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Diesel Driving Academy Celebrates 45 Years of Success!

 

An Anniversary Message from DDA

Exactly four and a half decades ago we opened the doors of Diesel Driving Academy, and since then we have helped thousands of men and women begin their new careers as professional truck drivers.

Since the beginning, our goal was to provide students with the skills and endorsements major transportation companies are looking for in their drivers.

The focus of our CDL training programs has always included intensive classroom instruction, maneuvering and driver training, and on-the-road experience.

We have strived to establish ourselves as a leader in truck driver training, and continually update our driver training programs to grow and change with the trucking industry.

We Can’t Thank You Enough

To our staff members and instructors: Thank you. 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 sharing your many years of experience in the trucking industry, and continually networking and sharing job listings so that our students and graduates are able to make connections and launch their new careers.

To each of our many students and graduates: 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 great success story, and we can’t thank you enough for that.

You have all been a very big part of our extended family and you are instrumental to our success as a school. We hope to see you back on campus soon!

We are also thankful to each of the communities we have been – and are – a part of. We look forward to future generations who will be part of the institution’s continued growth. Again, congratulations to all!

Looking Backward as We Look Ahead

As we look back on the past 45 years, we are filled with many emotions. We are proud of the past 4+ decades well spent being dedicated to making good basic drivers of the men and women who wish to make a career in this field.

And remember: when you can drive a truck, you’ve got a job, my friend!

Thank you to everyone who submitted photos for our anniversary video. We had a great time reminiscing! if you didn’t get a chance to submit photos from your time at DDA, feel free to post and share your story on our Facebook page!

Road Maps: A Necessity for any Professional Trucker

 

Why We’re Celebrating “National ‘Read a Road Map’ Day!”

image of a caucasian male truck driver standing in front of a shiny red tractor against a blue sky with whispy cloudsThese days, professional truck drivers have many highly advanced pieces of technology at their disposal. Of course, they have access to GPS technology, which is one of the most commonly used technologies for many drivers. Truckers also have cell phones with which they can contact their dispatcher and request guidance.

GPS and cell phones have changed the way truckers operate. However, some things have remained the same. A good, reliable road map is still an absolute necessity for any professional trucker. GPS devices and cell phones may break or run out of battery power, but road maps will not.

Read below to see why, on April 5th, we are celebrating this obscure day know as “National ‘Read a Road Map’ Day!”

Road maps are reliable

One of the main advantages of road maps is that they don’t break or run out of power. These problems commonly affect GPS devices and cell phones. Many truckers carry chargers for their devices, but these chargers are easy to forget. A trucker that has a cell phone with a dead battery and no charger is in big trouble if they don’t have a paper road map. Such situations are why every professional trucker should have a comprehensive set of road maps with them at all times.

Road maps are easy to read

GPS devices and cell phones can be difficult to read. Sometimes the screens are too dim, or they reflect too much sunlight. Paper road maps don’t present this problem. They are always easy to read. Also, paper maps are much bigger than the screens on cell phones or GPS devices.

Good road maps are waterproof

Professional truckers can, and should, buy waterproofed paper maps. These maps are usually laminated for protection against the elements. Electronic devices are very susceptible to water, but laminated maps are not. Such maps can be incredibly important if the truck breaks down in a rainstorm, which many truckers will tell you happens fairly often. Rand McNally even prints maps specific for motor carriers with updated restricted routes, low clearance, and weigh station locations.

At Diesel Driving Academy, we pride ourselves on our service, and know that the right training makes all the difference in your success as a truck driver. Enroll in any of our CDL training programs, and you’ll get trip-planning knowledge from instructors with miles of experience!

If you are interested in learning more about the importance of road maps, and other fundamentals of trucking, contact us today to learn more!

Retiring Truck Drivers Means More Jobs in the ArkLaTex

 

image of the American Trucking Association (ATA) logoAccording to the American Trucking Association, for-hire trucking companies had about 50,000 fewer drivers in 2015. The shortage continued in 2016 and the ATA expects this trend to continue for years to come. Truck drivers across the nation are retiring or shying away from the profession because of the demands of the job.

