Jason Horton is more about riding motorcycles than playing baseball, but with CDL or Bust classmate Teddy Flener Jr. under the weather today, Horton graciously agreed to pinch-hit and move his chat with Transport Topics up a day.
So Horton’s latest sitdown with us coincided with the seven students’ first chance to drive the course upon which they’ll go for their CDL permits on Sept. 14 or 15.
“There’s two tricky turns that you have to really watch out for, but it’s not as hard as I thought it would be,” said the 29-year-old Horton, who’ll be tested on Sept. 15. “The traffic’s a little heavy. You have to watch the traffic a little more than I thought you would.”
PHOTO GALLERY: Photos from Week 3
That’s because the tests aren’t actually given on the State Fairgrounds. That’s just where the students meet the state trooper who’ll test them. However, the actual on-the-road portion of the exam, which lasts about 30 minutes, takes place on the busy streets in the area that is also hard by Louisville’s airport and Interstate 65.
If the CDL or Bust students weren’t concerned enough about memorizing the 130-point pre-trip inspection to the letter after knowing that their immediate predecessors at Truck America Training all failed the exam because of it, Horton watched four unaffiliated testers follow suit Thursday.
“That’s [what] I’ve been hammering on every night for at least an hour, making sure I know it,” said Horton, who most recently drove a box truck to deliver uniforms. “That’s all you think about the whole time you’re in here. They preach that … if anybody fails, that’s where they fail.”
Horton said he and his classmates have helped each other with pre-trip questions during their lunch breaks as they try to make sure that everyone earns his or her CDL next week. Horton, who stressed out about the written permit test on Aug. 25, hopes he has learned from that experience and so is 95% sure he’ll pass this even bigger exam. The 5% worry comes from knowing that the trooper assigned to the class is known to be a by-the-book stickler.
Horton said he’s enjoying his struggles and triumphs in class playing out in public via CDL or Bust. His father sees it as a public service of sorts for prospective truck drivers, telling Horton that it’s “kinda cool that some people get to see what’s going to happen before they get there.”
-By David Elfin, Transport Topics staff reporter. Photo of Jason Horton practicing on the CDL course by John Sommers II for TT.