CDL Training Resources & Truck Driver Career News

Helpful Information About CDL Training & Trucking Jobs

Check out this selection of news articles, training resources, and other helpful information about the trucking industry to learn more about your career choices and how to prepare for in-demand job opportunities in trucking. Then, when you’re ready to get started with your CDL Training, give us a call! 1-800-835-2540 or if you’re in the Twin Cities area, call 651-528-8994

  • Will the Drive Safe Act Improve Trucking?

    The Drive Safe Act is a piece of legislation that was introduced to Congress last year. It is supported by both the American Trucking Associations and the International Foodservice Distributors Association. If passed it will have a major impact on the current driver shortage.

    The Problem

    The American Trucking Associations estimates that the trucking industry is currently 50,000 drivers short, and that number could potentially reach as high as 175,000 drivers by 2026. This is a major problem for the foodservice distribution industry that relies on these trucks to deliver tens of thousands of products each day. Adding to the issue is the age restrictions currently placed on drivers. You can earn a CDL when you are 18, but drivers are not allowed to cross state lines until they are 21. This causes the industry to lose potential drivers who choose other career paths out of high school.

    The Drive Safe Act

    The Drive Safe Act will allow drivers to cross state lines at 18, as long as they complete a two part apprenticeship. The drivers will be required to complete 400 hours of on duty time and 240 hours of drive time with an experienced driver in the cab. Additionally, trucks used in the program will be required to have certain safety features such as, an active braking system, a forward facing camera and speed governed at 65 mph or less.

    The Effect on Trucking

    If the Drive Safe Act passes it will help reduce the driver shortage. It will allow people to obtain their CDL and begin their apprenticeship right out of high school. It will open up higher paying jobs to younger drivers, making a trucking career more appealing to them. It will also make the industry safer through it's new training requirements. To learn more about how this Act will impact your trucking career, contact us today.
  • Which one is More Beneficial to you?

    The differences between a Class A and a Class B CDL are the vehicles they let you operate different classes (and weights) of motor vehicles depending on what your job requirements happen to include. The federal government has even passed the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act to set minimum requirements for drivers of large vehicles and the training and CDL that they must hold to be allowed to drive certain vehicles. We train students for their Class A CDL because of the variety of job opportunities it allows for. However, it's important to know what each class allows so you can make the best decision for your career. In this blog post will take a look at the difference between the Class A & Class B CDL and what each one will allow you to do.

    Class A CDL:

    Your Class A CDL will allow you to operate a variety of different motor vehicles that a regular commercial driver's license wouldn't let you operate. Your Class A CDL will allow you to drive combination vehicles such as a semi-tractor and trailer or with combined gross weights of 26,001 or more. You will also be able to drive a trailer that weighs 10,000 pounds or more. You might need special endorsements to drive certain vehicles such as those carrying toxic waste or those with a certain number of passengers. The following are examples of some of the different types of vehicles you might drive on a Class A CDL:
    • Tractor trailers
    • Truck and trailer combinations
    • Tractor trailer buses
    • Tanker vehicles
    • Flatbed vehicles
    • Most Class B and Class C vehicles can get driven on a Class A CDL

    Class B CDL:

    Your Class B CDL will let you operate a variety of different motor vehicles that a regular commercial driver's license won't let you operate. Your Class B CDL will let you drive single vehicles that weigh 26,001 pounds or more in gross weight. It allows you to operate a trailer vehicle that weighs more than 10,000 pounds. The following types of vehicles can get driven on a Class B CDL:
    • Straight trucks
    • Large buses (i.e., large city or school buses)
    • Box trucks
    • Dump trucks
    • Some Class C vehicles with the correct endorsements

    Class A & B CDL, What's the Difference?

    A Class A CDL gives you more flexibility in driving different types of vehicles and lets you drive almost all of the vehicles that a Class B license allows you to drive. If you are looking for maximum flexibility in the vehicles you drive, the Class A CDL is probably the best fit for you.