A recent story by KTBS3 shows why truckers quitting means more jobs in the ArkLaTex.

“There is a population of workers that will tell you their job is to move the world. We’re talking about truckers and a number of these “world movers” across the nation are calling it quits. That means there are lots of jobs up for grabs right here in the ArkLaTex.

In our great country people don’t realize everything is moved by trucks and because of that truckers are really needed,” said 62-year-old truck driver Alonzo Brown.

At Diesel Driving Academy, we offer different CDL programs to suit individuals at various skill levels. Our school also partners with trucking companies that send recruiters in to meet with students, and most students accept a job offer even before graduation.

DDA student Alvin Breedlove has already signed up to get in on the available jobs and live the dream of moving America.

“I’ve never been out of the state of Louisiana so I wanted to travel a little bit and see what it feels like to actually get around and see nicer things because it’s a beautiful world,” said Breedlove.

We also have Financial Aid assistance programs to help cover training costs. New drivers who want to travel and are willing to put in the work will likely have a job after completing about 20 weeks of training.


Article reposted with permission from Devon Patton, Anchor KTBS3
Read the full story at KTBS.com – Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Women on the Road: Safety Tips & Tricks for Female Truckers

 

photo of a caucasian female truck driver sitting in the driver seat of her red semi truck, smiling towards the camera.

It’s exciting to be a female trucker! The freedom, your favorite music, getting the job done well- there are plenty of perks to being a woman on the open road, but there are also precautions to take to ensure your safety. Check out these tips:

Be aware of your surroundings

Keep your head up and don’t stare at your phone. When walking to your truck, be sure to walk around the end of the parking spaces, instead of walking between trucks. If you feel uneasy, don’t be afraid to ask an employee at the rest stop to walk you to your truck. If someone walks up to your truck window while you’re sitting in the parking lot, wave them on. Consider taking a self-defense class to keep yourself safe. Walking through parking lots at night can be scary, and it’s important to know that you’re physically capable of fighting off someone who tries to bother you. Many community centers offer these classes for free. If it’s legal in the states you drive through, carry pepper spray and learn how to use it properly.

Woman’s Best Friend

Do you drive for a pet-friendly carrier? Consider rescuing or adopting a dog! When walking your canine companion, be sure to do so in well-lit areas. In addition, a reflective vest for both you and your furry friend helps you remain visible to drivers. Lastly, be sure to keep plenty of water in your truck for both you and Fido.

Nighttime

When it’s time to sleep, be sure the doors are locked. Go the extra mile to secure your doors by using a ratchet strap or looping the seatbelt through the door handle. Keep an airhorn nearby so that you can alert others if someone is trying to open your door. Your CB radio makes you easy to track when you’re parked- for this reason, don’t use your radio unless you’re moving. Lastly, if you break down at night, put our your triangles and then get back in your truck, and lock the doors until help arrives.

Being a female trucker has some unique challenges, but it can be incredibly rewarding. Stay safe!

Going through CDL training gives students the skills, knowledge, experience and confidence needed to be successful in their new careers. Let Diesel Driving Academy show you firsthand what it takes to be a reliable and safe truck driver! Contact your local DDA campus today for more information. 

Source:
http://www.truckingtruth.com/truckers-forum/Topic-9072/Page-1/safety-tips-for-women-truckers
http://www.truckingtruth.com/trucking_blogs/Article-38/safety-on-the-road

Changing Gears: Becoming a Truck Driver Later in Life

 
For this article, we welcome guest blogger Joe G. to our site. We asked Joe to write for us because of his unique experience getting into the truck driving industry. For those considering a trucking career “later in life,” we hope you enjoy! ~ DDA

photo of a red semi tractor truck with a clean white cargo container trailer against a simple colorful background of trees and blue sky

When I was a kid, we would head out to a popular local truck stop after Friday night football games. They had great food, and we were always ready to eat a lot. I especially enjoyed the time there at Kelly’s because of the drivers who were always there, stopping to eat and refuel as they crossed the country time and again.

