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  • Report: #325775

Complaint Review: Alabama Benz Driving Acadamy

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  • Submitted: Sun, April 13, 2008
  • Updated: Sat, June 09, 2012

  • Reported By:brandon Florida
Alabama Benz Driving Acadamy
15475 Us Hwy 431, Headland Al Nationwide U.S.A.

Alabama Benz Driving Acadamy Does Not Get you a Commercial Drivers License Headland Alabamal

*REBUTTAL Individual responds: I remember this gentleman...

*Consumer Comment: Be Aware... Alabama Benz Driving Academy

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I attended the Alabama Benz Driving School to obtain a commercial drivers license. I spent a week in the classroom and the rest of the time learning maneuvering skills and practicing safe driving on the roads. When I decided to come there, I was told about a high success rate. I wasnt concerned about it because I was diligent in my efforts as a student. I always did whatever task I was assigned. From 7:00 arrival to 5:00 departure, the only break during the day was an hour for lunch. I took every opportunity I had to practice driving.

Students could only practice maneuvers if there had not been a rain, as the practice area was unpaved. The wait time for a maneuver was about an hour, as only 2 trucks were available to practice alley docks, parallels, and offsets. Only one student that was in my original permit class received their CDL while I was there. When a student didnt get their CDL, they had to leave, and a large number of students were starting classes, which did not leave space for the present students.

I would never have considered this school if I had known that the failure rate could be so astronomical. Everyone attending this school is there because they need a job, not a debt. I have no choice at this time except to find another school and start training all over again. It was a hardship to leave my home and stay for weeks at a time without a car. In addition to not getting a CDL, I wasted weeks of precious time that was needed for successful training. I wont be sending any of my hard earned money to them to finance a school that does not deliver on the promise of a high success rate. I realize that driving schools cannot succeed with every single student, but to fail virtually every single student is unacceptable.

If you or someone you know is considering attending this school, I urge you to find out how many vehicles are used for maneuvers, how many instructors are employed, and compare that with other truck driving schools.

Dianne
brandon, Florida
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 04/13/2008 04:37 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Alabama-Benz-Driving-Acadamy/nationwide/Alabama-Benz-Driving-Acadamy-Does-Not-Get-you-a-Commercial-Drivers-License-Headland-Alabam-325775. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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0Author 1Consumer 1Employee/Owner
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#1 REBUTTAL Individual responds

I remember this gentleman...

AUTHOR: GaryLC - (United States of America)

Once again, I'm the guy with the ponytail. :D 

At the time of this incident, I'd just had a heated run-in with management concerning providing enhanced facilities for the students (covered waiting areas) and had gone so far as to offer to pay for half the cost of installing several pre-fab structures; which would have provided protection from the brutal Alabama sun for not just the students but the instructors as well.

I did see the gentleman's backpack and engaged him in conversation: my 'belittlement' of the Army went something like this: "Were you in the military?" "Yes." "What branch?" "Army." ...and I said: "Oh, sorry, I thought you said you were in the military."

This is typical inter-service rivalry bantering that you would hear bandied about by members of disparate branches whenever they would get together or talk about their service. This will also show you that the gentleman was a bit 'thin-skinned.' I asked him about his enlistment/MOS, then proceeded to swap some very real experiences of my own and tried to get him to elaborate on his own short career. He was not very forthcoming. 

I was surprised to find him there, as most former military take advantage of the various separation programs offered from the Army as to gaining employment after discharge. Trucking companies recruit heavily from those leaving the service and offer FREE instruction (JB Hunt, Schneider, USA Trucks, etc) at their reputable companies; so to see a former military member in a pay-to-learn facility such as Alabama Benz was a bit surprising. I'm sure there's a story behind that but I did not ask.

Once again, most of the students at this facility were rejected by mainstream trucking companies for various reasons from sketchy employment histories to those related to law enforcement. In fact, the students were picked from rejected applications purchased by Alabama Benz from larger trucking companies. Alabama Benz was a student-mill for CRST. 

To his credit, this person did attempt to organize an impromptu pre-trip class. When asked to perform a pre-trip as a demonstration, I did. It was known right up front that this was just a demonstration to show them what they would have to learn and that instruction on the step-by-step would come after. The students were provided with study guides that showed specific order of completion for the pre-trip inspection they would have to perform during their CDL examination. I noticed several people trying to take notes and told them it would be easier if they just followed along and took notes during the slower step-by-step class I'd give later. 

