driving isn’t all about celebrities! Limo drivers can work at airports and even drive for popular winery tours and events such as weddings and proms!

Local Bus System Driver

  • Most urban areas have an extensive bus system that operates within city limits. There are also companies that do city to city human transport, rural transport, and single/multi-day bus tours.

Company manager

  • Every company is different and you may have to pay your dues (by driving for the company) to gain the insight necessary for a management post. For some, mangement is a long-term goal. For others, it can be an option to stay in the company when they are no longer able to drive.

If you have the right qualificationsDiesel Driving Academy prepares you for any type of CDL job that you desire! You may even qualify to get pre-hired; even without any experience! Contact us today for more information!

Truck Companies Looking for More than just a CDL

 

A few years ago, we stressed the importance of going above and beyond the CDL program when applying for jobs after graduation. Now more than ever, this is important for students because of the competitive nature of jobs and growing concern for safety that trucking companies have. Make sure you’re prepared before you apply:

 

A lot of people are moving towards a career as a Commercial Truck Driver due to the growth the industry is experiencing and the shortage of professional truck drivers across the country. But many people incorrectly assume that the only thing necessary to becoming a successful Commercial Truck Driver is getting a Commercial Driving License (CDL), which experience shows is simply not the case.

Companies are looking for the best drivers possible that have the right combination of experience and knowledge. Driving commercial trucks can be a rewarding career with good pay and benefits, but the job is also demanding and requires much more than simply passing a CDL test.

“A lot of people can get a CDL, that doesn’t necessarily make them a professional truck driver,” Jim Runk, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association told CBS News 21 in Pennsylvania last month in a news release. “They have to have the skills to handle the equipment.”

Possessing a CDL is the minimum requirement necessary for prospective Commercial Truck Drivers, but many of the country’s top commercial trucking companies are also looking for truck drivers that have been taught the skills necessary to handle a commercial truck on long hauls and are able to handle a wide variety of challenges that might come up. There is a shortage of truck drivers in the country, but there are also a lot of people attempting to enter the field, which means trucking companies can be selective about the drivers they hire. A major reason for the growing shortage of truck drivers today is that many are entering retirement. That means the industry is not only losing drivers, but is losing skilled drivers that have a lot of experience on the road.

Trucking companies are unlikely to fill those lost positions with inexperienced drivers that just have a CDL. The most attractive drivers will be those that receive training from a top trucking career program, such as the Diesel Driving Academy, where students not only learn how to successfully meet CDL requirements but also understand the extra skills to safety handle commercial trucks and help companies continue to maintain a high level of trucking service.

Like any industry, truckers have to pay their dues and work their way up to more desired positions. But, as is the case in other industries, the truck drivers with the best experience and training will be the ones that have the most success in working their way up. Commercial trucking companies consider a lot of factors when hiring drivers, including safe driving habits and experience. However, being able to put a quality commercial truck driver training program, such as Diesel Driving Academy, on your résumé is also a highly important factor in helping you get your desired job.

 

Ready to take the next step?

Diesel Driving Academy is ready to help you earn your CDL. Contact us for more information on our CDL training program. DDA campuses are located in Shreveport, Baton Rouge and Little Rock.

How Hard is the CDL Driving Test?

 

Test day at DDA Shreveport

No one is born a truck driver. It takes specific instruction and lots of driving experience to confidently operate a powerful 18-wheeler. Truck driver training is not for those unwilling to go through a challenging program. It takes a winning combination of determination and courage to successfully complete the training program and pass the CDL exam.

However, men and women of every age, race, and personality credit their successful truck-driving career to their CDL training program. Although the final CDL exam can seem overwhelming and stressful, keep in mind that the CDL programs are designed to instruct new drivers with no previous experience to successfully pass the test.

 

CDL Skills Test

Driving Expectations: The driving examiner assigned to the test will be looking for correct execution in many different areas. These include: pre-trip safety check, sharp turns, backing up, maneuvering around traffic, appropriate use of mirrors, and many more. Making mistakes like not checking mirrors before merging, backing into a cone, or turning a corner too sharply will cost points on the driver evaluation. If the driver accumulates a certain number of points, he/she fails the test and will not receive a their CDL.

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 mark down notes and deductions as the drive performs 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: The best way to get ready for the CDL exam is to get behind-the-wheel training as much as possible. A well-rounded CDL program will provide prospective drivers with as much hands-on time as possible. Another great way to prepare for the exam is to go to the state’s CDL Manual. This will allows students to gather a better understanding of what maneuvers and procedures are expected during the exam.

CDL Knowledge Test

Question Expectations: The CDL Knowledge Test will ask for information regarding specific state trucking regulations and weight limitations.

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: Taking good notes and asking questions during CDL training will make the information seem less overwhelming. The state’s CDL Manual is an excellent study guide. It is packed with valuable information like truck weight limits, test-taking procedures, description of CDL class types, and much more.

 

The best thing to remember is to stay calm and remember you have trained for this. Do you still have questions about the CDL Exam or want to hear more about CDL training in the Louisiana area? DDA campuses are located in Shreveport, Baton Rouge and Little Rock. To learn more, head over to our Truck Driver Training Program!

*This blog was originally published in 2011 and has been updated to reflect current industry standards.*

Companies that Hire our Drivers