Flatbed and refrigerated fleets continue to play catch-up in driver wages, as last quarter's annualized wages rose 3.3%, according to the National Survey of Driver Wages.

Nearly 18% of the over 400 truckload fleets surveyed by SignPost Inc. increased their wages last quarter an average of 4.6%. While the average increase was higher in dry van (5.3%), only 13.9% of dry van carriers raised pay last quarter. Reefer carriers were the most likely to raise pay, with 21% of the fleets making changes. On the flatbed side, 18.4% of fleets raised driver pay.
More than half of the increases came among fleets that were already offering 29 cents a mile or more for three years of experience.
"Over the past two years, dry vans were the hottest wage segment of the survey, with carriers leapfrogging over each other to emerge as the pay-rate leader," says Dave Goodson, president of SignPost. "Now the refrigerated and flatbed segments show more activity than dry vans, as new wage leaders emerge and everyone else is forced to adjust their package."
For instance, Goodson says, Charger, a flatbed carrier, increased its starting pay to 40 cents a mile. In the refrigerated segment, TransAm Trucking and Trailwood Transportation bumped starting pay to 33 cents a mile.
"These carriers have come close to, caught up or surpassed the wage leaders among the dry van carriers," Goodson says.