Frequently Asked Questions For CRST Company Drivers
1. How many miles can I run?
Our average length of haul is approximately 1,400 to 1,500 miles – the longest in the industry! This means more time working and less time waiting. Our commitment to the long-haul market provides you with consistent mileage all year long. Our teams can currently average over 5,000 miles/week.
2. How often will I get home?
Quality home time for every driver is a priority at CRST. In fact, we guarantee it! Your fleet manager is responsible for getting you home on the day you request to be there – even if it requires an alternative form of transportation to make it happen. You are entitled to 1 day off for each week you are on the road. We ask that you remain available to drive for us a minimum of three (3) weeks. Keep in mind, the more you are available, the more miles you can run. Most drivers choose to remain available for 3 to 4 weeks at a time.
3. How much money can I expect to make?
Experienced professional driver first year earnings depend on whether you run as a Lead Driver or Team Co-Driver. Lead Drivers earn between $45,000 and $55,000 in their first year. We have many experienced professional Teams earning over $100,000 annually. Inexperienced co-drivers drivers in their first year can expect to average $35,000. Keep in mind, most of this money is earned in the second half of your first year due to pay raises and more experience as a professional driver.
4. How and when do I get paid?
Drivers are paid on Tuesday & Thursday through the COMDATA system. Trainees during their first 28 days are paid on Thursdays only. COMDATA is a financial services company that manages our transactions. You will be issued a COMDATA card to use when refueling (which CRST pays for) and we will deposit your earnings directly into your COMDATA account. This system allows you 24 hours/7 days a week instant access to your payroll funds. Statements of earnings are prepared and sent to your home each week. Additionally, while you are out on the road, you will be able to call a toll-free CRST number to find out the amount of each paycheck that was deposited to your COMDATA account. Further, you can view each of your CRST pay statements via the internet at www.crstpay.com.
5. What types of insurance benefits does CRST offer?
Medical Insurance is available to the employee on the first day of employment through a Medical Bridge policy. You are eligible for the CRST group plan (Blue Shield PPO) the first of the month following 60 days of employment. The basic single health plan is $26.87 per week and family health is $111.89 per week. The plan also provides you both term life insurance coverage and accidental death coverage of $20,000. If you elect the family plan, your spouse is provided $2,000 of accident death coverage. The $2,000 accident death policy also applies to your dependents up to 19 years of age (26 years of age if a full time student). For more information about the insurance program please ask one of our recruiters.
6. What type of equipment does CRST operate?
Driver comfort and safety are major concerns when buying power units. CRST Expedited’s entire fleet consists of Freightliner and Volvo tractors. The Freightliners are equipped with Detroit S-60 engines (435 horsepower) coupled with Eaton Straight 10 transmissions. All tractors, whether Volvos or Freightliners, feature top of the line specifications including anti-lock brakes, sky-rise bunks, air ride suspensions, power steering, stereo/cassettes, premium interiors, and QualComm satellite communication equipment. CRST Expedited operates its tractors on a 3-year cycle and trades each unit for a new model when it is 36 months old. This means the average tractor is less than 18 months old. Trailers are also quite new. The vast majority of the company’s 3,000 trailers are Great Dane 53’ dry vans that are less than 3 years old. The result is that CRST Expedited’s combined fleet of 1,250 tractors and 3,000 trailers is one the most modern fleets in the transportation industry.
7. What type of maintenance program do you have for the trucks?
CRST has an in-house maintenance program where tractors receive routine maintenance every 30,000 to 40,000 miles, as directed by the engine & tractor manufacturers. Major maintenance is performed every 120,000 miles. Trailers receive regular maintenance every 18,000 miles. The company encourages communication between drivers and our maintenance department regarding care of the units. Equipment defects prohibiting safe operation by drivers are corrected immediately. In addition to the driver’s daily pre-trip inspection, units that are parked in our terminals are routinely checked by maintenance personnel to ensure they meet Department of Transportation (DOT) requirements. Drivers are paid a bonus for each state or federal inspection they pass without being flagged for violations. Drivers are not expected to work on the equipment.
8. Who is my supervisor?
You will be assigned to a Fleet Manager in the Operations Department. Your Fleet Manager is responsible for dispatching & tracking your progress throughout the country, and he or she is the primary communication link between you while on the road. Fleet Managers are also responsible for getting you home on time & addressing your career needs or concerns.
9. What type of operation does CRST have?
CRST Expedited operates company-owned equipment and hauls 100% dry van freight. Utilizing two person teams, CRST serves over 1,200 customers across the country specializing in the time-sensitive, single pick-up, single delivery truckload market. Our average length of haul is 1,400 to 1,500 miles. Our customer base includes industry leaders such as Wal-Mart, Dupont, Home Depot, Conway, Starbucks, Kohl’s, General Mills, JC Penney, Gap, Kellogg and Toyota and many, many more.
