CRST Trucking No More Cdl Student Training

Topic 32594 | Page 1

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Rob's Comment
member avatar

For anyone looking into their cdl student training program they are no longer offering it. Just an FYI

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

For anyone looking into their cdl student training program they are no longer offering it. Just an FYI

They are still accepting students from California, but that's it. That may end soon, also.

Here is an article about it:

CRST to close its truck driver training school this year

From the article:

The company is focusing on driver retention, mentoring newly hired drivers with higher wages, flexibility

Chad Brueck, the president of CRST Expedited Solutions, said the move to close its North American Driver Training Academy aligns with the company’s mission of better retaining its current drivers rather than “simply hiring more.“

Nice theory. Trying to retain drivers is a "strategy" (if you can call it that) that applies to every company in the nation. Driver turnover has averaged nearly 100% for decades. That hasn't changed. So I'm not sure what they think they're going to do to suddenly change it at their company.

“Over time, it’s just become more challenging for individuals to get CDLs (commercial driver's licenses) out of state, so many of our drivers don’t live in Iowa,” Brueck said.

“It just has become better for us to partner with other schools to find and hire new people who already have CDLs in their home state.”

I don't know what the laws are in Iowa regarding out-of-state students. If they have to send students to their home state to test, that would be difficult.

However, I've worked for many years with companies that train their own drivers, and they all agree that hiring students out of private schools is their last resort. The students are poorly trained and often come out of school thinking they're holding all the cards because they have a CDL. Their training, attitude, work ethic, perspective, and expectations often make them terrible candidates.

Keep in mind, that is why so many companies began their own schools in the first place. No one would have their own school if hiring from private schools worked well.

“We still have our mentor driving program, where new drivers train with experienced drivers for weeks,” he said. “We are focusing on recruiting directly from any CDL schools out there. We have seen success with those plans already.”

It's interesting because nothing was stopping them from hiring students out of private schools all these years. Why suddenly does this seem like a viable option when it wasn't for the past 10 years? I'm not sure.

Gannon and Brueck said getting drivers home more often and raising pay rates are attempts to lure new people into the industry.

“We’ve increased wages more than we ever have over this last year and a half,” Brueck said. “Drivers also want to be home more often, so we’ve developed positions to make that happen.

“We still have over-the-road drivers, of course, who are out four to six weeks at a time, but now we also have more home-weekly drivers.”

Wow, getting drivers home more often and raising pay is their strategy. Again, I'm curious why they're just now trying to implement the same strategy every company has tried to implement for the past 5 decades.

This is quite a perplexing move. I work with many companies that operate their own schools, and as I've mentioned, the quality of drivers coming out of private schools is dismal at best. Other major carriers have hired out of private schools for years, but those carriers have a tremendous amount of control over those schools, or they own them outright.

What he didn't mention is tuition. How many of us became truck drivers because we had more money than we knew what to do with? Most people who want to become truck drivers are stone-cold broke. The appeal of company-sponsored training is huge because most of us can't afford tuition at private schools.

Maybe CRST will still sponsor students but send them through private schools. I'm not sure. We'll see. This is quite a surprising move. I think there's a lot more to their strategy than this article lets on. I'm gonna try to find out more soon.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Company-sponsored Training:

A Company-Sponsored Training Program is a school that is owned and operated by a trucking company.

The schooling often requires little or no money up front. Instead of paying up-front tuition you will sign an agreement to work for the company for a specified amount of time after graduation, usually around a year, at a slightly lower rate of pay in order to pay for the training.

If you choose to quit working for the company before your year is up, they will normally require you to pay back a prorated amount of money for the schooling. The amount you pay back will be comparable to what you would have paid if you went to an independently owned school.

