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Truck Driving School: a Dangerous Scam?

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Some truck driving schools should pay more attention to road safety than its profit margin. Just ask Eric LaManque. "If you drive so many hours and are inexperienced, trucks are dangerous. I am surprised that more accidents don't happen," he says.

LaManque attended Swift Truck Driving School and decided that trucking is a very dangerous profession. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 6,000 truck drivers a year die in highway accidents.

What isn't reported is how many of these accidents are a result of poor truck driver training. Chances are there is another vehicle involved in these truck accidents, usually with fatal results, such as [this] tragic accident ]we recently reported.

With 10 schools throughout the US, Swift is the largest school in the country, pumping out about 100 students per week per school. The company heavily recruits people; for a minimum $2,000 in tuition, students are promised jobs. Conveniently, Swift is also a trucking company. Even with a fleet of 16,000 trucks, there still isn't enough jobs for this many students.

"After six weeks of training, you get your license, " says LaManque. "Then Swift gives you a free bus ride from Wichita, Kansas to Memphis, Tennesse. You have to share a room with four other guys in a hotel owned by Swift, until you go on the road with a driver trainer. Most of these guys [who have taken the course] are desperately looking for work and they have spent their savings or owe their tuition to Swift, with interest," says LaManque.

"After you get your license, they want you to quit [because there aren't enough positions available and Swift cannot meet its obligation]. One driver I trained with told me he had 18 people that he had trained over a period of a few years. Only one person was hired by Swift."

Not only are jobs far and few between, Swift clearly doesn't put safety first.

"You drive in dangerous conditions. Right away I drove 11 hours the first night. They try to avoid paying fees on toll roads so we drive secondary roads. Last year the icy conditions in Oklahoma were terrible. I passed at least four trucks on the road that had gone in the ditch. My diabetic trainer was asleep: he had taken several medications for back pain and he told me to pull over at a specific rest stop down highway.

" I approached the rest stop and it was sheer ice so I drove slowly. At the top of the ramp was another truck, stuck. We were behind and couldn't go anywhere on the incline. My trainer started yelling at me, 'You shouldn't have gone here, get outa my truck.'

"He kicked me out! He was going to leave me at the side of the road and I didn't even have a warm jacket. Right after that, the truck in front of us pulled ahead, so my truck started driving off but he stopped at the last minute and let me back in. He drove me to Edwardsville, Kansas, the regional base of Swift. He didn't apologize; he just said ' I lost it' ".

Talk about road rage! Once at the base, Swift got LaManque another trainer driver. This time he drove across the US, "cross-country driving", but realized in just a few weeks that "this wasn't the job for me."

LaManque had had a childhood accident and had a weak eye. It hadn't affected him until driving long hauls all night long.

Clearly, Swift is more concerned with getting students' tuition than checking on students' medical backgrounds and getting them jobs. "They lie to you," says LaManque. "You make friends in driving school and hear stories. One guy from Cuba was desperate, and Swift promised him all this money, $50,000 per year and more," says LaManque. But he didn't get a job. "Most companies won't hire you without experience and they generally pay $10 per hour."

Back in 1993, [consumerlawpage] reported on false advertising by trucking schools and included a statement by The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warning the public not to believe recruitment ads by certain truck driving schools. Clearly, it is time for another evaluation.

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READER COMMENTS

Posted by

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I went to the Apex CDL Institute in Kansas City for my training. Like most CDL schools, you are 5-6 guys per truck and spend on average 1 hour a day in the truck driving and 5-6 hours watching others drive. We were all lied to about what our career opportunities are and what to expect when we start driving. Afterwards, I went to Schieder National in Indianapolis for training(3 weeks) and then hit the road. I ended up quitting after 3 months of driving. Here are my views on that whole industry:

Almost all CDL schools are a fraud, they train you just enough to pass the CDL test and lie to you about 70% of the time. Your not ready to hit the road.

Schnieder, Werner, CRST... are all using new and inexperienced drivers to drive for nothing. On average, you will make about $400-$600 per week for 80 hr work. They know you are desperate and treat you like shit.

You will eat the worst food in truck stops, smell badly, not take showers, and generally become anti-social since you will be driving 3-7 weeks away from home.

To summarize it: Its not worth it. You are giving up your life, family, friends, and health just to make less then minimum wage. Nobody respects you, and shipper/receivers treat you like shit. Sometimes they don't even let you use their restroom. If you last more then 2 years, you might be able to go local. 80% of the people that I trained with quit within the first 6 months.