10. How will I find a co-driver so I can run as a team?
Many students going through school together meet and decide to run together as a team after their training program is over & they are qualified to run as co-drivers. If you are in that group, let your recruiter or the orientation staff know so we can work with our Operations group to set you up with your partner. If you cannot find someone to team with, we will match you up with a driver that is located close to your home town with the same smoking preference.
11. How will I be trained?
CRST is the nation’s largest team carrier and trains thousands of new drivers every year. We take pride in bringing so many new professional OTR drivers to the industry. We contract with independent driver training schools across the country that provide our students with a quality education and training program that leads to the student’s earning a Class A Commercial Drivers License (CDL) from the state where the school is located. We send you to a school that regularly trains students for CRST in a 2, 3, or 4-week program that lays the foundation for you as a student driver. This is Phase I.
After graduating from school, you will attend a 3 or 4 day Orientation program at one of CRST’s terminals to prepare you for your actual training on the road. Orientation is considered Phase II.
When you graduate from Orientation, you will be matched with a CRST Lead Driver and enter Phase III, which is the hands-on finishing program that provides actual On the Job training. You will move freight across the nation’s roads and highways, develop your skills and knowledge, and experience life on the road. After Phase III, you will be matched with a co-driver and head back out on the road as a team for an additional two weeks before receiving home-time for five days.
If you are not a contract student but are a recent graduate, you will attend Orientation, which is Phase II, and still receive On The Job training with a lead driver to develop your skills. We also offer programs for drivers who were experienced at one time who would like to get back out on the road but who have not driven for a while. In fact, CRST offers training programs for drivers in almost any situation.
12. What is the 20/10 Program?
The 20/10 program matches three drivers to form a trio that runs the truck constantly. The concept is that each driver is on the road for 20 days straight and then home for 10 days straight. The truck is routed through the terminal or common location every 10 days so that the three drivers can swap out. For example, if you lived in Los Angeles and you were part of a 3-man team in the 20/10 program, you would leave the Riverside, CA terminal and return with your partner in 10 days. Your partner would go home and the 3rd driver would get on the truck with you. The two of you would go out for another 10 days and then return to Riverside. You would then get off the truck for 10 days while the other two drivers continue to run. We have about 75 sets of drivers in the 20/10 program, and they receive preferential treatment to keep the truck moving and to ensure they are back in the terminal every 10 days. It is a very successful program that meets the needs of many drivers. Ask your recruiter about the locations of the 20/10 program to see if you qualify.
13. What kind of safety program does CRST have?
At CRST, Safety is #1. It takes precedence over everything, and we want you to know that our priority is not the freight or the equipment. Our priority is your safety and the safety of others on the highway. When you are running cross-country, you will encounter all kinds of situations, which will affect your ability to pick up or deliver a load on time. At CRST, we are so concerned about your safety, that we let you make the decision whether to run or not. If you are tired, if you do not feel well, or if you do not feel safe moving the load, then you can make the decision to get off the road and rest or deal with the problem. At CRST, this is called the Comfort Zone. In short, if you are not in your Comfort Zone, then you can shut down. It’s that simple.
14. What happens after my 28 days on the road with my lead driver?
You will return to a terminal for an exit interview and possibly a road test. The road test is not required for those students who are recommended to be upgraded to Co-Driver status by the Lead Driver and signed off on by the student’s Fleet Manager. At this point, you will be set up with your new Co-Driver and will go out on the road for up to 2 weeks, followed by 5 days at home.
15. When driving as a team, who gets paid for which miles?
You and your co-driver are paid based on the “split mile” method. As part of a team, we want you to work together as a true team. Therefore, you will be paid for half of the total miles the truck runs each week. We split the miles, not your pay. As an example, if you and your co-driver “run” 6000 miles in a week, you will be paid for 50% of the miles or 3000 miles.
16. Do I have to take a drug test and physical?
Yes. All new employees for CRST will take a drug test and possibly will need to complete another physical for the company, which will be paid for up-front by CRST and payroll-deducted after several weeks of employment. This cost totals to $100.00. Any failed drug test or falsification of application will be cause for immediate termination and you will be required to pay for your own transportation home.
17. Can my spouse/significant other and I train together with a lead driver?
Students will not train together with a single lead driver (trainer). Each student will be on a truck with a lead driver by himself or herself for a minimum of 28 days. This is for your safety and to get the most out of your time with a lead driver. There are no exceptions.
18. Can I take my truck home?
The policy regarding drivers taking the truck home is handled on a case-by-case basis. It depends on where the driver lives, the distance from a terminal or drop yard and the driver’s experience level. Inexperienced drivers cannot take their truck home.
19. Can a female student train with a female Lead Driver?
CRST cannot promise that a female recruit will train with a female lead driver. Every female student should expect that she will train with a male lead driver for 28 days.
20. How good does my English need to be?
Every driver must be able to read, write, speak and understand the English language according to federal DOT standards. You must be able to follow road signs, understand Bills of Lading, etc.