Overdrive Staff | April 03, 2011

Demand pushing pay higher

Owner-operator pay will rise an average 4 cents to 6 cents a mile over the next 12 months, predicted Gordon Klemp, president of the National Transportation Institute.

Klemp spoke March 14 to Truckload Carriers Association members at TCA’s annual meeting in San Diego. Klemp’s firm surveys medium- and large-sized fleets quarterly.

He also predicted:

• Pay hikes tied more closely to freight rate increases.

• Company driver pay rising 3 cents to 5 cents per mile.

• Driver pay more closely tied to performance measurements, including driver scores under the new federal Compliance, Safety, Accountability program.

• More use of sign-on and referral bonuses, which virtually disappeared during the recession. Klemp said 40 percent to 70 percent of fleets now offer one or the other.

• Pay more closely tied to regions of the country.

• Expanded in-house driving training programs.

• Expanded truck lease-purchase programs.

Since the recession, carriers have found it difficult to rebuild driver forces because they have scaled back recruiting staff and training programs, Klemp said. Many former drivers are unwilling or unable to return to trucking because they enjoy generous unemployment benefits, they have found work in the underground economy or elsewhere, or they will not meet stricter hiring criteria under CSA. The proposed hours of service revision could reduce productivity as much as 15 percent, which would create demand for more drivers, he said.

“Supply’s not going to get better,” Klemp said. “Retention management, I think, is going to be huge.”

That will require not just good pay rates, but also finding new ways to recruit new drivers, to train them well, and to do a better job of explaining their total compensation package to prevent them from mistakenly leaving a good carrier during periods of high turnover, Klemp said.

— Max Heine

Charlie Daniels to perform at Super Show

Music legend Charlie Daniels will take the stage at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Oct. 7 during the 2011 Charlotte Diesel Super Show.

Country Hall of Fame singer Charlie Daniels first hit the country music charts in 1975 with his rebel anthems “Long Haired Country Boy” and “The South’s Gonna Do It.”

The 7 p.m. concert will be free with show admission, which is $20 for a two-day pass for adults. All events and parking are included in the purchase price.

Held Oct. 7-8 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, zMax Dragway in Concord, N.C., the Charlotte Diesel Super Show offers equipment and truck demonstrations, industry-related exhibits and ride-and-drives and activities. Other events include truck drag races and the Custom Rigs’ Pride & Polish truck beauty contest. Additionally, drivers can do a test drive down the zMax Dragway.

— Staff reports

FMCSA sends CSA warning letters

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