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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.*

How You Can Benefit from Truck Driving School

 

Trucks at DDA for students to train on

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA), “Driving a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) requires a higher level of knowledge, experience, skills, and physical abilities than that required to drive a non-commercial vehicle.” A driver has to pass both skills and knowledge testing in order to obtain a CDL license. There are many benefits to attending a truck driving school (academy) to learn to drive a CMV.
 

A driving school can prepare you for all aspects of CDL license testing, including:

  • vehicle inspection
  • basic controls exam
  • road test

 
A fully licensed driver may be required to obtain additional training permits, known as endorsements, to haul specific materials. Academy training specialists at a truck driving school, can teach you about the complex rules and current regulations of the CMV industry.

A truck driving school has the resources and knowledge to help you get what you need to obtain and to keep your CDL; things such as:

  • Medical requirements
  • Endorsements
  • Legally required paperwork
  • Electronic logging devices

So why choose Diesel Driving Academy (DDA)?

  • DDA is a truck driving school that specializes in training drivers to obtain a Class A CDL license.
  • DDA is accessible with multiple locations in both Louisiana and Arkansas.
  • At Diesel Driving Academy, specialized staff can offer assistance entering the workplace after you obtain your license.
  • DDA provides veteran-specific and other financial aid assistance.
  • Diesel Driving Academy is fully accredited by Commission of the Council on Occupational Education (COE), and licensed by the State of Louisiana Board of Regents.

 
Let DDA help you earn the skills and gain the knowledge to achieve, use, and retain your Class A CDL! Diesel Driving Academy offers truck driver training in Louisiana and Arkansas. Check now to see if you possess the requirements needed to apply. Our admissions team can answer any questions you may have during your journey to a new career!

Celebrating National Truck Driver Week

 

picture of Hispanic and African American truck drivers standing in front of semi-trucks.

It seems like every year we celebrate more and more holidays. Some are a little silly, like National Chocolate Milkshake Day on September 12th. Others, such as National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, highlight often overlooked and under-appreciated members of the workforce. This week choose to celebrate the men and women who help keep America running, our truck drivers.

Brief History of NTDAW

For 29 years National Truck Driver Appreciation Week celebrations has put the spotlight on some of the hardest workers our country has to offer. The American Trucking Association, ATA, started National Truck Driver Appreciation week because truck drivers were often overlooked as vital members of the workforce.

Without truck drivers, most stores and warehouses would be empty. Retail as we know it would not exist.

Through long hours and countless miles, these drivers keep the economy moving forward. The week-long celebration often stretches into several weeks or even a month for many of the companies that interact regularly with truck drivers.

Perks For Drivers

This year is no exception. Several national chain truck stops, including Love’s Travel Stops and Pilot Flying J, are extending their driver appreciation celebrations through all of September.

Love Travel Shops will be giving out bonus “My Love” points to frequent customers and Pilot Flying J has been celebrating drivers since August 24th with similar points-program bonuses.

Additionally, many companies in the trucking industry are hosting events to benefit truck drivers.

National Truck Driver Appreciation Week is September 10th to September 16th. Make sure to take the time the week to thank truck drivers for their hard work and dedication.

Interested in joining the hardest working sector of American industry? Diesel Driving Academy is ready to help! DDA offers Class A CDL Training in Louisiana and Arkansas. Campuses are located in Shreveport, Baton Rouge and Little Rock. To learn more, head over to our Admissions page!

Truck Drivers Income: What Can I Make in My First Year?

 

Truck Drivers Income:

Both local and long-distance truck driving is a growing career of choice for many people as consumer demand across the US grows. The question, however, is what will a truck driver actually make for their work? Income determines the jobs many people are willing to do, so let’s delve into the pay for truckers in the US today.

What Does a Beginning Trucker Make? 

A trucker beginning with a company in their first year can make quite a range of pay, and many things can factor into a truck driver’s pay including the following:

  • The Company Being Worked For: Some companies pay more or less than other companies as in any industry. The company you choose to work for may alter the pay from the “standard” for the industry to fit their business model.
  • The Size Load You Haul: Larger or smaller loads may pay less or more than the typical “median” pay for the industry” as it requires different licensing and training to haul different sized loans.
  • The Distance Driven: Sometimes local-versus-long-distance drivers might be paid differently depending on the miles driven and a number of hours that requires of driving per week.
  • Location: Some states may pay more than others, it depends on the cost of living, the going rates, and the area that
  • What You Are Hauling: Drivers hauling dangerous materials or materials of high value may be paid more than those carrying more traditional items. Every company will vary in how they handle the pay for hauling different loads.