    Endorsements for Class A CDL Drivers:

    Being able to haul hazardous loads, driving double trailers, or other variable requires special endorsements on your CDL. It is up to the driver to know and understand the laws requiring endorsements and to ensure that you obtain any endorsements required to drive the vehicles you do and to be in compliance with the law. Our jobs is to help you determine which endorsements will be beneficial to you in your career. The following list includes some of the most common endorsements, what the driver must do to get them, and the vehicles that they become required for if you wish to drive them as part of your job:
    • H Endorsement: required if you will be driving vehicles containing hazardous materials and includes a written knowledge test to receive the endorsement
    • N Endorsement: permits drivers to drive vehicles with tanks on them and also requires a written knowledge test to receive the endorsement
    • T Endorsement: permits drivers to drive a double or triple trailer and requires the driver to pass an additional knowledge test to receive this endorsement
    • X Endorsement: permits drivers to drive vehicles that transport HAZMAT materials or vehicles that are tankers and the driver must pass a knowledge test to receive this endorsement.
    Obtaining these endorsements before you begin driving the vehicles that require them is the appropriate way to go. It ensures that you comply with the laws in your area and ensures that you are not subject to disciplinary actions if you do not follow these laws. For more information on which endorsements you can get with your CDL, talk to your admissions officer or your CDL instructor. We will be happy to help you decide which ones are the best for your career goals. In most cases, getting your Class A CDL is more beneficial as it gives you far more options for which vehicles you are legally allowed to operate on the road. Endorsements can allow you to do even more driving work such as hauling passengers to different destinations, driving vehicles with hazardous cargo, or even driving double or triple trailers full of cargo. Getting your Class A CDL at HMTT can open up a whole new world of possibility to your driving career. You'll be able to look at more driver employment opportunities with local, regional, or national carriers. Start your truck driving career by getting your Class A CDL at HMTT! Call us today to enroll in class and get on the way to earning your CDL! 651-528-8994
  • Learn How to Back Up a Big Rig

    For large trucks, the most common advice related to backing up is this: if you can plan ahead and pull through, don't put yourself in a position where you have to back up. Sometimes, though, you have to back up so here are a few tips for getting your back up skills sharp:

    Practice in open areas

    One of the best ways to get good at backing up is to practice in an open area. Generally, empty parking lots without any pylons or lights make a good practice ground. You can even use wheel chocks or other road gear to set up a practice range. Regardless of how much experience we have as drivers, our skills can become dull without use. Practice is key to staying safe and sharp.

    When in doubt, GOAL

    Whether you're backing up to a loading dock, moving a load in the yard, or trying to get out of a tight spot, you may not be able to see very well. If your vision is limited, don't rush, GOAL (Get Out and Look), the stress you will have saved is worthwhile. This can also help prevent costly backing accidents. We offer more advice on the GOAL tactic in our courses.

    Remember how steering moves the trailer

    When driving a trailer, it is very easy to impulsively turn the steering wheel like a normal vehicle. The only problem is, trailers back up the opposite direction of the steering wheel. You have to turn trailers with the rear dually axle as opposed to the front wheels. It is also worthwhile to know that pulling up and backing again to straighten the trailer gives you more visibility.

    Be mindful of what's around you

    When backing a trailer, don't be afraid to get out and check to see what's behind you. Keep an eye on the mirrors—usually the left mirror—and watch for any changes to your environment. You don't want to clip the loading dock or one of the workers.

    At Heavy Metal Truck Training, we offer a safe space for drivers—both seasoned and "green" drivers to come, learn, and practice their trade. Call us today and see how we can help you master these and other important trucking skills! 651-528-8994

  • Helping You Find a Trucking Job After Graduation

    Whether you want a career that offers room to grow or need something that can cover the bills, getting your CDL can open new doors for you. According to Glassdoor, the average salary for a CDL driver is around $37,000/year, with some companies like UPS and Coca-Cola offering upwards of $65,000/year or more. Walmart just increased their driver salaries to nearly $90,000 per year.

    How can you get your CDL?

    CDLs require extensive testing and training through a certified school along with a certain number of driving hours. For specific CDL "license types", there may be other requirements. When getting your CDL, look for a school that meets all of your needs and offers the full licensing package.

    Choosing the right license type

    Different CDL types have different licensing requirements and different privileges. When you are picking your license type, determine which type of CDL driving job you want to do and see what licenses are required for several employers.