Posted by

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I went to Celadon driving academy. I was sexually assaulted and harassed by a safety road examiner. When I reported him, I was retaliated against and sent home. Luckily I had my cdl. The school was awesome, the instructors great. But I could not and would not recommend them due to the fact they are connected with Celadon.

Posted by

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I'm here to submit information about Trucking companies that
are pulling things out from underneath, their chair to be quite frank.I never liked jobs and I don't have to have 1 if I don't want to. The problem is that many of them are only doing the selling and then bringing someone in to their facility. After arriving there,
the new applicant will sign papers, go to orientation, then be put
up with a trainer or be put in as truck if they have what the company calls experience. Experience is expensive no matter what. It comes by making mistakes , and many are so innerged,
that they forget why they brought the student (trainee) in, in
the 1st place. They quit before the fact, and then get any when someone needs to know something specific, and then fires the
individual on the spot after being questioned as to why they are they there. You know? The only main issue here is that because
DEBT was a major factor on the US dollar, it's prevalent companies are pulling the same action due to the US dollar being debt. But brainwashing people and then making them angry because the so
called managers aren't even experienced enough or they don't have a mindset to understand what it is they have to go through. Though you don't have to drive the Truck or be a mechanic to go into the Trucking business , what you have to
be good at , is be good with people , you have to find an attitude
based person who is willing to put in the time and effort to learn , not be the individual who must be right , these know all the right answers they went to school , you can't tell them anything. This is not good because their minds are too set.
Another is 1 who must be comfortable. The house can be on fire, these people are toast because the world is passing them by and you shouldn't talk to them. They get mad at you for disturbing them. 3rd person is someone who must be liked.
You know they want to please everybody. Example: I did the right thing didn't I?, you like me don't you?
Anybody who appears desperate like that "where they are" is the type of person 'people can stay away' from. Even in the Trucking schools where they get nasty (in your face), will post up fake statements about somebody based on the freedom of speech act and blow up the preconceived notions. Like California and MA. The only reason I am posting this up is because there are people who will stop at nothing to get what they want.
I'll give you a list of Trucking Companies with a bad reputation.
Swift , Cr England , Navajo Express , Celadon Group , Schneider National , Maverick , JB Hunt , Covenant transport , Eagle Motor Lines , Moskowitz Motor , US Xpress Ent , NOTE: remember,
WERNER ENT bought the QC Logging system to prevent issues.
Yet someone had to do that. because it was available.
Werner Ent Law goes into effect very soon. So be aware of that part. The reason is because Trucking companies cannot be trusted to do what is needed to make the system work. And being lazy minded will not work either. Paperless logs are the future, period! Don't argue against it. That includes no more TransFlo (TR) TRIPAK Express, and any others thereof. The only payment method will be electronic and that will not change.

Crete , and numerous others that are getting involved with
things being complicit with the banks of WS. Now I'm not against them , see that's where part of it comes from.
Almost 50% of Trucking Companies will never come clean and that's why they are falling down and will never get out of
the problems they brought on themselves. When the day finally comes they cannot do they 90's way of making money, they will have to make a choice as to wether or not they will actually
cleanup or get out of business. And end up with nothing. Seriously. There are certain companies who have been looking at this industry for a long time and there are businesses who will never be accepted in some other business due to trust issues. That is the person themselves and the ads which don't tell much and being shady at the same time.
I would also like to get on a radio program to talk about different topics. But mainly health ones that will help other people to help themselves.

TR.

Posted by

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Swift is a very Good job as well

Posted by

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Puedo calificar para la escuela sin hablar ingl├ęs me interesa sacar la licencia clase A y trabajar para swift

Posted by

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Ok first of all I see where a swift crony wrote something on here.. So I'll just shed a little light on the truth. I am a driver have been driving for over a year now. I started with swift, i went to their school in Memphis where they put me in a motel in the ghetto next to a strip club where the guy I was forced to room with bought a prostitute and so I had to leave so he could get his aids on. The entire training program was supposed to last a week.before a written test to get my permit. It didn't take long to see what a joke this was so I left. Went to cr England which was much of the same, passed test got permit spent a month with a trainer who repeatedly tried to have sex with me against my wishes and when I would complain to the company I was told I could get off the truck but they had no idea how long I would have to set at the hotel to wait for another trainer. So I suffered through it. Finished training got my own truck was paid dirt. 25 cents a mile which is less than the national average in the 70s, got maybe 1200 miles a week if I was lucky. Eventually told them to go to hell and quit. They did everything in their power to try and force me to pay them 3 grand while doing everything they could to keep me from getti,g another job, luckily knight an excellent company hired me, I am paid 40 cents a mile 3000 miles a week, few minor complaints nothing I can't live with. But every driver out here knows how dangerous Werner swift England and prime are. They are litteraly a rolling joke. Drivers will move their truck in the middle of the night after fighting their a$$ off to find a parking spot if one of these trucks tries to back in beside them. So go ahead fake a$$ swift jockey tell us some more lies about how sh*tty your company is.

