Per our conversation about pertaining to Swift Trucking Transportation Academy. Received a confirmation message from Swift online. Omar Aragon, a Swift recruiter, called and email on . He emailed a Swift Pass Verification form on with a fax number to fax it back to him. On , was sent a Swift Millington Driving Academy document which provided all the items needed, such as, papers needed for a CDL permit, clothes, basic school supplies, etc.
woke up at 4:00am shuttle arrived at 5:30am. They checked documents to see if they were right for the DMV. We started competing paperwork for Medical cards (long and short forms) and drug screens. CDL Studying guides were handed out and a video was shown to provide the page numbers for the answers in the CDL book. Afterwards they proceeded to put us through various tests. Examples: lifting properly 25 to 85 lbs, waist-high and above the shoulders, repeated three times per weight per level, stepping to the 2nd step of a ladder, carrying 50 to 75 lbs across the room three times. Vision and hearing exams plus physicals were given. This eliminated three of the women from the program and two men were eliminated through the drug screen due to sugar level. After a break period, we were taken to the Memphis terminal to meet our Processor. We were then showed the Range where we would learn our backing skills. We were showed how to use a log book.
we started studying for a CDL test. We were taken to the Range to show us the complete air brake system and how it works. We were then tested over the material.
More videos were shown on material for CDL tests on 5/30/08. Lectures were given on trucks, their parts and how they work, and their use. This lasted all day.
restudied what was discussed the previous day. Then studied map reading.
CDL pretest was given. Scored 86. Class average was 96. Reviewed missed questions. Studied for the rest of the day.
Studied for CDL.
Was not allowed to test at the DMV because Domicile papers were not satisfactory for Millington, TN.
We went to the Range and started learning pre-trip and straight-line backing. We were asked for our driver’s license and medical card. I was informed by Mike, one of the directors, that if I did not get my permit, I could not go any further in my training. I had understood that I did not need the permit until I was ready for road training. We practiced skills for the rest of the day.
Three of us was shown drop and hook plus moving trailer tandems while the rest of our teams were shown off-set backing. Three students had been pulled from their teams and were shown off-set backing by a totally unfamiliar instructor without explanation.
This caused the three that were taken from their original instructors and teams to be behind their team members in skills. We had lost 2 hours of practice on straight-line backing. One of the members on my team was having problems with skills and was hogging the truck. Extra instruction was offered to the class for anyone having problems with straight-line backing. Two students besides me accepted the offer. One of the other two did not understand the procedure.
During practice of off-set backing and straight-line backing, I was instructed by Jim, who was the Range Manager. He had taken over my instructor’s job. We were not compatible. I could not hear his instructions over the truck. He did not communicate which mirror I needed to be looking at in order to do my maneuver properly. I kept telling him that I could not reach the clutch properly in the truck to which he kept telling me I did not know what I was talking about. The problem was, the seat would not adjust forward far enough for me to operate the clutch and thus I kept messing up the maneuver. When I tried to explain, he would not believe me and wanted to argue. After awhile I set the air brakes and stopped the truck then got out. He had kept me in the truck so long I had heat exhaustion and was dehydrated.
Toby, my instructor, changed the tractor so that I could reach the clutch easier which helped me practice my maneuvers with ease. Toby showed me more on off-set backing showing me which mirrors to look in and when, plus successfully showed me straight-line backing. He also included instruction on parallel parking. After lunch, I got moved to another work cell with a totally different instructor. I was given the same truck with the bad seat in which I could not reach the clutch. My new instructor, Harold, also saw I had trouble with the truck and changed trucks. We then proceeded on with skills. The reason I was moved was so I would have more time in the truck.
Went back to the classroom to be taught trip planning. We went over homework and were tested on it.
In class we studied trip planning using maps and log book rules like in an actual driving trip which covered several days’ worth of trips.
Caught a ride with instructor that was going through Memphis to another State DMV so that I could pick up a copy of my IRS tax papers in Memphis. I then went to Millington DMV armed with my tax papers, a lease which had been Fed Ex to me, IRS stimulus paper, W-2 form, birth certificate, Social Security card, and my driver’s license. Anthony Wisner, a classroom instructor, dropped me off at noon. He told me to have DMV call the academy when I was finished. Twenty minutes later, DMV would not take my papers as proof of Domicile. I was not allowed to test for my permit. I had the DMV call the school. They got no answer. They called back and left a message. An hour later I stood in line again. They call the school with no answer and left another message. At 2:30pm, still no answer and message left. By 3:00pm, no one had come to pick me up. I had had nothing to eat or drink except water. It was too hot (100 degrees) to walk to the motel which was closer than the academy. So I caught a ride with someone leaving the DMV to the motel where I could eat and cool off. I then packed because I was going to have to return to my home town for more paperwork and to change my voter registration and take my CDL permit test which I should not have had to do. I had found out that other students had had to do the same thing. After packing I fell asleep without contacting Swift about my plans. Therefore I had to wait until morning to call Swift.