    Next, be sure to consult with a school to make sure they offer the type of license you want.

    Seeking a job after getting licensed

    When you are seeking a job after getting your license, make sure that you give your "first-round draft" picks the most attention. If you need a job with benefits and a slightly better salary, take extra care to put your best foot forward when applying to them.

    Negotiating your pay with the license

    Once you've gotten your foot in the door and have some time and trust built with the company, you may be able to negotiate a raise based on your reliability, performance, location, and the rates of other, similar drivers from other companies in the same circumstances. Websites like Glassdoor (linked above) can be a good resource for finding this type of information.

    How we can help you find the right program help you get out on the road? Fill out the form on this page, or call us today and find out! 651-528-8994

  • Answers to Some FAQ's about HMTT

    When you are deciding where to get your CDL, we understand that you have a variety of schools to choose from. At HMTT, we strive to be your top choice when you are seeking a driving school to attend. We offer all of the services that you will need to get your CDL and are also committed to helping you find work when you graduate our CDL training program.

    Today we are going to go over some of the more commonly asked questions that we get asked by those wanting to get their CDL.

    Q: How long will it take me to earn my CDL?

    A: It depends on which program you register in, but you can expect to spend anywhere between 120 and 460 hours of training. This generally takes anywhere between 4 and 14 weeks to complete. We'll find the program that is best for you depending on your skill level and needs. The requirements for each CDL program are listed here

    Q: When do classes start?

    A: Classes will usually always start on a Monday unless Monday happens to be a holiday. Then, we'll adjust schedules to have the first day of class start on a Tuesday, or the next regular day of business.

    Q: Is it worth going to a CDL school vs getting a CDL on my own?

    A: We think so! Enrolling in a CDL school gives you knowledge and confidence to pass the CDL exam, as well as direction in your new career. At HMTT we also assist with job placements to ensure the right fit for each graduate. There are a lot of options out there, and HMTT has dedicated professionals here to help you find the job that suits your needs best. Click here to enroll and to begin your classes ASAP!

    Q: How much will it cost me to get my CDL?

    A: The average CDL program will cost between $3,000 and $7,000. However, HMTT offers a variety of different financial assistance programs to help you afford to get your CDL. Depending on the assistance you use, some or all of your costs may be covered. A list of our financial aid offerings can be viewed here

    Q: If I want more information where can I get it?

    A: We are always happy to help you understand why getting your CDL is the right choice for you. We'll be glad to provide you with more information on our classes or financial aid! Give us a call at 651-528-8994, or fill out the form you see on this page. You can also check us out on Facebook and connect with us there! 

  • Being Humble & Coachable

    Whether you've already put in over a million miles or have yet to drive your first inch as a trucker, the most valuable skill in your arsenal is being open to learning. New experiences teach volumes to those who are willing to buckle up for the ride and take away new lessons. Lessons that frequently save time, like new routes, save lives, like driving skills, and save worry, like route planning.

    What can a CDL refresher offer you?

    Refreshing your certification can help you learn or relearn new and important driving skills. For newer drivers, it can help you learn some rules of the road. In case of a lapsed CDL, there may even be new laws that you should know.

    How can you take ownership on the road?

    Taking ownership means knowing that you are responsible for the truck and trailer regardless of what is happening. The heavy burden of ownership means that you have to stay in the know about new laws, equipment, and driving techniques. Sometimes companies don't push veteran drivers to seek out new information, but allow them to leave work at the door.

    Our program gives new and veteran drivers alike a fresh view of the trucking world and respects their status as a veteran. We also respect new drivers and show them the ropes so they have the tools they need when hitting the road.

    How can a classroom benefit a coachable, yet seasoned trucker?

    Being coachable just means taking yourself out of the equation and listening to an instructor. Listening does not mean staying silent, but it does mean keeping an open mind. How can you keep an open mind?

    Know that you or may not have more practical experience than the instructor. Also know that the instructor is giving out knowledge that has been collected from countless veterans like you to help newer drivers and experts alike stay safe and happy.

    Feel free to reach out to us and see how we can help you learn and renew or meet any other needs you have in the trucking world. Fill out the form, or call us today! 651-528-8994