Failed in TN. Need to get CDL. What are my options?

Discussion in 'Questions From New Drivers' started by Stephendipity, Jun 19, 2014.

  1. Stephendipity

    Stephendipity Bobtail Member

    Jun 19, 2014
    Memphis, TN
    I went to Squire Training pgm (Knight Transp). I can drive, make turns, follow the rules (well, pretty well for a beginner anyway - ask any of the trainers I drove with!). I can back up (most of the time). I know the pre-trip (at least I thought I did!), Smith System, and can turn corners w/o hitting the curb.

    So I went for the CDL test. Squire does not know the TN CDL test; apparently they have not had 1 student that passed the TN CDL in recent memory. The examiner made it very clear that he doesn't like Knight (/Squire) students (and Swift even less), because they do not 'teach the TN, DOT approved CDL Manual', and evidently will do everything possible to fail them, even to the point of making up stuff (e.g., 'you told me the temperature guage was registering and rising to operating temperature, but you didn't tell me what temperature it should be' - that's not in the CDL Manual). I passed the Air Brakes Test (he even commented that he was 'impressed'), but still failed on the Pre-trip - he said '..really close, but not enough points'.

    So I made another appointment (3 weeks wait), and went home for 2 1/2 weeks - they didn't have to put me up in motel or give me training pay for 2 wks. I got a 'temp' job while home, so I could survive. Went back and practiced for 3 days, and went back for 2nd CDL Test. This time, the examiner failed me on the Air Brakes test (the one I 'aced' the first time!), saying 'you didn't say the emergency brakes pop out at "40 PSI"'. I believe I did say '40', but may have said 'between 40 and 25 PSI', which is ALSO in the manual, but in a different section. The examiner doesn't care that you know these things, just requires that you say EXACTLY and ONLY what is in Sections 11, 12, and 13 of the CDL Manual.

    Note that the simplest way to fail someone is to fail them on the Air Brakes Test - 1 item fails the ABT, which fails the Pre-Trip, which fails the entire test. And, BTW, when I mentioned that the manual DOES say '40 to 25', and also pointed out that there is a problem with the ABT instructions in the manual (it instructs to turn the key off, then look at the Air Pressure Guage while doing the first test: but the power needs to be on to see the guages!), he told me I can't argue with him, and that I 'don't deserve (a CDL)'.

    After the 2nd 'fail', Squire stops paying training pay. So I was again suspended until another option could be found. Went back to 'temp' work, but couldn't make enough money in time to pay the bills, and got evicted for not paying rent, had to move.

    Squire had told me they couldn't get a 3rd party to test me, because the only 1 they know of for TN won't take you if you already started the process thru the Dept of Safety - you MUST keep going back to DOS. But after a few weeks, they called and said they had managed to set up appt w/ TCAT. They called Thurs, my appt was the next Tuesday. I was working Friday, they were closed Monday - I had 1/2 day to prepare!! (nice of them to give me another chance, but still not make sure I was prepared, huh?)

    So I practiced Tues a.m., and went up for the test. Passed the Pre-trip! (yay!), 100% on straight-line and offset backing, then couldn't manage to get the 90-degree alley dock.

    Well, after the 3rd 'fail', Squire cuts you loose. Never mind that it's mostly their fault that I failed!

    So, now what can I do? Would need a truck to go back to 3rd Party, even if I'm paying for it myself. To go to another state, I think I would need to start over (establish residence, get Permit, etc.), and I'm not sure they would even let me do that. I DID move to MS, BTW, so that might be an option there. Other schools (in other states) have said they won't take me since I failed in TN.

    Any ideas?
    Chinatown Thanks this.
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  3. Tonythetruckerdude

    Tonythetruckerdude Crusty Deer Slayer

    Dec 8, 2012
    hunting...../ retired
    you mean that you can't anyone in another state that will not take your money and train you.....kind of hard to see that , but may be you can try a community college...they usually have good training and you could maybe get some tuition help thru a financial aid dept.....Good Luck