At 5:30am, I call the school they told me I had to call my recruiter. A lot of time goes by no word from my recruiter. I found the shuttle driver who took me to the bus station. Unfortunately I had missed the last bus the next bus was not until 7:15pm. At 5:00pm I called my roomate. By 5:15pm for $75 she had bought the ticket for me. Omar Aragon, the recruiter, had promised to pay her back for the ticket. I did not arrive in my home town until 5:30am the next morning.
6/12/08 After an uncomfortable ride to home town from Nashville, I proceeded to study for my CDL permit after some much needed rest. I called the voters registration office and changed my address.
Picked up my voters’ registration changed of address paper and drove to the DMV to take my permit test. I had no problem with Knoxville accepting my paperwork. I successfully passed the test and was issued a CDL permit. I call Omar and left a voice mail telling him I had my permit on a Thursday. He returned the call only to tell me there was nothing that could be done until Monday.
Father’s Day spent with family
At 11:30am Omar call saying the academy wanted me back the next day and was working on getting me a bus ticket. Four hours later, he gives me the school number and the bus code number I needed to be on. The time lag caused me to miss the bus needed to get me there in time for the Swift shuttle to pick me up in Memphis. The last shuttle pick up is 7:30pm. The ticket leaving my home town was for 6:00pm to arrive in Memphis at 2:00am. I called a fellow student to pick me up and take me back to the motel by 3:30am.
I had got an hour and a half nap before I had to be on the Range. I joined a team that only had two students in their group and practiced skills from 6:00am until 9:00am. At 9:30am, Ed, another instructor, walked up to the truck I was in and jerked open the door and said OUT! He tells me that I was not supposed to be there until the next day. He had me practice pre-trip inspection for the rest of the day. This is after Swift Academy had said that they wanted me on the Range practicing skills that day. Lack of communication?
I am placed in class 626 instead of 623. Harold is assigned as my instructor. The pressure will be off of me and Harold will help me more. My fellow students will let me have my turn practicing skills. Finally I can learn my skills in peace. They started rotating work cells every day. Therefore we were working with a different truck every day. But then the rules suddenly changed. The instructors were not allowed to help us as much as they had before. When someone would ask for help, they would ignore the student and walk off. Then I observed that the instructors were not answering my questions more so than the other students. How am I to learn my skills when I can not get my questions answered?
Practiced off-set backing and straight-line backing. Then we were shown parallel parking. We were moving along at a faster pace than some of the other teams. The team I was with had previous experience with trucks which was speeding the process up. My team members were helping me learn skills.
Practiced skills 6:00am until 7:45am. Then Steve, shifting instructor, came and got my group and took us out in a bobtail tractor to instruct us in shifting skills. One caught on the shifting quickly. I could not grasp it under his instruction. We had a 30 min. break period at 9:00am. At 9:30am we continued to practice our skills for the rest of the day.
We were shown jack knife parallel parking. This was an easy skill for me to grasp. Every time we got in the truck we practiced all the skills we had been taught.
Sat in classroom for 9 hours listening to the same materials I had already learned. Did not need to be there.
9 hours of more of the same.
was shown the serpent-teen maneuver (or S-shape). Continued to practice all other skills.
shown the 90 degrees and 45 degrees maneuvers. Continued to practice all other skills.
Practiced all skills until 11:15am. Bob (shift instructor) and JV (another instructor) came to teach me shifting. By noon they had me shifting in a 10 speed truck. Bob slowed down the speed of instruction so that I could learn. After lunch, I practiced driving the tractor using my shifting skills (up shifting and down shifting) until 2:45pm. Afterwards I practiced backing skills until 4:30pm.
From 6:00am to 9:00am practiced backing skills. After break, I practiced shifting until noon. After an hour lunch, we went back to practicing our backing skills. At 1:30pm they tested me on my skills. I did not pass because I could not get the 90 degrees maneuver. I was very unfamiliar with the 90 degrees maneuver. It was a procedure that I had kept asking to be shown and no one would show me.
