Dec. 1 – The National Survey of Driver Wages, published by Wisconsin-based SignPost Inc., has developed the Major Carriers Wage Index.

The index features all of the truckload carriers who appear in CCJ’s Top 150. Each quarter, SignPost will print the starting base rate of each of these carriers for a solo driver with three years of experience, as well as the last seven quarters of data and the change in percent.
Why a driver with three years’ experience? “We believe a driver with three years of experience is the type all carriers are trying to recruit and retain,” says the company in its November 1998 editorial. “It avoids the below market rate for student drivers and the unrealistic high rate, ‘you’ve got to be here forever,’ which some carriers advertise as the top end of their wage scale.”
The first index shows a 6.8% average increase from the first quarter of 1997 through the third quarter of 1998 for all the carriers in the index, for an average per-mile pay of 29 cents per mile. Although the dry van and flatbed carriers in the index both show an average rate of 29.4 cents per mile for the third quarter of 1998, the rate of increase has been 6.2% for dry van carriers and 9.1% for flatbed carriers since the first quarter of 1997. Refrigerated carriers showed a 5.1% increase to 28.4 cents per mile average.
SignPost hopes the wage index will eventually be used in motor carrier contracts as frequently as fuel averages in order to get increased rates that compensate for increased driver wages.