The driver will ultimately have to study the pay scale for the size loads they haul and the company they work for to determine their exact pay each year.

What Qualifications Does One Have to Have to Be a Trucker?

Truckers must obtain the following to be qualified for a driving job:

  • a CDL or other license required to operate the vehicles you will drive
  • a clean driving record
  • a complete background check
  • a drug test

Additional requirements may be different based on the company and state in which you are driving.

Generally, the US Department of Labor states that as of May 2016 the average income for a truck driver who hauled heavy and tractor-trailer trucks in the US sat at $41,340.

Does Pay Rise Over Time?

Yes, as truck drivers gain “seniority” or move on to hauling dangerous materials and bigger loads they will receive higher wages. These numbers are for an entry-level, first-year truck driver. Senior drivers may command more pay from the beginning, depending on the company.

 

Interested in becoming a truck driver? Diesel Driving Academy offers Class A CDL Training in Louisiana and Arkansas. DDA campuses are located in Shreveport, Baton Rouge and Little Rock. To learn more, head over to our Truck Driver Training Program!

Solar Eclipse and Traffic Jams for Truck Drivers

 

Understanding the Solar Eclipse:

By now, you have likely heard of the solar eclipse that will be occurring on Monday, August 21. For those of you that do not know what a total solar eclipse is, let us explain. On Monday, the moon will pass between the Earth and the sun, completely covering the sun’s rays. For those living in the United States, it will be darkness during the middle of the day. It will begin on the West Coast around 10:30 PDT (1:20 EST) and conclude on the East Coast at 11:50 PDT (2:50 EST). Anyone along the path from Oregon to South Carolina will be able to witness the eclipse. According to NASA, the last time the entire U.S. saw exposed to a total eclipse was in 1979. To learn more and to see eclipse maps, visit NASA’s website.

According to Quartz, in addition to an increased number of travelers gearing up to experience this occurrence, nearly 200 million people live in close proximity to the eclipse’s path. Due to this rare siting, interstate congestion is expected to be atrocious. Many states are already warning truckers to be cautious and plan ahead in their routes, because traffic jams will likely occur.

How will this Affect Truckers:

Several states and trucking companies have adjusted their freight schedules to avoid to inevitable traffic jams. Trucking companies are encouraging truck drivers to take alternate routes to avoid congested areas during the Monday solar eclipse. If there is not leeway along your suggested route and you must travel through these areas, make sure to have a full tank of gas and extra food because you could be sitting for a significant period of time.

According to Transport Topics, many state officials are telling drivers not to stop on interstates to watch the eclipse. Truckers should also note that Oregon is prohibiting truck drivers with extra-wide loads from traveling from August 18-22.

Please continue to stay alert and in contact with your carrier for regular updates on the solar eclipse. Plan for potential traffic congestion whether you are in the eclipse’s path or not, but also remember to enjoy this siting. Stay smart, and be SAFE!

 

Interested in becoming a truck driver? Diesel Driving Academy offers Class A CDL Training in Louisiana and Arkansas. DDA campuses are located in Shreveport, Baton Rouge and Little Rock. Check out our locations to learn more!

A Quick Guide to Getting a Class A CDL

 

So you’ve made the decision to go to trucking school to get your class A CDL, and now you are trying to decide which one is the best fit for you. We wanted to help you with that, so here is a quick guide to the process at Diesel Driving Academy.

