Truck Driver Training – Needs Improvement

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I’ve spent a few years in the area of new truck driver training. Working with these new drivers coming into the business gives you some good insight into what they are getting out of these truck driver training schools. I have seen guys and gals come in with skills and abilities that were frankly, all over the place. Some of the students that land in my truck don’t realize what they are getting into. And some of them have done their due diligence when it comes to their truck driver training. If the government ever gets their act together, new truck driver training programs and initiatives would be a fantastic place for them to spend some time. It always makes me laugh that our government cares about steroids in sports or why they can’t even pay their own personal taxes. Why don’t we spend some time doing something positive like passing a farm bill or reforming our FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) regulations to support better truck driver training programs?

The first area of concern when it comes to new truck driver training is the time aspect. It almost seems like a get rich quick scheme sometimes and I’m not even sure who is supposed to be getting rich off of the deal? Is it the student who is going through the vocational training or is it the truck driver training school? Who’s pumping out the students as if their building were hemorrhaging at the seams? I don’t think that adequate time is spent with the new guys and gals in their truck driver training programs. I know I didn’t get more than a few hours in the driver’s seat of a Big Rig before I got hired by a company. I remember spending more time going backwards in a dirt lot rather than going forward learning the skills you need to have to control that big truck.

The second area of concern that I see is the variation of the material presented. Obviously we have come a long way with the standardizing testing and licensing exam you have to take to get your CDL (commercial driver’s license). However, I do believe that most of this is presented as an information “pump-and-dump” and the retention of this information is fairly small. And then on top of that you have truck driver training schools selectively picking worksheets and videos to present to the class. For me at least, I do not think that it’s good to give one truck driver different information than the other. I’m certainly not proposing the government take over all of the truck driver training schools out there. However, I do believe there is major room for improvement when it comes to the material presented and what it takes for the student to progress  through the class.

The third and last area of concern we will address in this article is truck driver training when they get to the company trainer. I’ve had way too many students to count on two hands and two feet that have come to me absolutely unprepared. I believe that this unpreparedness stems from lack of phase testing at their truck driver training schools. Also, the student not being fully prepared for the lifestyle that is trucking concerns me also. The strong majority of the students that have failed on my truck and others have had an unrealistic view of what trucking was to begin with. I don’t believe that we can completely fault the truck driver training schools for this. However, the new drivers need to take advantage of the information that’s available to them and take the time to digest this information before they find themselves in a bad situation.

So what can you do to help yourself make the best out of your truck driver training? Well first off, I would check out some of our books and take the time to read through our blog. This will give you a good perspective of all aspects of the trucking industry. Then,  I would start doing some Google searches for different topics related to truck driver training. I would try to gather as much information as possible about trucking before I made the plunge. Honestly, trucking isn’t always a clear smooth road. However, I have created a great living and rewarding life for my family because of trucking. I’ve also experienced the pure awesomeness when you teach a new guy or gal how to truck and this new skill improves their life and the lives of their family. It’s truly something special to see someone improve their personal life just by teaching them a new skill.

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