Company-sponsored training can be an excellent way to get your career underway if you can't afford the tuition up front for private schooling.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Stevo Reno's Comment
member avatar

When I started at CRST in Sept. 2019, we had a class of 64 on day 1. Day 2, lost like 20, for various reasons. Day 3 maybe another 20, in the end, 24 of us finished and passed. Within 6 months, of those 24, there was like 8-10 still driving for them. Lot of them jumped ship, trying to go to other companies, and found out the hard way, they screwed the pooch. By my contacts, I found out, by years end, there was 3 or 4 of us still there, 18 months later I was the last of us to leave LOL.....Exactly why they brought in so many students, the failure/quit rate, was awful. (they used an offsite school, A.S.D, in Fontana, Ca.)

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar
I don't know what the laws are in Iowa regarding out-of-state students. If they have to send students to their home state to test, that would be difficult.

I'm really not sure if Iowa has changed things. However I haven't been seeing as many TMC trucks with CDL students. Student drivers are dead giveaways from a distance due to hauling jersey barriers. Their training yard is only a mile or 2 down the street from our yard and I used to see several every day.

I wonder if the CRST move is more to do with the 160 hour requirement. It also doesn't help how many people break their contracts. Most people take advantage of company sponsored training because they're broke and in desperate need of a change. I'd be curious to know what percentage of students that don't fulfill their obligation by staying employed actually pay the cost to get out of the contract.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Company Sponsored Training:

A Company-Sponsored Training Program is a school that is owned and operated by a trucking company.

The schooling often requires little or no money up front. Instead of paying up-front tuition you will sign an agreement to work for the company for a specified amount of time after graduation, usually around a year, at a slightly lower rate of pay in order to pay for the training.

If you choose to quit working for the company before your year is up, they will normally require you to pay back a prorated amount of money for the schooling. The amount you pay back will be comparable to what you would have paid if you went to an independently owned school.

Company-sponsored training can be an excellent way to get your career underway if you can't afford the tuition up front for private schooling.

Pacific Pearl's Comment
member avatar

I suspect CRST's decision to stop offering driver training has more to do with last year's class action settlement than anything. Some highlights:

The Court has ruled that contract drivers are employees of CRST during Phase 2 orientation and should have been paid the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for orientation.

The Court has ruled that CRST’s failure to disclose to drivers that the amount that CRST pays to the CDL schools for contract drivers to attend truck driving school is significantly lower than the $3,950 to $6,500 training charged by CRST is a prohibited practice under the Iowa consumer protection statute.

The Court has ruled that CRST charged a usurious interest rate in violation of Iowa law when it sent debt collection letters to drivers that included an 18% interest rate.

The Court has ruled that CRST’s split- mileage pay formula must compensate drivers at least the federal minimum wage for all compensable hours worked, including driving time and on-duty time.

CRST agrees to release entitlement to and not to pursue any collection efforts for training school costs in excess of the amount CRST actually paid to the CDL school for tuition. CRST also agrees to release entitlement to and not to pursue any collection efforts any other costs from class/collective members (including relating to drug tests, physical examinations, processing fees, wire charges, meals, etc.), except that CRST may continue efforts to recover housing and transportation costs, as long as those amounts are reasonably related to amounts actually paid by CRST for housing and/or transportation.

Obviously, these changes make it A LOT more expensive for CRST to train drivers. Under the old rules CRST would spend $1,500 to train a driver and if the driver didn't finish their 8 or 10 month employment obligation CRST would turn the driver in to a collection agency for $6,500 and send the driver collection notices demanding the $6,500 and 18% interest. CRST would enforce a non-complete clause, suing any company that hired one of their drivers before they finished their contract. The courts have ruled that marking up the training costs, charging 18% interest and the non-compete clause are all unlawful.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Stevo Reno's Comment
member avatar

Yes, I found out around my 13th month with CRST, they actually pay $1,500 for school. Only because, I got on a pay check, some "phantom $375 added to my gross earnings, taxed at the higher amount, then magically, that $1,500 was, taken back? I called our DM , asking WTF that was all about. He kinda mumbled something, I didn't really understand. So the following weeks pay, same thing happens.

