By: Kelly Levstek
While working at Eighth Day Sound I am required to obtain a Class B Commercial Driver’s License in order to drive the trucks. Getting a Class B CDL with an airbrake permit will allow me to drive any straight truck with air brakes. I however won’t be permitted to drive semi-trucks with trailers. For that I would need a Class A CDL, but I currently find tackling a Class B CDL a good challenge to start with. I have recently acquired my CDL temps after passing a basic written exam covering everything from traffic laws, airbrakes, automatic and manual truck transmissions, stopping times, avoiding hazards, differences between the CDL classes, and special permits such as hazardous material transport. Now I am working on the memorization for pre-inspection and pyhsically driving the truck.
In order to get my CDL I have to pass three skills tests, pre-trip inspection, basic vehicle control, and on-road driving. The first part is the pre-trip inspection which may prove to be a challenge. In the pre-trip inspection, I will lead the instructor from the front of my truck to the back while explaining and pointing out each part of the truck and stating what hazards I would be looking for with each part. It requires a lot of memorization which can be a challenge for me. The basic vehicle control part of the test will be to move the truck forward and backward into a designated area, laid out with traffic cones. The last skills test is the on road driving portion where I will drive a truck on a designated route and follow all traffic laws and prove I can drive a truck safely.
Right now I’m still getting my feet wet with driving a truck. I got my first chance a few days ago when a co-worker had me back the truck up onto the dock. I was really nervous at first but after a couple of tries, I was able to straighten out the truck and put it on the dock with no problems. Next I am to tackle the manual truck with airbrakes. I have no idea how to drive a manual car let alone a truck so it will denfinitely be an adventure. I have until mid-September to get prepped and ready to become an official Class B trucker. Wish me luck! I’m gonna need it! 🙂