At every juncture of instruction, during breaks between tasks, I also tried to pass along real-world experiences of mine which included how much money you could make once a driver had passed his first year of driving and exactly which companies to apply to once their contractual portion of their careers had ended (CRST requires a year contract for new drivers whose schooling they pay for) and included my own experiences with companies as examples. I continue to be amazed why people would think this is a bad thing.

I continually attempted to goad management into improving the school for the students but was rebuffed at every turn and basically told to just 'herd them through' to the exam. I was successful at getting a single structure put up to help protect the students from the sun, but not much else. 

I used Alabama Benz to fill in a gap in employment while I sought to garner a position with a military contractor on Ft. Rucker. I was not unhappy when the school closed with no warning to the employees. 
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#2 Consumer Comment

Be Aware... Alabama Benz Driving Academy

AUTHOR: Rob - (U.S.A.)

I attended this school in early 2008 for a few days shortly after Diane posted this. I won't mention the company that sent me there for training as they are a solid company. Unfortunately I, and many others, believe they made a bad judgment call in using this company.

I came out of Florida and had a head start on most of my class mates. I already had my Class A permit so did not have to repeat the classroom portions. Myself and two others were sent out to the driving range ahead of the class. Due to a lack of trainers we spent several hours in the hot sun waiting for a trainer. I grabbed up my mini-group and figured we would start working on pretrip. After a bit of that a trainer came out to us (don't remember his name but he said he was an ex-marine and had a pony tail.

We asked him some questions about the pre-trip and he commenced to rattling off the pre-trip. He moved so fast that none of us could keep up. He acted more like someone showing off than a proper trainer. He also noticed my Army backpack, and proceeded to belittle my Army career and tell a long string of tales from his military days. None of which were believable. We then of course got to hear how he was making a ton of money driving truck.

After we FINALLY got to start working on our backing skills we were lead to a really nice rig used for straight backing. It was a nice truck, and we completed that portion quickly. This was the only portion of backing that we did on a hard surface such as asphalt.

We were then lead to another truck used for a different skill. First thing I noticed about this station was that it was in the dirt. Then I looked around and noticed that ALL the rest of the skills were taught in a large open field of mostly dusty dirt and grass. I found this to be a bit unusual as I had visited several truck driver training sites in Florida and all used concrete or asphalt. I also noticed that some of the trucks were in pretty bad shape. The 2nd truck I used had a loose mirror on driver's side that shook so much that it was hard to see what was going on at the back of the trailer. Added bonus: door handle was broken so you had to open drivers door from the outside.

After several hours of this I made the decision to leave the school and look for proper training back in Florida. Several of my classmates made the same decision. Most of us did not like what we saw as unprofessional trainers (not all.. just a couple) and an environment that was not condusive to proper training. Several mentioned not liking the idea of have to clean restrooms and taking out trash from the main building (which was basically a dirtly rundown farmhouse). The toilet seat was not even attached to the toilet in the mens room.

I have to admit that parts of the experience were quite nice and actually enjoyable. We had an older gentleman (I think they called him Pops) was very knowledgeable and did quite a bit to help the folks that needed permits.

Other gripes from the people I was there with involved subpar lunches and a hotel that seemed just a step above "fleabag".

Later in July I was at a Bus Depot in Northern Florida and ran into one of my classmates. I was surprised he remembered me. He informed me that a VERY small percentage passed the course.

I believe that Alabama Benz could do so much better if they spent some of the money they receive from the trucking companies to better improve the training grounds. They also need to take a long hard look at some of the training staff (Mr. Ponytail) and make improvements there as well. Students should clean up after themselves to a point, but insisting they clean the bathrooms and take out all the trash in the building.....

As for the reason why I am posting so far after the fact.... I did a search on Alabama Benz to see if they were still in business and found this posting.

Much may have changed in the last year, but as Diane said... ask questions.

1. Number of trainers
2. Proper training facilities (asphalt/concrete)
3. Proper training/trainers
4. pass/fail ratio

If you live in Florida, Georgia, or Alabama and sign up with a trucking company and they say they are sending you to Dothan, Alabama.... you might consider asking if there are other schools available.

Just my 2 cents....

RS
Central Florida

P.S. Diane I hope you got your Class A somewhere and did not give up on dream of driving a truck.
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