Marten Transport, a Wisconsin-based carrier, instituted an increase to its automatic driver detention pay, in addition to maintenance pay, to offset any negative effects of downtime.

With Marten's detention pay rate increase, drivers will earn a $2 per hour increase to $17 per hour for detention time in excess of two hours while waiting to be loaded or unloaded at customer facilities. Drivers delivering or picking up at customers that consistently have extreme detention issues will continue to earn $20 per hour.

In addition to the increase in detention pay, Marten also announced a new program to encourage equipment inspections and help offset downtime while waiting for trailers to be repaired. Marten also began paying drivers $17 per hour for downtime at drop yards and customer drop pools when a driver has to wait for a service truck to fix the trailer he or she is picking up.

"A driver's time is very valuable," says Tim Norlin, director of recruiting for Marten Transport. "It's our goal to basically eliminate detention time, but if it happens and keeps the driver from rolling, we want them compensated for it.

"This program was designed to help drivers who have incurred downtime for making sure their equipment is safe and DOT legal," Norlin says. "If a Marten driver goes to hook a trailer and it's not ready - flat tire or lights not working or whatever - that driver calls our maintenance department and is on the clock until it's fixed. Again, anything that keeps the wheels from rolling keeps a driver from earning. Whatever we can do to make sure our drivers' paychecks don't suffer, Marten will do."

Marten Transport introduced automatic detention pay for drivers in April 2011.