Practiced skills from 6:00am until noon. After lunch, I was tested again without being able to warm up. By then I was so rattled I could not do anything right. It did not help that the truck they had me in was one of those trucks where I could not reach the clutch, and the lanes were exceptionally narrow (no room for error). I could not help but not pass and was therefore placed on Academic Probation on the Range.
through off duty at the motel studying backing technique handouts
was assigned to another instructor named Gary. He was a drill sergeant type barking orders on every maneuver. This made me very nervous. My fellow student quit at 9:45am could not handle him. Then they got a fellow female student to be with me to take his place.
From 6:00am to 8:15am, practiced skills. Practiced shifting from 8:15am to 9:00am. Before taking my 30 min. break, I spoke to my old instructor, Toby, regarding some of my concerns and fears about not receiving the instruction I needed when I was paying $3900 to be instructed. After talking to Toby, I was then placed in another team under Toby who was my original instructor whom I had started with on the Range. I then refused to practice more shifting due to needing to practice backing skills. I had a fear of not getting off the Range.
— Practiced skills. Instructor was quietly testing me. I was evaluated on shifting skills by the shifting instructor, Bob. I had passed all backing skills but one.
– Practiced backing skills and finally passed my Range skills. I was now ready to start learning forward driving on the road come Monday.
— and — off duty studying gear shifting patterns of a 10 speed tractor, RPMs, etc. Reviewed the 8 speed shifting patterns alittle.
At 7:00am I meet my road instructor, Dee Hopson. We got ready for a road trip by doing a pre-trip inspection of the tractor and trailer. This is a 30 min. procedure. Dee drives from Millington, TN to Turrell, AR where there is a country road loop that has less traffic on it. We used this road to practice up and down shifting. We were to start learning how to focus on our mirrors and traffic while maintaining trailer control within driving lanes. From 9:00am to 9:45am I was behind the wheel learning these new skills. After a small break, it was my turn to observe another student’s learning. I was also trying to hear Dee’s instructions and advice over the tractor noise. I observed these maneuvers from 10:00am to 11:30am. At this time I took over driving until 12:15pm. We stopped for lunch until 1:15pm then I drove until 1:45pm. I observed again until 3:30pm as we arrived back in Millington. I then drove the truck for the last 30 minutes through the traffic of Millington back to the Range. On the way back to the Range Dee had me executing some very hard turning maneuvers which I managed fairly well with her step by step instructions. When we arrived at 4:00pm, we continued to practice backing skills until 5:30pm. I had drove a maximum of 2 hrs, and had observed for 6 hrs and 45 mins.
— Pre-trip inspection 7:00am to 7:30am then observed until 8:30am. We had a break period until 9:00am. I observed until 10:30am then drove until 12:15pm. Lunch ended at 1:15pm I went back to observing until 3:45pm. I drove again until 4:15pm. For the rest of the day until 5:30pm, we practiced backing skills. On this day I drove 2 hrs and 15 mins., and observed for 6 hrs and 45 mins.
— Pre-trip inspection 7:00am to 7:30am. 7:30am to 9:00, I drove. 9:00am to 9:30am, break period. 9:30am to noon, observed. Noon to 1:00pm, lunch period. 1:00pm to 3:00pm, observed. 3:00pm to 3:45pm, I drove. 3:45pm to 5:30pm practiced backing skills. Time drove 2 hrs and 15 mins. Time observed 6 hrs and 45 mins.
— Pre-trip inspection 7:00am to 7:30am. 7:30am to 12:15pm, I observed. I became very frustrated due to all the observation time and no driving practice. At 12:45pm until 2:45pm, I was allowed to drive. I was back at observing until 4:00pm. Practiced backing skills until 5:30pm.
Drove for 2 hrs straight, but had observed for 7 hrs and 45 mins. At the end of our driving practice, Dee mentioned that we would be tested in the morning on our road skills and then retested in the afternoon if we did not pass the morning test. She also said that if we did not pass the road skills test, that we would not be going to DMV on Monday.