Posted by

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I'm almost done with my mentor time at swift. So far it's been the most crappy time of my life. They don't care about home life at all. They put people in trucks that shouldn't be allowed to drive a golf cart. Now I'm in debt to them for 4k and honestly I don't care and may quit as soon as training is over. That way I can at least say I finished that when trying to get another driving job. Was totally lied to about all this goes down. First trainer brought a wh*re on the truck and scr*wed her while I tried to sleep. I hate swift. Wish they would just tell me I'm done. Make it easier on me actually.

Posted by

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I am in the process of organizing a class-action lawsuit against the American Institute of Trucking in Phoenix Az for fraudulent advertising, misleading and unfair recruitment practices, obtaining grants and student loans for students by means of unlawful practices. Please contact me if you have attended the above mentioned Educational Institution and are or were unable to be placed with a 'pre-hire' trucking company such as Swift or Werner among others, as a result of circumstances that should have initially made you unqualified for the program at AIT in Phoenix, unqualified to obtain your commercial driver license according to federal laws and regulations, and/or ineligible for grants or student loans through the U.S. Department of Education for the purpose of attaining your CDL.
Contact me by email at .. jeremeystephenhicks@gmail.com with a brief synopsis of your situation and I will return communication accordingly. Thanks for helping former students scammed by this 'school' unite together for an attempt to compensate the victims as a whole as well as an accompanying attempt to return monies received by the school in the form of grants in our names back to the U.S. Dept. Of Education.

Sincerely looking for student victims,
Jeremey Hicks
jeremeystephenhicks@gmail.com

Posted by

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I attended National Tractor Trailer School in Buffalo NY in 2004. I spent 10 weeks in school and received 340 hours behind the wheel of tractor trailers, and 100 hours one on one with a trainer in actual road time driving.

I was recruited by Swift out of school and spent nearly two years with the company. My training with my Swift trainer was 7 weeks long and very comprehensive. I had been behind the wheel of tractor trailers 17 weeks when I was given my first truck solo and by no means was I ready. But at some point you have to be aware that you have a job that requires you to be overly cautious, safe, mindful and responsible. Every Professional Driver feels this way at some point as a very green Rookie.

My dispatcher and team were helpful, insightful and very good to me, working me just enough to make a good living without tiring me out and making me a road hazard.

I enjoyed my time at Swift, was asked to become a trainer with them, which I declined, and I became a very excellent professional with now, nearly 10 years later, over one million safe miles under my belt.

Swift often gets a bad reputation because they, like Werner and others, are TRAINING COMPANIES. This means they are dealing with people who actually believe they can drive a truck after only training for 3-10 weeks.

This in NOT a realistic scenario, which is why you are placed with a trainer for 6 or more weeks, who assess your skill level and the ability to be safe, trip plan and the ten thousand other things that go hand in hand with being a Professional Driver.

Truck driving is NOT for everyone. For every 100 people who go to truck driving school, only 10 of them will succeed as a driver. Out of that 10, only one of them will stay on the road longer than 5 years. There is a reason there is a huge shortage of Professional, Competent Drivers on the road.

The trucking industry has had to lower its standards to meet the demand. 250,000 drivers are desperately needed in this country. And these days they will take anyone who will step up into the cab and take a seat.

THIS DOES NOT MEAN YOU BELONG THERE.

It is a hard life. Away from home for weeks at a time, you must be self reliant and a motivated self starter. You must be comfortable enough in your own skin to actually like your solitude. Because you will be alone, thousands of miles away from home, working Thanksgiving and Christmas, Fourth of July, with no one for company but the waitress stuck working the crappy shift and maybe one or two old timers and other rookies who are out there with you.

You will not get to bathe as often as you like and you will see people in cars doing incredibly stupid and dangerous things behind the wheel of a car.

It will be YOUR responsibility to keep them safe.

If you are not up to ANY of these challenges, Do Not Become a Truck Driver.

