Fleets across the country, predominantly in the truckload sector, are starting to offer significant driver pay increases because of improved economic conditions and an expected impact from new hours of service (HOS) rules next year.
“New HOS rules offer a reason to make a change, but the need to recruit and retain experienced drivers in an improving economy also made it necessary,” Karry Kearl, VP-fleet operations for Lincoln, NE-based Crete Carrier Corp., told Fleet Owner.
Crete boosted its base driver pay 3 cents per mile this month and plans to revisit pay issues after the new HOS rules go into effect next year. “We’ve needed to bring on new people – company drivers as well as owner-operators – just to handle current business,” Kearl said. “That’s before we even take on the productivity changes that will occur with the new HOS regulations.”
Tulsa, OK-based Melton Truck Lines increased its starting pay from 30 cents to 32 cents per mile this month. It also added 33 cent and 34 cent per mile categories for those with three to five years experience and five years or more driving experience, respectively, for new hires as a way to attract and keep good drivers as the economy improves.
“Our drivers have gone several years without a pay increase, and we knew we needed to do this now,” Pat White, Melton’s VP-Safety, told Fleet Owner. “All signs point to an improving economy so we want to remain competitive in order to maintain a stable group of good, safe drivers. However, we will have to take another look at pay after the new HOS rules are in place in case expected productivity losses affect our driver’s income.”