Video: Positive Outlook Aids Russell Durgasingh

After failing to pass the written CDL permit test on his first try Aug. 25, Russell Durgasingh could have been depressed. But that’s not his style.

He passed the next day and remains upbeat with his CDL road test looming Sept. 14. Durgasingh also isn't stressing about memorizing the 130-point pre-trip inspection as much as some of his six CDL or Bust classmates who spent much of Labor Day weekend studying.

“I think the break did me some good,” said the 45-year-old Durgasingh. “I was able to have some leisure time with the family. It’s best to actually [practice the pre-trip] at the range where you can actually see and touch the parts. It’s hard to retain the information if you don’t have something visual to attach to the words.”

PHOTO GALLERY: Photos from Week 3

Durgasingh is enjoying learning to become a truck driver.

“Anytime I can learn at this point in my life, especially something so important, I’ve got to take it in and appreciate it,” said Durgasingh, who praised the instructors at Truck America Training in Shepherdsville, Kentucky. “It’s like a conspiracy to get me to do things first,” he joked. “Either I get called on, or guys jump in the back of the cab and leave the front seat for me.”

Durgasingh and others got their first chance to drive the test course Thursday morning, and he was characteristically upbeat but wary afterwards.

“I expected it to be harder,” he said. “I still don’t want to underestimate it because there’s some spots where if you get lackadaisical, it’ll get you. You need to be precise. I’m real familiar with the area. I live about 10 minutes [away], but driving it in a car and a big rig is two different things.”

As for becoming a bit of a public figure via CDL or Bust’s videos, blog posts and print stories, Durgasingh is trying to remain low-key and not go all Hollywood. 

“My wife and kids think I can be a celebrity . . . me, not so much,” the former boxer and mixed martial arts contestant said with a laugh. “The majority of my family don’t know I’m [training at TAT]. I kinda just want to pop up and [say], ‘I got my CDL.’ “

He’ll have that chance in six nights.

-By David Elfin, Transport Topics staff reporter. Photo by John Sommers II for TT