College CDL program teams with FMCSA and highway patrol

'Have a good attitude, and it can change the entire outcome'

Rhett Breedlove
Posted 4/17/24

TORRINGTON – The Eastern Wyoming College (EWC) Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Program within a short period of time has already proven it is here to stay and doesn’t plan on …

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College CDL program teams with FMCSA and highway patrol

'Have a good attitude, and it can change the entire outcome'


TORRINGTON – The Eastern Wyoming College (EWC) Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Program within a short period of time has already proven it is here to stay and doesn’t plan on going anywhere.

Having made its start just over a year ago, the program has continued every day, week, and month ever since to show it is more than capable of winding out knowledgeable, dependable, and above all safe drivers on state roads and highways.

Led by veteran driver and seasoned teacher, Ed Kimes, the program has continued to develop a solid reputation of indeed certifying capable men and women who have completed the program; but more so building strong and trusting relationships with the communities, counties, and states.

Wednesday night the college CDL program met with dozens of local drivers, business owners, and regulation officials to continue promoting safety, compliance, and knowledge in helping keep truckers on the road and diminish damaging accidents.

As alluded strongly by Kimes, if the program continues to build said relationships while keeping safety and regulation compliance as a top priority; it is well on its way to becoming even more than one of the best in Wyoming.

As dozens of local and neighboring drivers gathered at the college C-Tech building for a brief night of informative business information, Kimes spoke with words of assurance not only to truckers in attendance but to the entire community.

“We do train CDL drivers, but we would love to know what you would like from us,” Kimes said. “I am very proud of our program at this point, and we definitely need more trainers. If you are interested, we would love to talk to you. Beyond that if there’s anything we can do as a training facility or program, or if you have any suggestions which would make us a better program please reach out. We don’t want to be just one of the best in Wyoming, we want to be the best in Wyoming.”

Adding further to the training process of certifying a CDL driver, Kimes explained an enormous part of ensuring students’ ability to learn correctly and efficiently is one overlooked quality most would assume applies only to an elementary school. According to Kimes without this particular quality, a student certainly cannot learn the extensive skills and knowledge required for being behind the wheel of a very large and expensive piece of machinery.

“Remember, they are learning,” Kimes said with a smile. “I remember learning, and all of you remember learning. We certainly appreciate your patience with them, and they are doing fantastic. If there is anything to be had from this, it’s an incredible process to work together. We work a lot, and if you have a CDL out of Nebraska or Colorado you can still train with us here. We could really use you as a trainer.”

To broaden safety compliance and teamwork with numerous state officials, Kimes introduced two guest speakers for the evening.

Joshua Camp of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Wyoming Highway Patrol New Entrant Auditor, Chris Stewart joined the college CDL head to provide additional knowledge and information to all attending on the incredible importance of following federal and state driving regulations.

Rendering to both officials, straying away or undermining such regulations often results in severe, and in some cases final consequences to a trucker’s career.

“This is actually the second seminar our agency has done recently,” Camp began. “We ran Laramie County Community College last week, so thank you to Ed and his partners in bringing this safety message out. Everything our agency does in Wyoming is with the Highway Patrol. That’s the same with the state and country. Without the police, we can’t accomplish much. We are a very tiny agency, but we are not going to just be talking about random stuff. These are the things that heavily apply to Wyoming drivers.”

“Our agency is kind of like the Federal Aviation Administration, but much smaller. Different agencies have different parts. We are about 1,100 people nationwide, and our mission is to reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving large trucks and buses. In terms of inspections and investigations, the top violations we are talking about involve CDLs.”

Camp would heavily push during his presentation the utmost importance of all drivers, as well as employers to always follow rules and regulations regarding the use of drugs and alcohol.

Although this particular concept among CDL drivers is well-known perhaps more than any other; according to Camp this is why it makes all the more reason for drivers to never be complacent.

As both Camp and Stewart were humbly remindful; accidents, injuries, and death are the very last thing any driver will ever want.

“View yourselves as the captain of the ship,” Camp continued. “Drugs and alcohol are a big thing for our agency. Not because of investigations, but it is something very serious. A driver who’s drunk or under the influence is a very big deal. This is what causes accidents and injuries. Wyoming actually does do a very good job on this and is one of the top states for catching it which is great to hear. This pretty much applies to every driver and even mechanics. If you are a mechanic who gets behind the wheel and drives around, that mechanic also needs a CDL. And if it’s a CDL, you are going to be subject to drug testing.”

“Some of the major questions we get is, what are we going to subject you to? Or we may just start throwing fines at you. When I say we have to look at everything, if you have drivers getting busted at the roadside we may come out and look at your logbooks. For the most part, when we go to companies, it’s because they have had an inspection at the roadside with certain violations. If your trucks keep having flat tires, we may come out for vehicle maintenance.”

As Camp wrapped up his portion of the evening’s seminar, a compact example of personal or even disturbing concern was shared.

“We had a wife file a complaint with us because her husband was doing drugs and didn’t want him on the road,” Camp shared. “So, we went ahead and did an investigation. If a motor carrier does not cooperate with the investigation process, they can be placed out of service and incur civil penalties.”

Stewart would continue with the evening’s seminar going over crucial regulations concerning weight and rules of equipment, but more importantly the value of honesty and working together within the industry.

“This is like your credit card score, it’s always evolving and changing,” Stewart said. “We don’t target, but we do focus. That’s our state. You do you, until you do something stupid, and we have to tell you to stop. Run your business but stay within the law. We try not to get into your business, but if it becomes a safety issue, we have to step in. The us vs. you was a long time ago. I want you to get there by how rules are designed along with its partnerships. We need to work together to get there so we don’t have fatalities. I don’t like seeing that, and you guys don’t want to be involved in that stuff. 

Stewart would use a memorable visual example of a large trailer not in compliance with regulations and would very regretfully damage a state highway bridge.

“Why do we have truck size and weight limits?” Steward asked. “That bridge got taken out by a load like this, doing eighty miles an hour. They bought that bridge. They didn’t have a permit because they didn’t want to spend the money, but that’s why we have them.”

“It’s a partnership. That’s how we do things, and that’s how we train. Don’t do stupid stuff, and do not falsify anything. Feel free to challenge and appeal, but do not falsify anything. We see a lot of stuff we shouldn’t have to see, but it can happen. We are just human. So have a good attitude, and it can change the entire outcome.”

Both men received applause from all in attendance at the conclusion of their presentations. 

As Kimes returned to the front of the evening’s attendees, the fresh yet ambitious CDL instructor had final wise words of thought for all in front of him.

“We want to rain people out being drivers,” Kimes concluded. “But we also want to be present to the industry. It’s not always easy to find the information to do our jobs. We don’t want ever to be out of compliance, but sometimes it’s hard to find out what we need to do to be in compliance. I think this is going to be a very good thing for us. Remember when we hire drivers, they are entry drivers, so help them. Having said that, we always want to turn out and produce high quality safe, and efficient drivers.”

The seminar reached its conclusion shortly before 8 p.m.