Drivers' Corner - Ask the Recruiter

It never ceases to amaze me--the quality of questions posed by the readers of this column is outstanding. Thank you again for the questions that were sent to me since the last column. Please continue sending questions in and I will do my best to answer as many as I can. If I don't answer your question in the column there is a good probability that a similar one has already been answered in a previous column, so I encourage reviewing the archives when possible (this is especially true for questions regarding felonies, DAC, and DUIs). Thank you for making this column the great success that it continues to be.

Q I have an offer to go with an OTR company. Due to the fact that I have no recent experience, I have to go through two week's orientation and one to three weeks on the road with a trainer, which is fine. However, I have to stay with the company for one year or pay 3,500 dollars plus interest if I leave or am terminated. Is this routine for companies to do this?


Wow, this is very interesting. I am very familiar with the concept of having drivers with no recent experience complete an orientation and a refresher period with a company trainer. This is a common practice and is very reasonable. It is simply a way for the carrier to make certain any required skills are tuned up prior to relinquishing a very expensive company truck, trailer and freight to a driver.

I have not, however, heard of a carrier requiring a one-year commitment--unless what is really happening is that they are sending you through their ??oetruck driving school.” If that is the case, then it is common to require a given period of service. If that service is then terminated prior to the required time, some carriers do and should ask for the cost of the driver education returned.

But, if you are truly only going through a brief refresher course, and the course is substantially different and more brief than what the carrier requires of drivers with no experience whatsoever (a true student), then the $3500 seems a bit steep. You may be able to negotiate that down some, and if not, you have a decision to make.

Q About a year and a half ago, I had bypass surgery on my heart. I'm 55 years old and didn't even know I had a problem until it showed up on a test. I'm considering driving for a living, having retired after 30 years in telecommunications. Will the age or surgery prevent me from attaining a CDL or from being hired?


Although I do not know the specifics of your health history, and I am certainly not a doctor (nor do I play one on TV or online), I can tell you that coronary bypass surgery is not an automatic disqualifier. According to the FMCSA Regulation 391.41(b)(4), ??oeCoronary artery bypass surgery and pacemaker implantation are remedial procedures and thus, not unqualifying.” However, this is largely left at the discretion of the doctor performing the DOT Physical.

Regarding your age, no it will not disqualify you either. They key determinant is your overall health. The DOT physical examination will cover your general health history, vision, hearing, blood pressure, pulse rate, and the thorough checking of all physical attributes and functionality. In addition, laboratory testing of your urine and blood may also be required.

For complete information please visit the DOT Medical Program website at: Also on this site you can download and view the actual Medical Examination Report, which includes information on the FMSCA regulations.

Giving notice of termination is very professional, but most carriers prefer to have their trucks returned to them, even if you quit the same day.

Q After 26 years as a company driver I was offered a lease/purchase deal by my company. I was quoted a set of numbers as to miles, income, etc., and agreed to signing a contract. Nowhere in the contract is it stated.


The carrier will not place their quotes of miles, income and other items in the contract. These quotes are used as recruiting tactics and due to the fluctuating nature of the trucking industry, it is not responsible to place guarantees of this nature in a lease contract. No company that I am aware of will put such quotes in writing.

The important thing to remember is that leasing a truck is a risk. There are no guarantees. You are running your own business and like any business, you can succeed or fail. The key is to research the opportunity thoroughly. Know how other lease operators are doing. Ask about the highs and the lows so you get a good feel for the real averages. Then, make your decision.

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