So I "Knew" sending a "macro to management", was to HIS bosses lol. Asking the same questions about this "phantom" $375? Oh boy ! within 5 minutes, he's calling me a bit upset, asking why I sent that macro? I said why? I thought it went right to you? (playing dumb hehehe) THEN he he says, didn't I explain to you what it was about? Which I said, No, you really didn't answer my question, then he proceeded to enlighten me. I still acted dumb, and told him "bro, I didn't try or mean to get you into any trouble (hehehe) I just thought it was fastest way to you to get my message" eh we were cool he just told me don't do that...To just call him, it was ok, he just gets some heat from his bosses lol...........I was born at night, just not last night!

To which he said, the IRS wants them to put a value/cost on training, then split it up into 1/4s on our weekly gross income, to be taxed, for recieving training. Ok fine, so 4 weeks you're done this to, 4th week, I drove less, to pay less to IRS. Done deal, so now my co worker knew what to expect upon his 1st full year back. Yet NONE of this is ever mentioned during the contract signing process. You just find out, when it occurs a year later.

Also, by surprise, I recieved a check for $910 from the 1st, 2 class action lawsuits, CRST had to pay out, nice surprise. Evidently, I am supposed to recieve another check someday when they pay out on the 3rd suit. Not holding my breath

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Jammer a's Comment
member avatar

Wow . I heard from my father in law who worked as a trainer there for yrs that they over gouged but i never new how bad

I suspect CRST's decision to stop offering driver training has more to do with last year's class action settlement than anything. Some highlights:

The Court has ruled that contract drivers are employees of CRST during Phase 2 orientation and should have been paid the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for orientation.

The Court has ruled that CRST’s failure to disclose to drivers that the amount that CRST pays to the CDL schools for contract drivers to attend truck driving school is significantly lower than the $3,950 to $6,500 training charged by CRST is a prohibited practice under the Iowa consumer protection statute.

The Court has ruled that CRST charged a usurious interest rate in violation of Iowa law when it sent debt collection letters to drivers that included an 18% interest rate.

The Court has ruled that CRST’s split- mileage pay formula must compensate drivers at least the federal minimum wage for all compensable hours worked, including driving time and on-duty time.

CRST agrees to release entitlement to and not to pursue any collection efforts for training school costs in excess of the amount CRST actually paid to the CDL school for tuition. CRST also agrees to release entitlement to and not to pursue any collection efforts any other costs from class/collective members (including relating to drug tests, physical examinations, processing fees, wire charges, meals, etc.), except that CRST may continue efforts to recover housing and transportation costs, as long as those amounts are reasonably related to amounts actually paid by CRST for housing and/or transportation.

Obviously, these changes make it A LOT more expensive for CRST to train drivers. Under the old rules CRST would spend $1,500 to train a driver and if the driver didn't finish their 8 or 10 month employment obligation CRST would turn the driver in to a collection agency for $6,500 and send the driver collection notices demanding the $6,500 and 18% interest. CRST would enforce a non-complete clause, suing any company that hired one of their drivers before they finished their contract. The courts have ruled that marking up the training costs, charging 18% interest and the non-compete clause are all unlawful.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
I suspect CRST's decision to stop offering driver training has more to do with last year's class action settlement than anything.

Pacific Pearl, that was a great post. After reading what you've said, I strongly suspect you're right. I will look into this settlement a little more to see what I can dig up.

I'm interested in how this might affect training in the future for other companies. It may not affect it at all. This could be specific to CRST.

Ryan B.'s Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

I suspect CRST's decision to stop offering driver training has more to do with last year's class action settlement than anything.

double-quotes-end.png

I'm interested in how this might affect training in the future for other companies. It may not affect it at all. This could be specific to CRST.

My gut feeling is that this is a situation unique to CRST. We hear all the time where people complain about the training companies and how they operate. This matter with CRST is something that could be seen coming from a ways off. I just don't see indications of other companies trying to push the envelope in the way CRST. Before too long, they will resume training because I don't know of many experienced drivers who look at CRST as a worthwhile option.

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