Truckers: CDL Paradox!

I have considered the idea of getting a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) just for the privledge of driving a small, delivery van for some employer. The paradox is this:

a) I don’t own such a vehicle, but the prospective employer does.
b) I cannot be hired without acquiring a CDL.
c) I cannot acquire a CDL without said vehicle in which to pass the driving test…

As you can see, it is a clear-cut case of the chicken and the egg! How does this work? What if I were trying out to drive a big-rig? Would the driving school lend me a big-rig? Would the driving instructor go with me?

Commercial Truckers, large and small, please help!

  • Jinx

The driving school certainly won’t just lend you a truck as they are rather pricey but will provide one along witn an instructor so you can get your CDL.

Check out your local community college. They may have cheap Class B training (which is what I assume you need).

If not, bite the bullet and get your Class A which allows you to operate anything (except motorcycles, of course).

I have a Class B CDL which I got to become a schoolbus driver, which I no longer am. Our local college has a CDL licence prep course which I took before the actual school board training. The prep course, while only classroom work, was well worth its modest cost, about $40.

By the time the training at the schoolbus compound started I knew all the general stuff, just had to learn the info specific to schoolbuses. Several other people from the college class were in the school class and a couple only stayed long enough to get the license then quit. If you stayed and drove as a substitute for at least several months the training was free, otherwise you were charged for it.

You have just become an instructive lesson as to why there is a shortage of truck drivers in North America. Presently the trucking industry is looking at a shortfall of 250,000 drivers, and it’s getting worse.

It’s expensive to get an A or AZ license, and it’s hard to get employed with a reputable and safe carrier even when you do get the license.

I heartily second the idea of looking into community colleges, which tend to be the most common and reasonable option for getting A and B class licenses. Even then, the A license would cost you a few bux, though.

That’s not why there’s a shortage. There’s a shortage because the job sucks (unless you actually enjoy alternating periods of boredom and terror, along with watching your gut spread and feeling your ass go to sleep).

Note: IANATD, but I have driven hundreds of miles at a time in relatively comfortable and maneuverable cars, and the thought of doing that in a truck is horrendous enough, even without the notion of doing it again next week, and the week after that.

I always get a kick out of the cynicism of this. Some figure in a major industry (say, for example, aerospace) will say that there’s a shortage of such-and-such kind of worker, omigod the nation’s going to collapse, we need to train more workers, blahblahblah.

What they really mean is that there’s a shortage of workers at the crummy pay they’re willing to offer. Somehow the free market concept of offering more money to attract more people to the field never quite seems to occur to them…

When you go to a school to get your CDL class A a truck to take the road test in is usually part of the course. With a smaller truck that does not require as much training it’s a little more difficult, but as others have said - check the local truck driving schools or community collages for drivng courses. You will probably need some training and practice in a truck before you take the road test anyway.

Many companys will be willing to help you get your CDL if you aready work for them. For example you could start out driving a truck that only required a regular license and the company might help you get your CDL to drive a bigger truck for them. At some companys if you work as a drivers helper (to help unload) the comany will be willing to help you out if you want to get your CDL.

There’s a driving school on 14th St. that will, in fact, provide you with a big rig with which to take your test. Also, your very first lesson is on the streets of midtown Manhattan.

And as a moderatorial aside, the question of wages and quality of life of truck drivers is for another forum. Thanks.