Frequently Asked Questions
A. You can read my Student Trucker Horror Story by clicking here: A Day in the Life of a Lady Trucker which is located on Allen Smith’s (www.askthetrucker.com) website . Make sure you scroll all the way to the bottom of the comments section to click the blue link that says “click here to read all xxx comments before start to read the story, the beginning starts at the top of the comment thread.
Q. Why did you write your story that way?
A. When I was asked to share my story I did not own a laptop and wrote most of it using a cellphone as comments. The story took off so fast I never had a chance to edit it or make it easier to read. It takes about 2 days to read entirely and it is still relevant to 2013 truck driver training and CDL Mill training as it was when I wrote it in 2008 to 2009
Q. I want to be a trucker, can you give me advice on how to proceed?
A. I am asked this question all of the time on my you tube channel and in private emails. The best advice I can offer is first to look for a community college program in your area. They are cheaper and do better training. Stay away from 3 or 4 week courses if at all possible. Recognize that student truck drivers are a business and so they are going to try to get you to pay whatever they can. The price may be negotiable and you will not get any better basic skills paying $13,000 than you will paying $3500 There are LOTS of scams in CDL training so beware.
Q. What about going to a CDL School at a Training Carrier?
A. There are some truck driver training carriers who will take someone off the street and do their preliminary training in exchange for a commitment to work off the tuition. This can be a good thing or a bad thing. Beware of CR England, I cannot say this enough because they advertise everywhere and are always looking for people who have no clue on how they exploit student truckers. At this time I will say to check out USA Truck but know they do have a hiring area. Swift has an internal school also that might work for you. I have also been hearing positive remarks about Knight Transportation but they may require you have your CDL first. Understand that you will work your buns off so be ready to commit to the lifestyle.
Q. What are you doing now? Are you still driving?
A. I have returned to driving after some time off from a fall. My primary focus though at this time is developing a Women Truckers group of virtual mentors in conjunction with the “REAL Women in Trucking” group. We have launched a new blog talk radio program that is the 1st trucking radio program hosted by real women truck drivers “Women Truckers Network – Blog Talk Radio Program”
Q. What training carriers do you recommend?
A. As I mentioned above, USA Truck , Knight Transportation are two I suggest. On a recent episode of our blog talk radio program with three recent female CDL students, Halvor Lines and H.O.Wolding were mentioned as good starter carriers. These are only suggestions, I do not endorse any training carriers because you can have a bad or good situation anywhere, it really depends on what you can tolerate. Your trainer and internal support at the carrier have a lot to do with this. This is not streamlined and the communication in big carriers is really poor. A bad dispatcher, trainer or team driver can destroy your career so be diligent to do your homework before you commit to any carrier. Also, some people are not cut out for trucking and do not get that until they are out on the road. Make sure you understand that there is no silver bullet in truck driver training. As a rule stay away from any carrier that has a lease program associated with training or expects a long period of team driving as part of their training. This is setting you up to fail. You might also look into Schneider National or ROEHL.
Q. What Carriers Should I avoid?
A. I receive complaints most frequently about CR England, CRST Van Expedited, Covenant Transport, US Xpress and Prime, Inc because of the team driving and unethical lease programs. The team driving business model places people of unknown origins in close intimate living and working conditions which are unsafe. This is particularly dangerous for women entering trucking. The one sided lease programs pushed on entry level drivers are another big problem. Other issues include not being taught to shift or do a paper log book which can seriously handicap your future in trucking. You want to learn how to do all aspects of the job so do not commit to a training carrier who is not teaching you everything you need to know and only teaching you how to work for them. This will make you have trouble later when you want to switch carriers.
Please visit http://www.REALWomeninTrucking.com for upcoming announcements on our group activities and my contact information.