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The quest for a CDL Part V: You gotta be trippin’

The guy in the photo to the right is Tom Fallon. Tom is Ryder’s top safety dude. Tom is a heck of a guy.

According to the State of Alabama, I’m quasi-legal to drive a rig on the highway but there is still one major hurdle standing in my way of shedding the trucker training wheels: Taking the road test.

For the most part, I’m fairly confident there. I can drive and I can back (kind of), at least to the ability of a beginner. I’ve been behind the wheel more times than I can count but I have never had to pour over 140-something inspection points before setting out. This is where Tom comes in. Or flies in, actually.

Tom left his home-base in Pennsylvania and flew to Birmingham, Ala. – narrowly beating out Delta’s Chernobyl-level computer meltdown  – to walk me through a pre-trip inspection.

I knew this part was going to be difficult, but I was fairly confident. I know what the major CSA violations are and I know how to spot most of them. How hard could this be?

Hard? Not very. Involved? Oh, man.

When you do these things everyday, I guess they become routine. You hit this subconscious groove and before you know it – 15 or 20 minutes later – you’re just done. You don’t really know how. You don’t really think about it. You just ninja your way through this process. read more at


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