Freightliner M2 112 Smoothes the Road for CDL TrainingFreightliner Trucks Severe Duty Newsletter
"The crew cab was really ideal for training because of the windows it provides in the back, the doors where students can get in the front and the back, and [the ability] to custom fit the units with a unique hand break that could be reached a bit easier by the instructor in the front seat." — Chad Predix, Director of Strategic Programs, CDL.com
Commercial truck driving is an in-demand career. There is a great need for drivers, and CDL.com is looking to fill that void with 26 training locations that help students earn their commercial driver’s licenses and get matched up with employers to start their careers.
CDL.com has a fleet of Freightliner® trucks for their instructors and students to use throughout the training program. “We like to lease new equipment so our students are training on the latest and greatest,” said Chad Predix, director of strategic programs at CDL.com.
The program started with seven Freightliner Cascadia® sleeper cabs, which are standard for CDL training programs because of their availability. However, CDL.com added three Freightliner M2 112 crew cabs to the mix earlier this spring to improve the student experience.
Predix said CDL.com first looked into the crew cabs because the stock sleeper cabs required them to tear out the beds and drawers, and students complained about being uncomfortable and distracted during on-the-road training.
“The crew cab was really ideal for training because of the windows it provides in the back, the doors where students can get in the front and the back, and [the ability] to custom fit the units with a unique hand brake that could be reached a bit easier by the instructor in the front seat,” said Predix.
Training classes at CDL.com are often eight to 10 hours a day, so comfort, safety, and visibility are high priorities for the students and instructors. The crew cab provides three separate seats with seat belts in the back, along with windows.
Students complete 50 hours of range work, which includes shifting, maneuvers, pre-trip inspections, and parallel parking in a large lot before road training begins. Road training includes observing and driving with a licensed instructor, planning and running routes, reading maps, and responding to obstacles on the road. By the end of the four-week program, students will have spent 110 hours with the vehicle. Completing this training in crew cabs not only allows the students to get more out of their observation time, but also helps CDL.com maximize their capacity.
“For us, [the Freightliner M2 112] gives us better utilization as a business,” said Predix. “We have four-to-one ratios that we keep in our trucks, and the crew cab comfortably and safely allows us to enroll at efficiency levels. They are above and beyond more comfortable for the students observing.”
The Freightliner M2 112 has a 2,500-square-inch windshield and a wheel cut up to 55 degrees to help drivers avoid road hazards. It also features see-through fluid reservoirs and an accessible transmission for ease of maintenance.
“The students love it, the program directors love it; it is the perfect training vehicle for us,” said Predix.