The Modern Knights

For me, these guys were like the knights of old, riding on their armor-clad steeds. Okay, so it’s not the same, but for more than 50 years since I would be driving down the interstate and checking out the many different trucks and slogans they would have painted on. More than once I got left in daydreaming about what it would be like to be in a different part of the country every day, living out of a great setup in one of the modern cabs. I even picked up trucking magazines every once in a while at the major fuel stops.

When I finally retired, I really didn’t need to work or do anything to earn income. In fact, the wife and I looked at a number of RVs to buy. I saw that as a way to finally address my wanderlust. However, I got to be good friends with a truck driver in our church – 10 years older and well past retirement age. When he talked about his love of trucking he made it clear he wasn’t going to stop driving until he physically couldn’t. He also kept telling me there was a real need for older truckers and even for team drivers.

Getting Paid to Fulfill My Dream

One day I stopped in at a local CDL school just off the interstate. Before I knew it, I was sitting at the kitchen table with my wife and going over the brochures and discussing the opportunity. I shared that we could:

  • Drive together as a team
  • Get trained and receive our CDL in just a few months
  • Drive someone else’s rig to see how we liked it, and then invest in our own specialized truck if we like it
  • Choose the type of loads we wanted to carry, what kind of routes we wanted to drive, and pretty much design our own trucking career
  • Eventually travel to all the places and sights we were planning to visit anyway

We agreed right then that this was worth checking out, and our journey began. I spent a few weeks checking out things like insurance, driver benefits, and types of commercial trucking we could consider. I was pleased to consider that we would be enjoying our form of retirement while adding to our nest egg, not drawing it down. So, we made the leap and signed up.

While we were going through training we met some couples who were a bit younger than us, but just as excited. One guy had decided he was through traveling in his sales job by himself, and another prospective driver was the victim of downsizing in the energy business. Of course, there were other individual students – from young guys just out of the military to some others looking to increase their income. There was even one kid that reminded me of those early days – he just thought he’d rather see the country than sit in a classroom.

We have just put the first 10,000 miles in our log books, and Sheila already has 35 magnets in her cities and states collection. We think it’s going to be great – even if I only imagine myself being Sir Lancelot.

Whether you are just starting out, or are changing careers later in life, if truck driving is something you’ve wanted to do for years, go for it! Why not have an adventure? Contact your local DDA campus for details on our CDL training courses, financial assistance, and job placement programs.

How much will My CDL Training Cost?

 

CDL Training Programs to Keep You on Budget

picture of Diesel Driving Academy training truck parked on the road with a sunny blue sky in the background

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.

Training Program Costs

Advanced Tractor Trailer – This program is taught four days per week (20 weeks), or five evenings per week (30 weeks), and is offered at three campus locations: Shreveport, Baton Rouge, and Little Rock. Tuition for this program is $10,700

Basic Tractor Trailer – This driver training program is offered at all four campus locations: Shreveport, Baton Rouge, Little Rock, and West Monroe. This course lasts 4 weeks for day classes and 8 weeks for night classes. Tuition is $5,900.

CDL Prep Tractor Trailer – This training program is 3 weeks, or 136 clock hours. Tuition is $4,900.

What’s covered in Tuition?

Tuition costs include the registration fee of $100. Tuition also includes:

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.

Financial Assistance is Available!

Financial aid helps pay for some or most of your tuition costs, and is available to students who qualify. Different financial aid comes in the form of government loans, grants, and personal loans. Additionally, there are financing options available to you through DDA. Many students use a combination of methods to cover the training costs including their own personal resources.

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!


Sources
dda.edu/catalogs/shpt.pdf
dda.edu/catalogs/br.pdf
dda.edu/catalogs/lr.pdf

On the Road Again: Life as an OTR Truck Driver

 

If you are looking for a new career, and you don’t want to spend your life stuck behind a desk all day, you might be one of those people with a more adventurous personality. That’s a great thing, and you should use it. In fact, you have options you might not have considered. Everyone is probably telling you to get a corporate job, but there are fun, well-paying choices that are never going to involve a suit and tie, or 8am meetings every Monday morning.