What It Takes to Get Into Diesel Driving Academy

Like any school, we have requirements you will need to meet before you are admitted as a student. For DDA, they include:

  • possession of a current driver’s license
  • your 21st birthday on or before the day you graduate from DDA
  • an acceptable driving record
  • passing your DOT physical and drug screenings
  • meeting the DOT qualifications for truck operators – find them here

What To Expect During School

Diesel Driving Academy’s CDL Prep Course is three weeks and 136 hours of intensive training in and out of the classroom. This is what your course list will look like in your time here:

  • Intro to Trucking – a brief introduction of what you will be studying, plus discussions about the trucking industry and DOT qualifications
  • Hours of Service/Log Book –  going through hours of service regulations, as well as the driver’s daily log and log books
  • Competency Development – studying competency areas for your test at DMV, including air brakes and combination vehicles
  • Backing Maneuvers – Basic procedures for operating vehicles and tractor-trailers
  • Vehicle Maneuvers – More advances procedures for operating vehicles and tractor trailers as well as shifting and driving vehicles
  • Vehicle Inspection – Methods and documentation for inspections

For a more detailed break-down of the program, including the amount of time you’ll spend in on the classroom and lab components, click here.

If you have any questions or are interested in getting started with our program, contact us today.

Earn Money to Drive: How to get a CDL in Arkansas

 

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, truck driver jobs are one of the fastest growing professions not only in Arkansas, but the United States as a whole. The reason for this is the high demand for consumer goods in all fifty states. Manufactured goods and imports are hauled over the road in all fifty states. As a result of this demand for CDL drivers, accredited truck driver schools are enrolling new students at a rapid rate.

Commercial truck drivers earn a substantial income, usually in excess of $50,000 the first year. Most major carriers also offer medical, dental, and retirement benefits to drivers and their families. Some outfits even allow family trucking packages, which allow drivers to bring a spouse, children, and pets on trips. Partner driving between spouses is also encouraged at some companies.

You can’t just jump into a semi and start driving. A truck driving career begins with an education. This program will teach you the essentials of semi truck operation, pre-trip inspection, effective loading, and laws for truck drivers. Because trucks travel all over the United States, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates safety and travel laws for semi trucks. This organization makes sure truck drivers are in compliance, no matter which state the truck is traveling in.

You might be wondering how to get a CDL in Arkansas. There are several steps you must complete:

-Be at least 18 years old with a valid Arkansas driver’s license. Drivers under 21 will be restricted to driving only within the state of Arkansas. Drivers over 21 will be permitted to travel across state lines.

-Provide proof of U.S. citizenship

Allowable documents include: Valid U.S. Passport, Birth Certificate, Certificate of Naturalization

-Proof of Arkansas address including full name and address on document

-Driving record check going back 10 years

-$50 test fee

If this is the first CDL you have ever applied for, you will be issued a Commercial Learner’s Permit. Under a CLP, you will be required to pass a written test, ride with and drive under the supervision of a licensed commercial driver, then take a CDL test. The CDL test includes a pre-inspection test, a vehicle control test, and an on-road driving test. This will be easy to do if you have completed a training program with an accredited CDL preparation program.

Truck driving is a rewarding career. You get to travel the country, spend time with your family, and earn a substantial income. Call your local truck driving school to get enrolled in the next training class. Within a few weeks, you will have a new career.

Why Get a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)?

 

When you think about a driver’s license, you might think about the standard driver’s license that gives you permission to operate your personal vehicle. However, for many, going to school to get a commercial driver’s license can be a great move. These are a few reasons why you might want to consider it.

Stay Out of a Stuffy Office

Who wants to be stuck in a stuffy office all day long, day in and day out? If you’ve got your commercial driver’s license, you won’t have to worry about sitting in a cubicle all day. Instead, you can be out and about as a part of your regular work schedule.

Explore

Depending on the type of gig that you look for when you get your commercial driver’s license, you might be able to experience new places as a truck driver. For example, many truckers drive across the country all the time or head into Canada or Mexico as a part of their jobs. It can be a great way to see things that you’ve never seen before and to really expand your horizons.

Open Up Tons of New Opportunities

Not being able to find a job can be tough. If you’ve got your commercial driver’s license, however, you can open up a ton of new opportunities for yourself. You can choose a job that requires you to simply drive around town, or you can look for a long-distance driving job. You can choose to work for a trucking company, or you can start your own business as an owner-operator. The opportunities are pretty much endless!

As you can probably see, there are many reasons why getting a commercial driver’s license can be a wonderful thing. If you’d like to find out more about going to school to get your CDLcontact us at Diesel Driving Academy today.

Companies that Hire our Drivers