Before the CDL, how did people become school bus / truck drivers?

Discussion in 'Questions From New Drivers' started by NY2001, Jun 20, 2022.

  1. azheavyduty

    azheavyduty Light Load Member

    Jan 11, 2011
    Glendale, AZ
    The guys who hauled logs for my dad would let me drive their trucks on the woods roads starting when I was about 14. Kept learning, had one of them take me to DMV on my 18th birthday, got my license and went to work that afternoon.
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  3. Lennythedriver

    Lennythedriver Road Train Member

    Feb 14, 2020
    My uncle since passed, lifelong trucker, drove until he near 80 years old. I asked him how he started and what his first experience was. He was 14 years old and told to get in a log truck and drive it 5 miles to the other end of the logging site down a dirt road. He climbed up in the cab, got back out and went over to the ole boss man and asked him how you shift it. The old guy climbed inside, gave him a sixty second lesson and told him, “get going, you’ll figure it out.” He drove 5 miles down the dirt road to the end of the camp grinding gears And learning how to make wide turns down the winding road. Said he did much better shifting coming back. An hour later when he returned he was a “truck driver”. I don’t know what year this was but probably the 1950s.
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  4. MAMservices

    MAMservices Light Load Member

    Aug 9, 2021
    In about 1967 my neighbor lady up the road a piece from where I lived drove the school bus. Her oldest son was 15 or 16 and would substitute driving her route if she was sick or whatever. I was almost 14 at the time, and Jim taught me to drive the bus for him so he could entertain his girlfriend if she rode, instead of driving. That was my first experience with a clutch other than on 8 or 9 N tractors. When he and his girlfriend gradiated I was a shoo in replacement for the job, and it’s all history at this point.
  5. Capacity

    Capacity Road Train Member

    Jul 28, 2019
    Neenah Wi
    1985 Paid 16,000$ including hotel to go to Sun Prarie for 15 weeks , 6 days a week.
    Hit the ground running at HO on grad day , there were no trainers back then OR Cdls it was a separate chauffeurs paper card that you could lose your car liscense and still drive a truck legally.
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  6. Vic Firth

    Vic Firth Road Train Member

    Jan 19, 2016
    I drove a little bit in the military and when I got out I went to truck driving school and got my chauffeurs license, that was in 1986. I hired on with a reefer company and the only training I got was a round trip to the west coast.
  7. #1 Kenworth

    #1 Kenworth Light Load Member

    Sep 21, 2012
    New England
    Back in 79?? it was a class A for TT driving. Friend of mine took me for rides in a sand box. Got my permit and he taught me how to drive a 13 speed White Western Star. We then graduated to a new 79 KW. Took my road test in a blizzard. Just happen to be delivering road salt to the barn where they were doing testing. Couldn't even see the #### cones. Went for a 5 mile drive and he was happy with my skills. He didn't want to stand in the snow and I didn't want to do any backing. So that was my test!!
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  8. Rideandrepair

    Rideandrepair Road Train Member

    Aug 8, 2015
    In 92, I took written tests, used a 3 rd party testing site. Cost was $50 for the road test, $50 for Truck rental. Rent as is we’re booked fir weeks. Used my Dads Company Truck did the road test. Prior to 1990, sometime in 89 I believe all you needed was a form filled out by an employer as proof you could drive a semi. Anyone could forge the form easily.
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  9. Bean Jr.

    Bean Jr. Road Train Member

    Mar 30, 2014
    I got my class a in California in 1982 while still in high school. I had to have a physical and took the written test. Essentially the driving test was the same as when I had taken my car test the year before except no 3 point turns. If you got lucky (I did, my dad's friend didn't) you got a tester who knew trucks couldn't make right turns and stay in the lane.
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  10. jamespmack

    jamespmack Road Train Member

    Mar 25, 2014
    So this is a as told story.

    This is my grandfathers chauffer license right when he came home from the Navy ww2. Shortly after he was a owner op. Most of the time switching between Cooper Jarrett, Hennis freight lines, Long, and Kaplan Trucking. You wore it on your cap. Yep your uniform was a shirt, tie, pants and cap with your badge. They were neat and presentable.

    1969 my father lied about his age of 18 and got a 21 and up chauffer license. Made it till 1990/91 when Ohio adopted the cdl. He was suspended for 2 weeks. Lol the only reasonable way to explain was a "error". No one could prove he lied. He was rejected from the Navy and went trucking.

    Now my great uncle on my mothers side just up the road. Uncle Phil said when he was little, the oldest kid on the rual bus route got the job of driving bus. No license needed. All farm kids. They were all poor farmers, his quote was "great depression" never effected us.
  11. Warrior Pump

    Warrior Pump Light Load Member

    Jan 2, 2015
    This reminds of what an old timer told me during my first year of trucking. The conversation in a TV room at a truck stop went roughly as follows.

    Him: You look like you’re near to trucking.

    Me: Yes, I got my CDL in April.

    Him: When I got my chauffeur’s license in Rhode Island in 1971 all you had to was drive the truck around the block. As long as you as didn’t run over anything or stall out, you got your chauffeur’s license. Then in the early 90’a they started calling it a CDL. I spent several hours studying for all the endorsements and the guy at the DMV just [expletive] rubber stamped it. That was a bunch of [expletive expletive]! [A couple drivers turned around and one gave home a dirty look]

    Me: One of the instructors at school said that in ‘77 he got his chauffeur’s license out of a Cracker Jack box in a Ohio.
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