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Professional CDL A Truck Driver Training – Course Details

Section 1 – Basic Operation

1.1 - Orientation

Classroom instruction is given on course content and vehicle components. Yard or range orientation stresses the basic vehicular operating skills as well as an introduction to the mechanical systems of a tractor trailer. Road trip orientation details minimum levels of achievement in the assessment of the skills needed to operate a tractor/trailer on the highway and in a city traffic environment.

1.2 - Control Systems

Students are introduced to the function, operation, and meaning of the instruments and controls. Video and discussion are dedicated to the instrument gauges and basic vehicle controls which monitor the overall operation of the tractor/trailer. An in-tractor demonstration explains the location, purpose, and conditions of all inside gauges and controls. Inspection and driving time must be devoted to monitoring controls and gauges.

1.3 - Vehicle Inspections

Students learn the importance of systematic vehicle inspections and develop the skills necessary for good inspections. Classroom lectures spend time reviewing the systems and procedures of the Federal Motor Carrier’s Guide relating to the condition and safety of critical vehicle components. Daily step by step vehicle walk around help implant the systematic approach to accurate inspections.

1.4 - Basic Controls

Students are introduced to basic vehicle operation and concepts in class. Instructor demonstrates starting and stopping as well as backing for students. Students gain initial practice and control on range. A video on shifting and discussion on proper turns, stopping, backing, and basic maneuvering help instruct the basic fundamentals of driving. On the range the students begin to develop the lateral and forward space perception necessary for driving.

1.5 - Shifting

Students are introduced to basic gear shifting procedures and shift patterns for the most common tractor transmissions. The classroom discussion helps develop the attitude needed for proper shifting technique. The range time strives to create the physical timing and coordination necessary for double clutching and manipulating gear patterns.

1.6 - Backing

Students are introduced in the classroom to methods and concepts for backing a tractor trailer combination vehicle. The principles of reverse steering and positioning an articulated vehicle for backing require the students to understand the manual by reviewing the principles and methods in class. The range demonstrates and allows the student to practice coordination of speed and directional controls to achieve the desired path while backing.

1.7 - Coupling

Students are introduced to the procedures for safely coupling and uncoupling a tractor trailer. The classroom helps incorporate the safety and procedures for coupling and uncoupling. The video and discussion re-enforce the proper method. On the range the students receive hands-on experience.

Section 2 – Safe Operating Practices

2.1 - Visual Search

Classroom instruction is given on the principles of visual search, on the use of mirrors and on street practice in the use of visual search techniques. Time spent with the six visual search areas and mirror set up help give the students the relationship between speed and sight distances. The street time concentrates on an expanded look ahead capacity, an expanded angle of vision; monitoring traffic, tractor/trailer condition and position to the front, sides, rear, up and down; and a periodic check of dash gauges.

2.2 - Communication

Classroom instruction is given on communication, e.g. signaling, use of horn, etc. On the street, communication of techniques in different settings is practiced. Classroom instruction illustrate the proper communication procedures and consequences of improper communication.

2.3 - Speed Management

Classroom instruction on speed management principles, e.g., maintaining a safe time, space around the vehicle in different situations, operating on hills, curves. In the classroom a video on speed management leads to discussion on vehicle limitations and driver limitations. Vehicular orientation stresses the importance of speed and space in regard to vehicle configuration, condition of roadway, weather, visibility, traffic, and mechanical condition of the unit. Individual instruction in controlled starting, stopping, following distances, and forward movement on the range and street environment help the student meet the performance objectives of the CDL standards.

2.4 - Space Management

Classroom instruction on principles of managing space in traffic, e.g., following distances, space to the sides and rear, passing, etc. The classroom discussion covers controlling the safe space necessary dependent on the vehicle’s size and weight. The range and street time are incorporated with space management.

Section 3 – Advanced Operating Practices

3.1 - Night Operations

Classroom instruction on inspection, preparation for, hazards of, and actual operations at night. Classroom discussion complemented video.

3.2 - Extreme Driving Conditions

Classroom instruction on driving in cold and hot weather, stormy conditions, and mountain and desert driving. Classroom discussion complemented by video.

3.3 - Hazard Perception

Classroom instruction in recognizing hazards early enough to prevent them from becoming emergencies. Discussion complemented by video.

3.4 - Emergency

Classroom discussion of emergency braking techniques, evasive actions, and proper response to other emergencies. Discussion complemented by video.

3.5 - Skid Control

Classroom instruction on the causes skidding, and jackknifing and techniques for avoiding and recovering from skids and jackknifes.

Section 4 – Vehicle Maintenance

4.1 - Vehicle Systems

Classroom instruction on the function and operation of all key vehicle systems, e.g. engine, engine auxiliary systems, brakes, drive train, coupling systems, suspensions. Supervised student practice in vehicle servicing, including checking engine fluids, changing fuses, checking tire inflation, changing tires, draining air tanks, and adjusting brakes. Classroom review of video regarding Critical Vehicle Systems to help improve technical knowledge of tractor-trailer.

4.2 - Diagnosing & Reporting Malfunctions

Classroom instruction on identification of vehicle malfunctions.

Section 5 – Non-Vehicular Activities

5.1 - Handling Cargo

Basic principles of loading and unloading cargo, including weight distribution and techniques for securing and covering cargo. Classroom is devoted to training drivers for proper hazardous materials handling and for providing the necessary documents and information to drivers hauling such loads. Weight distribution and common sense cargo loading covering fifth wheel and tandem sliding procedures. Facing off cargo, strapping, beam placements, and blanket wrapping are discussed.

5.2 - Cargo Documentation

Discussion of basic forms and procedures required when driver handles cargo, e.g., bills of lading. Classroom devoted to proper inventory procedures, filling out forms, and other shipping and receiving paperwork.

5.3 - Hours of Service

Classroom instruction in hours of service regulations, rest periods, interpretations, logging, etc.

5.4 - Accident Procedures

Basic instructions for handling the scene of an accident, reporting requirements, rules and regulations relating to accidents. Discussion of proper use of fire extinguisher, reflective triangles, flares, etc.

5.5 - Personnel Health and Safety

Physical requirements for driving an interstate vehicle, medical examinations, and certifications, discussion of basic health maintenance requirements, diet exercise, use of alcohol, drug and managing fatigue.

5.6 - Trip Planning

Class discussion on the importance of and the requirements for planning trips. Federal and state regulations, including the need for permits, vehicle size, and weight limitations. Map reading and interpretation.

5.7 - Public and Employer Relations

Classroom discussion on maintaining a good image, public relations problems in the trucking industry, dealing with public and customers.

5.8 - DMV Mock Exam

Student will review each item required to be performed during DMV practical test.

5.9 - DMV Test

Student will perform drive test at DMV facility.

6.0 - Placement

Student can use school placement services.

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