Driver pay, benefits improve says new ATA survey

Updated Dec 17, 2014
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A new study by a leading U.S. industry organization shows that pay and benefits for truck drivers continue to increase.

According to new data released today by the American Trucking Associations (ATA), median pay for drivers was on par with the national median for all U.S. households, and the industry offers drivers “competitive” benefits.

“The data in our Driver Compensation Study, which covered 130 fleets and more than 130,000 drivers, shows that now more than ever, trucking is an excellent career path,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “Fleets are raising pay and offering generous benefit packages in order to attract and keep their drivers in the face of a growing driver shortage.”

Among the study’s key findings:

  • Median pay for drivers ranged from just over $46,000 for national, irregular route dry van truckload drivers to more than $73,000 for private fleet van drivers.
  • In seven of the nine categories of drivers covered by the survey, pay met or exceeded the U.S. median household income of just over $53,000.
  • While mileage-based pay was a common method, three out of four fleets used multiple methods to pay drivers including the most frequent approach, paying some drivers by the mile and some by the hour.
  • Nearly 80 percent of truckload fleets offered drivers paid holidays.
  • And 80 percent of private carriers not only offer a 401(k) retirement plan, but match employee contributions.

“As the economy grows, we are seeing an ever more competitive driver market,” Costello said. “The data in this report will be critical for fleets looking to recruit and retain the best drivers.”

The survey covered 130 fleets, more than 115,000 employee drivers and nearly 17,000 independent contractors, with data broken down by private, for-hire TL, LTL and drayage. Data is for the first half of 2014, except annual compensation, which was for 2013.