Swift is a great company, and they reimbursed me for my tuition, which was 6200 dollars. Every complaint I have ever heard about Swift has been due to the fact that trucking just didn't suit the individual doing the complaining and they washed out of the school or the lifestyle for one reason or another. Do your homework, don't take any shortcuts, and stop thinking you know how to drive a tractor trailer after 3 weeks of classwork just to pass your test.

Posted by

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I went to AIT in fonatanna made it to my DEC 19th exit date transcripts said i passed everything but no cdl. why because they refused to let me use their truck that my federal loan paid for a second try at dmv . rip me off misled me now going in default on student loan lawyer said they hired a lawyer from harvard to make sure my case didnt go to court .now i heare they shutting down not sure why maybe cause its almost tax time.. aug 11th 2011 to dec 19th whaste of money and time and gas. all about getting fed aid not safety on the road for you or others.

Posted by

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My husband and i was lied to pure and simple, C.R.England was a get experience to learn and the people we met was the best but i was lied to got proof i have the paper work.....They said we would get paid for the classes after 3 weeks we would be making money..We quit our job's and signed on..We wanted to do this for years now we have the time we knew it would be hard but wat they put u through, They pit u in a dirty hotel that looks like a crack town, U had no way to have groceries or even drinks they had no refrigerator or microwave in rooms..U are lucky to have away to school an back again cause u walk every where..I can deal with all the withouts and doing without but lieing i can't do..If u would of said if u pass the class u will make 430 a week. And if u get out with a trainer after u get ur cdls u might get 430 a week..but then again u get told alot it might take two months to wait on a trainer and only get paid 25 bucks a day waiting..No one told us the IFS and BUTTS...we Researched and asked and looked an listened but we got lied to..i dont recommend this school and if u do get ur CDLS befote u go...Cause its cheaper and less painful..ty

Posted by

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If you go to AIT in phoenix,Az you will be ripped off.and then a collection agency will call your home wanting all that money they stole from you.They go through national loan servicing collection agency to harrrass you.They are crooks.
AIT is nothing but a collection Agency.

Posted by

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I wish people would get it through their heads that you dont need school to get a cdl-you don't! Do it the old fashioned way, find a company like swift to pay for your training and there you have it. Get a couple years in and if you hate it your experience is done and you can apply else where. Not all trainers are the same I happened to get an excellent one. The problem is people come out here thinking they're going to be big super truckers and do nothing but drive during sunny days and come home every weekend; having no clue how much dedication is involved in this job. If you couldn't handle it in the 1st 240 hrs you won't after it. DOT for OTR has different rules than for local driving; it is up to YOU as an adult to know your limitations and to let the company know. No, theyre a business they aren't going to make an allowance because you have a problem-that's common sense. It's about the bottom line for them period. You go to a huge corporation like that don't expect to be greeted with a cookie and a hug everyday just be thankful you're working. Also it is up to you to prepare for a trucking career- you don't waltz in there expecting them to teach you what you need to know in a short time. The ones that truly want this have been preparing themselves before hand and are the ones that make it. The rest of those that think it's a piece of cake are the ones who get denied after training are the ones who just dont have the aptitude and if a company can profit off of someone's half- ass attempt then more power to 'em. It all comes down to how bad you want it. You shouldn't have been teaming if you weren't comfortable yet and if you came out and told your trainer you weren't ready and were met with opposition it was up to YOU to talk to your driver manager about your concerns. It is no different than college you have to determine your success they all promise great lives but YOU have to make it work. You don't have to be done in the hours they set the trainer shouldnt have signed you out until you were ready and if you didn't get hired that means you weren't qualified. You would be no better than them to sue over your inefficiency. Use your brain.

Posted by

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Perkins Specialized Transportation Noblesville IN, is still at it I would be very careful around their trucks seriously.

Posted by

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I wish I had known how much of a fraud this was before I signed on with driver solution in Indianapolis. Avoid this school at all costs I mean all costs!!! This school is nothing but a scam.

Posted by

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My son recently got a job with Swift. They are paying what they promised and the training has been very good. He trained with another school. He has to drive 240 hours with a mentor, before being given his own truck to drive. So far it has been a good experience.

Posted by

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Perkins Specialized Transportation Noblesville IN will put anybody in a truck, they have the worst safety rating with D.O,T. I have ever seen and after ripping these drivers off by not paying them one dime they try to force them to run illegally by promises of a pay check the never see. The driver quit and the scam is repeated over and over. NO over sight of any kind is taking place with these companies and false advertising.

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