  4. Stephendipity

    Stephendipity Bobtail Member

    Jun 19, 2014
    Memphis, TN
    Thanks for the reply!
    1st, one 'sponsored' school said since I failed in TN, I wouldn't qualify for sponsorship in their school. 3rd party in other state said I needed to be a resident of that state. I haven't tried MS, but would look first for 3rd party - they can teach what they test, as opposed to Squire, who can't teach what they don't know (TN CDL). Also, I'm considering moving to yet another state, where I guess I'll have to 'start over' on the CDL process (if, in fact, they'll let me).
    2nd: as for 'take my money', I don't have any - temp jobs don't quite even pay bills. And I was so close to passing, I can't see starting training all over, or waiting for Financial Aid to go thru, then CC for several more months. Was hoping for quicker option.
  5. Tonythetruckerdude

    Tonythetruckerdude Crusty Deer Slayer

    Dec 8, 2012
    hunting...../ retired
    Understood... though , I'm out of suggestions , I haven't been in the job market for over 33 years. I retired in 2011 , but, maybe someone who has been in sort of the same predicament will chime in soon....however you may have to start over again...might be the only option....bad I know , but it may be the only way. Good luck , wish you the best!
  6. Pumpkin Oval Head

    Pumpkin Oval Head Road Train Member

    Jun 24, 2010
    Scranton PA
    Not sure this will help you at this point....but when I went to cdl school at a community college in Iowa, if you failed the driving test they would take you back the next day to try again, and would continue to take you back with their truck until you passed. The DOT did driving tests every day of the week.

    I passed the driving test on my third try, due to one intersection that had a stop sign and was in a 25 mph zone and I didn't get through the intersection section fast enough to avoid impeding cross traffic the first time. The second time I was in the right hand lane that had no markings and went straight across the intersection....the gal failed me for not being in the center lane as she said the right lane was for turning, but it was not marked as such. Impeding traffic was an easy way to fail the driving test, and our instructors did not like the DOT failing drivers for that, but when you cross an intersection in 3rd gear it takes a while to get through it.

    We had guys go back for a 4th or 5th time to pass the driving test. I think the record number of retests was 15 times for someone in a prior class.

    This is the difference between a community college and a private school....the community college will do everything they can to help you get your cdl.
  7. Wooly Rhino

    Wooly Rhino Road Train Member

    Jul 6, 2008
    Liberty, Missouri
    First of all let me slap you for blaming Knight for you failing the CDL Test. You failed. It is your fault that you did not know what is in the CDL manual for your home state. A pre trip is a pre trip. They do not call a brake something different in Tennessee then they do in Arkansas.

    I said that just to get your attention. Lots of people fail their CDL test the first time or two or three. It is part of the process.

    So what to do now. Get the TN manual and study. Next you need the use of a truck and trailer for the test. Where to find one? Remember, I am a Felon. I think outside the box or at least outside the box with the bars on it. Go to a truck stop near where you are going to take the test. Take to a poorly paid employee of a trucking company without a qualcomm. For $300 they will drive you to the testing site and allow you to borrow "their" truck for a test. You will have an examiner with you for you short run and they know that. It can be done. Take the test and pass.

    Now lots of folks are going to point out why this is not a good idea. But none of them are felons. Life is easier when you do not mess up but there are always ways to overcome any problem.
  8. Chinatown

    Chinatown Road Train Member

    Aug 28, 2011
    Henderson, NV & Orient
    Contact R.E. West in Lebanon, TN

    They will help you and hire you with no contract to work for a specified amount of time.

    It's a pretty good sized dry van company.

    You should have gone to a different examining station the second time since you know the examiner is a dummy.

    If R.E. West doesn't work, try Milan Express in Jackson, TN.

    Third place to try is Southern Refrigerated Transport in Texarkana. They will send a bus ticket to you plus free hotel and 3 meals a day while training.

    There you go, 3 places to try.
  9. gpsman

    gpsman Road Train Member

    Dec 10, 2013
    Well... ...if you didn't get a CDL, absent evidence most of the fault is yours, and assuming they sell "CDL training", you're due a refund of any tuition paid, I think.

    Quit telling other schools your story. Visit the employment service of your current State, they have plenty of cash for training they're dying to provide.
  10. 8thnote

    8thnote Road Train Member

    Aug 12, 2013
    Chattanooga, TN
    Dude, go take your test in Nashville. Sounds like the guy in Memphis has some kind of chip on his shoulder. When I took mine (granted this was a few years ago) the testers at the DMV were friendly and helpful and wouldn't fail anyone unless it was painfully obvious that they had no idea what wax going on.
    Skydivedavec and Chinatown Thank this.
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