Don't waste your time and money, if you are paying money out of your own pocket, at United Trucking School in Riverside, Calif. Who am I? I am just a down sized 50 years old ex supervisor guy seeking to get a job rather than asking help from the state of Calif. After looking through my various options for trucking schools, United seemed to be the best bet. If only my foresight was as good as my hind, I would be all set! Anyway, here's my story...
After speaking with Dennis Cheney the Admission Dude, I thought this was a good school and forked over $4,360.00 of my hard earned money. He said that because I paid the full amount I would get a hundered dollar discount. Well, I never saw any of that, but thought I would get reembursed by the company who would hire me after graduating the course. This was the first example of what turned out to be a pretty crappy deal for my money, but I thought things might get better down the line. Now, I have to say this, never in my life have I left anything unfinished. I complete anything I pay for or start...this was the first time I just up and quit. I don't like drama and just want to do my job and go home at the end of the day. No issues, no worries, live and let live. In this case, my goal was to get my CDL and get a job. This was not the case. I'll share a couple of instances that ticked me off, there were other things, but you and I have better things to do.
The first week and a half of the course was going over and memorizing the trucking pre inspection. We just read and repeated, read and repeated the material ad infinitum. When we were not doing this we would take multiple choice tests to pass the DMV written test. It was boring and nothing was explained as to why we were reading this stuff or what importance it would have in driving a truck. We also watched videos, which we were not able to really pay attention to because Mondo wanted to talk over the video about whatever interested him at the moment. We were just pushing through the classes so the instructor could write down that he completed his quota of information distilation for the day. If one of the students did not do well in the tests the student was told that "I am trying to teach you this material. If you don't get it, well then you will not pass the test. It seems to be you are not getting it." That was all the extra help you got. There was not alot of effort to do anything really, Amondo, the instructor, was more interested in his Smart phone and web surfing rather than getting us to understand what we were to do as truckers. In addition, too much of our time was spent by the instructor Mondo telling one of the younger guys how much he reminded him of one of his sons, how much they needed to go hunting together, and showing us pictures of sexy women on his smart phone. Chunks of time was wasted by Mondo telling us how long his Dong got and how he made his woman moan and grunt when he used sex enhacing drugs. This went on every day of class throughout the time spent there 8:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. Hey, fine, you like the young guys and enjoy pestering them to run around with you in the wilderness on a daily basis and like to show dirty pictures on your smart phone to your students, Cool. Do it on your own time, not when I am paying you $4,360.00 of my hard earned money!
The Hands on/ practical aspect of truck driving was done at a yard some where in Riverside. The Truck had balled tires, and the truck was run down and broken up, but it did what it did so I hope it would hold together and not fall apart or blow up before we finished our lessons. The instructor was said to know his way around trucks and a great teacher. I had hopes...they were quickly dashed to the ground. All Wayne (the instructor) did was yell and give contradictory directions/ orders as "Turn right! Turn right!! Then when you did that...he would yell "What are you doing?!! I would ask him often what he was trying to say to me, and what he wanted clearly done...he would just kind of blank out and then say, "I am trying to tell you what to do, Bud. If you don't follow my instructions you will not pass this course!" Wayne, is a nice guy, don't get me wrong, and I really respect that he has been a trucker for a long time, its just that he and the other instructor (Amondo) simply cannot express themselves nor know how to instruct.
The finaly straw caused me to stop the truck and quit. We were brought to a stretch of road to learn double clutching. No one was learning it very well as it was our first time really driving a truck. I was suddenly told to drive the truck back to the yard. I said I cannot do this as I did not feel safe enough using the shifting skills needed to move the truck and stop it. 80K Lbs of metal is something you take lightly or play with on public roads. I was told by the instructor that I will bring the truck back to the yard or we will remain sitting on the public road blocking traffic. To accept this choice would cause people to take stupid chances trying to get around us (By the way, we are talking about a 80k lbs tractor and long trailer smack in the middle of a public road, quick changing signales and Californian wacko drivers who are on the verge of flipping out at drop of a hat.) This was the makings for a traffic accident if there ever was one. I am still unsure how I got that piece of crap truck back to the yard. By the time I was able to get the truck back, I was a basket case. By the way, the whole trip back Wayne (the instructor) was totally losing it, yelling and threatening all the was to the yard. This type of teaching really doesn't work on me.
Once back at the yard, I was told we will now practice skill driving. I was told to turn right, I performed what he asked, and Wayne started yelling again, it appeared that I was not doing what he had instructed. He then started making threats and made statements that he would have to report me to San Bernadino DMV that I am too nervous to drive a truck safely. My mind raced back a few moments ago when I was forced to drive the truck without any real ability down a public road endangering myself, my fellow students and any one who was on the road at that time. I looked down at Wayne from the cab as he looked up blinking and blank faced. I then made up my mind this guy can't teach me and to stick around further would only end up with myself or someone else hurt. I said, Wayne, you know, this is really too dangerious, and I am not going to do this anymore, Good bye. I left the yard never returned.
So wrapping this up. if you are interested in learning to drive a truck. Do not go United Truck/ Kamakaze Driving School! Go instead to a professional trucking school offered by one of the trucking companies as England or Stevens, pay the money for good education, and the drive for them for the time you signed up for, they will often reemburse you for the money initially put out and you will learn how to drive a truck safely, professionally and have a job afterwards to boot! Like I said before, Wayne, and Mondo are nice guys, they just can't teach, and are often following what is interesting to them, not your driving career. Furthermore, you are putting your life on the line as you are pretty much put behind the wheel of a 80K lbs tractor and trailer and told to drive (kind of like taking someone who does not know how to swim and throwing them in the deep end of the pool with the command... Swim!). Lastly, if you are paying money out of your own pocket, well, it really is not worth it. If I knew what I do now, I would have taken that money and went directly to C.R. England and pay them to teach me how to drive, I then would have a CDL and a job to boot! Rethink your choice if you are pondering going to United Truck Driving School...you may end up with less money in your pocket, no CDL and simply feeling stupid that you tried to learn from people who may know how to drive a truck, but not how to teach you how to drive, or...worse wake up dead.