One of those choices is getting your CDL and starting a great new job as an over-the-road (OTR) truck driver. You can see all the great beauty this country has to offer, and get paid for it.

Can You Really Get Paid to Travel the Country?

You can definitely get paid to drive a semi around the country, and there are jobs that need filled right now. According to CNN Money, there were more than 200,000 open truck driving positions available in 2012, and more were coming open all the time.

Four years later, in 2016, the shortage numbers were still very similar. Why? Because it’s not a job for everyone. A lot of people want to be home on the weekends, or they have family obligations. They may just not be the adventurous type, or they get bored driving. If you enjoy driving and don’t mind having adventures away from home, though, trucking can be a great choice.

That same CNN article goes on to say that the median salary for a truck driver is just over $37,000 per year, with the top 10% of truck drivers making $58,000 or above. Some become owner operators, and they have the potential for six-figure incomes.

Truck drivers who are committed to what they do take it seriously, and they enjoy it, as well. Yes, the hours can be long and the schedule can be erratic, but those are just a couple of the reasons that people who aren’t looking for a desk job do so well as OTR truck drivers. There’s always something new to see or do.

Do You Really Want to Sit Behind a Desk All Day?

picture of the view of a highway from the drivers perspective of a semi truck

This could be your office.

You could sit behind the wheel, instead, and enjoy ever-changing scenery instead of staring at four walls, a tiny cubicle, or a computer screen. Whether you get hired on with a big, nationally known company or you choose a smaller local option that will keep you a little bit closer to home, companies are looking for good drivers.

Getting your CDL will take some time and effort, along with a little bit of money, but once you have it you can go anywhere. It’s like a ticket to freedom. Don’t spend your life behind a desk, feeling bored and not getting to have fun. Get behind the wheel instead, so you can see the country, meet new people, travel around, and really appreciate all the great things that working as an OTR truck driver can offer.

If you’re ready to get on the road, let us know! The right training makes a world of difference. Plus, getting your CDL training from Diesel Driving Academy means you’ll benefit from our full time Job Placement assistance – for life! Classes are starting soon, make sure you register today! Give us a call at 1-800-551-8900.


Sources
http://money.cnn.com/2012/07/24/news/economy/trucking-jobs/
https://www.indeed.com/salaries/Owner-Operator-Driver-Salaries

Winter Weather Driving Tips … For Southern Drivers

 

You have undoubtedly heard the jokes about Southern drivers told by your brethren above the Mason Dixon Line. They believe folks in the South cannot drive in the snow and ice. They have mental images of Southerners swerving about and running off the road. Well, to a degree, this perception is true.

In wintry weather all havoc breaks loose. Do you recall the Atlanta Snow Jam of 2014? Kids were stuck on school buses. Cars got abandoned after running out of gas while sitting in traffic for hours. The Governor had to proclaim a state of emergency.

The reality is things get dicey in bad weather. However, things can be much different. Southerners can better survive wintry roads by following some simple rules.

Watch Out for Black Ice

It is important to pay attention to and be aware of black ice. This thin layer of ice covers winter roads, making them extremely slippery.

The moniker “black ice” comes from the transparency of the covering. When driving fast, a motorist can easily miss the hard to distinguish glare. For this reason, it is highly important for you to drive a bit more slowly in wintry weather. Take it easy and keep an eye out for icing.

Be especially vigilant when the temperature is below 32 degrees and there is precipitation falling. Look for patches of gloss along the road.

Brake Earlier and Gradually

Southerners are used to driving fast and, then, stopping on a dime when necessary. Doing so is more problematic for you in the snow.

Vehicles often continue moving with inertia when snow is on the ground. The normal friction between road and tires is affected by the layer of snow. So, it is necessary to brake earlier and more gradually. Otherwise, the odds of you running into something or somebody increase significantly.

Maintain a Safe Distance

Tailgating like a NASCAR driver is not recommended on most days but certainly not in the snow or ice.

