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What to get into Truck driving

Hey Mike and Vicki,


My name is Mark Mongeon I am currently working in Afghanistan as a contractor. I want to drive trucks and go back to the good old U.S.A.
First off my wife and I are followers of the Lord Jesus Christ He is first in our lives as i have read for you guys as well. I have the G.I bill to use to go to truck driving school. I was thinking of trying to get on with U.S Express and wanted to ask how Mike liked driving for them? Do they have a paperless log book system? I would like that and also like the fact U.S Express has automatic transmissions. I don't mind the manual one but would rather save my left leg from driving all the time and i think that it would help you from getting tired quicker. So, let me know and anything else i may need to know. My email is {email address deleted}.

Thanks,
Mark

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Response from Vicki:

Hi, Mark,

Thank you for your question. Actually, Mike and I both drove for U.S. Xpress for a little over a year. Back then, the trucks were not automatics and they had no Jake brakes (engine brakes). Things have changed since then but we haven't kept up with all of the changes that have happened internally since we left in 1995.

Two ways to learn more about them are:

First, to learn what they offer as a company, visit their website. If they don't answer all of the burning questions on your mind (such as we have suggested on our recruiters page), feel free to ask.

Second, don't just take the recruiter's word for it. Visit trucking message boards (or forums) to learn from current and former drivers for the company what is going on. You may get quite a variety of answers depending upon their experiences. Any rose-colored glasses you may have on will surely come off at this point.

Also, make sure you know if the company has primarily solo- or team-based freight. I could be wrong, but I seem
to recall that "USX" had mostly team freight these days. If you don't want to team up with someone, you might want to consider getting a truck driving job with another carrier.

Mike is empathetic when it comes to "saving his left leg" (or even his right leg) when it comes to a lot of stop-and-go traffic when using the clutch and fuel pedal. Long haul trucking companies usually have their drivers on long road stretches with as little in-city driving as possible. LTL (less-than-truckload) carriers and local truck driving jobs usually require more use of the clutch.

From what we've read, professional truck drivers are split on electronic log books (e-logs or EOBRs, electronic on-board recorders): some love them, others hate them. We have never used them, so we can't comment on them. We can well imagine that carriers that used to want to get drivers to do things that they were not supposed to do (because they were out of hours) -- who now have EOBRs in their trucks -- can no longer get drivers to "fudge" on their numbers. Of course, the FMCSA is scheduled to publish the new Hours of Service regulations later this month and who knows what will happen then.

Please do not limit your choices. If you can go to an independent truck driver training school instead of company-paid CDL training, you will have the freedom not to lock yourself to a particular company.

Mike suggests that you look for a trucking company that has a "military transition" type of program that is well suited for those who are phasing out of the military and into professional truck driving. He says that he thinks J.B. Hunt and Schneider National both have programs like this. Be sure to research this on your own.

We wish you well in your new career choice as you become a truck driver. Please feel free to contact us later on to let us know how things are going for you.

When you get there, we wish you safe travels and lots of money saving opportunities on the road.

Best regards,
Vicki Simons

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