— 7:00am to 7:30am Pre-trip inspection. 7:30am to 8:00am, observed the most skilled student breakdown over personal issues in the middle of the testing. Dee stopped his testing immediately and safely pulled the truck over to talk to him. (It was over the lost of his wife caused by a memory flash while trying to get Domicile papers sent for the DMV.) Dee took him outside the truck to talk to him in private. At 8:15 the next student started his testing. While he is testing, Dee receives a short wave radio announcement by Donna, a Swift staff member, stating she needs a list of the students who would be going to the DMV by noon. Spontaneously, Dee said, This ain’t right. I can’t keep my word to my students. (The day before, Dee had said that we would be tested in the morning and if we had not passed, we would be tested again in the afternoon.) The other student and I looked at each other and said, Oh no! As though we don’t have enough stress on us driving in city traffic! The second student fails the first test. At 9:15am I am put behind the wheel. Then Donna pages Dee again. Asking again how many students are going to the DMV. Dee’s reply I’m not through testing yet! Donna says I need to know ASAP. Meanwhile this is all happening while I’m behind the wheel trying to take a test. Dee resumes the test. She asks me to make a left hand turn at the next red light. The light is red when I reach it. I am at a complete stop checking in front all around everywhere waiting for the light to turn green. After the light turns green I waited for the oncoming cars to go first then I check again before I pull out. I pull out, but suddenly due to an unseen dip in the road on the oncoming traffic side, I have to wait for two more cars to go by before finishing the left turn. This particular light did not have a green turning arrow. By the time the two cars cleared the intersection, the light had turned red, and I am stuck in the middle of the road blocking traffic, therefore I must proceed with my left hand turn and I finished the turn. Dee now tells me that I have failed because of this incident. She tells me to proceed on. At this point I am rattled. I am now trying to concentrate on not making any further mistakes. I start over confiscating every move which causes more mistakes, but no hazardous mistakes. I was maintaining my lanes, but my shifting was all the pieces. At 10:15am, I do an emergency stop immediately after making a right hand turn which I did perfectly. Dee then steps out of the truck and asks me to step out of the truck with her. At this point she tells me I have failed for the 2nd time and asks me if I need a bus ticket home. She explained to me that because I had been Academic Probationed on the Range I was being sent home. It was my understanding that Academic Probation was at every level meaning classroom, Range, and road skills. At this moment, I was extremely confused too much had happened too quicklyI did not know what hit meI have been tested twice in 1 hr.
Dee seemed upset about the whole situation of having to test her students all before noon and having to make such final decisions in the allotted time that had been allowed her by Swift Academy.
Meanwhile, Dee put the second student back behind the wheel for his 2nd testing. He finished driving to the Range and in the process, also failed his 2nd Test at 11:30am. However, she never even let him know he had failed until he had got out from behind the wheel. The shuttle had been called at 11:30am as I was officially off duty. I was literally shipped out at noon. The bus ticket was arranged and I was shuttled to the motel to pack. The Greyhound bus was scheduled to leave at 1:40pm. Somehow the shuttle driver had got me there by 1:30pm. My academy days had begun and ended in the blink of an eye and in just one hour
I am now at home and I was told that I have to Pay SWIFT $750.00 IN ORDER TO RETURN TO SCHOOL FOR ONE WEEK I DON’T HAVE IT. i INFORMED THE SCHOOL I NEEDED EXTRA ATTN UNDER THE ADA LAWS STATES THAT IF YOU NEED ACCOMADATION YOU SHOULD GET THEM THE LADY AT THE SCHOOL SAID HEY YOU GONNA HAVE SOME ONE ELSE DRIVE FOR YOU TOO SUCH A SMART A— AND I’VE BEEN TOLD ALL STUDENTS AFTER 10-11 DAYS ALL MUST PAY THE FULL TUITION TO THEM WEATHER WE HAVE OUR CDL’S OR NOT I’VE BEEN LEFT HANGING IN THE WIND HOW CAN THIS SO CALLED SCHOOL TRAIN AND ALLOW YOU TO ONLY PRACTICE NINE HOURS ON THE ROAD DRIVING AND THEN SEND STUDENTS TO GET A CDL LIC. LIKE THIS I HAVE CALLED NOT ASSIST. GIVEN JUSTTOLD YOU MUST PAY US $3900.00 BECAUSE YOU HAVE BEEN WITH US FOR 10 DAYS AND THEN TELL ME I NEED TO GIVE THEM $750.00 IN ORDER TO RETURN WELL ANOTHER STUDENT’S HUSBAND DID GIVE THEM THE MONEY AND THEY STILL GOT BOOTED AND HE WORKED FOR THEM.
ALL OF THE STUDENTS HAVE KEEP IN CONTACT WITH EACH OTHER OUT SIDE OF SWIFT EVEN IF WE GOT BOOTED I HOPE A LAWER DOES CONTACT ME I WANT MY CDL LIC. SO I CAN SUPPORT MY FAMILY IM NOT IN DEBT AND I WENT TO GET TRAINING SO I COULD GO BACK TO WORK AFTER BEING LAID OFF WHAT A NICE ADD ON TO ME ALREADY BEING UPSET PRIOR TO THIS. SWIFT THIS IS NO WAY TO TREAT WOMEN DID YOU NOT LEARN FROM YOUR PAST MISTAKES.. THIS IS A DAY BY DAY AND I’VE BEEN HOME FOR THREE WEEKS NOW……