Maintain an exaggerated following distance during winter weather. Normally, motorists should stay about three seconds behind others. Triple this time to nine seconds, in general, during inclement winter weather.

De-Ice Surfaces

Be sure to have some rock salt available to de-ice surfaces that are covered with large amounts of ice. Unfortunately, most cities are ill-prepared to deal with snow and icing. Few own the large fleets of winter plows found up North. This task falls upon all responsible motorists.

Think you could safely drive a 18-wheeler in winter conditions? Thousands of drivers do so every year, but more drivers are needed. If you’re ready to get behind the wheel of a big truck, learn from master certified instructors at Diesel Driving Academy who will teach you how to safely maneuver a truck in all weather conditions. Classes are always forming, but call today so we can save you a spot in our next one! 1-800-551-8900.


Sources:
http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/black-ice-driving-dangers/22052530
http://www.smartmotorist.com/traffic-and-safety-guideline/maintain-a-safe-following-distance-the-3-second-rule.html
http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2014/02/best-ice-melts/index.htm
http://www.ajc.com/news/photos-aerial-shots-atlanta-snow-jam/l4M1ag7MgqaV0iPaCoJUGP/
http://www.ajc.com/news/big-snowjam-blunders-that-made-atlanta-national-joke/j0iOUBMsNFwM04x3Td2moK/

Trucking Industry Outlook 2017

 

The trucking industry has a lot to look forward to in 2017. One of the key indicators is corporate profit which swelled to $50.1 Billion in the third quarter of 2016 up from $5.6 Billion in the second quarter of 2016. In other words, that kind of growth is sustainable even as we wait for the data from the fourth quarter of 2016.

What that means for trucking is more demand for goods as stores as retailers replenish their stock and manufacturers begin ordering raw materials.

Truck Driving and New Jobs

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that heavy and tractor-trailer truck driver employment should grow by five percent through the 2024 cycle. For one thing, they expect to see nearly 100,000 new jobs open up for truck drivers by 2024. What is not talked about is the aging factor of current truck drivers. According to the American Trucking Association, the median age of truck drivers who do over-the-road trucking is 49. What that shows us is that age plays a role in the truck driver shortage.

The Trucking Industry Needs Young Drivers

The industry is not recruiting new drivers at a fast enough rate to replace the drivers who are retiring. What that means for the youth of today, is that this is an industry that needs young drivers. Another odd statistic that emerged from the American Trucking Association is that female drivers are sorely under-represented in trucking. Currently, female truck drivers make up about six percent of the total population of those who drive trucks.

While 2017 gets underway, the data from 2016 paints a fairly clear picture. Even with the current political climate, the outlook for trucking is good. If the Gross Domestic Product continues to grow then expect businesses to need more goods and that means that the population of existing truck drivers we continue to be in short supply. For younger drivers, include women, the drive to replace existing drivers is strong. What that means is that the job outlook for the truckers is warming for 2017 and beyond.

Get your start in the trucking industry and get quality Job Placement assistance with CDL training from Diesel Driving Academy. Request free information today, or give us a call at 1-800-551-8900.

Arkansas to Shorten Wait Time for CDL Exam

 

By: David Elfin
Staff Reporter, Transport Topics
November 30, 2016

Arkansas truck driving students have had a problem.

There were too many of them ready take the state’s skills test to earn their commercial driving licenses for the number of examiners or exam slots available. Arkansas Aims to Lessen Wait for CDL Exams

So potential drivers were waiting an average of three weeks to be tested, a lengthy period for those who had left a job or were unemployed.

There’s also concern about the deterioration of the skills they had learned in driving school.

“We had some of our students scheduled for orientation at Arkansas carriers and we couldn’t get ’em tested so the carriers [complained],” said Bruce Busada, president of the Diesel Driving Academy in Little Rock.

“Everybody’s cutting budgets, but these states don’t realize they’re hurting themselves more when they cut something like this because they’re keeping people in their own state from getting high-paying jobs.”

 

Continue reading this article at: www.ttnews.com

© Transport Topics, American Trucking Associations Inc.
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