Despite high fuel costs, 22% of the fleets in SignPost Inc.'s summer survey raised driver wages and benefits.

"Ten years ago, few carriers if any would increase driver wages during the midst of a fuel spike. Some carriers still cling to that practice," noted David Goodson, editor of The National Survey of Driver Wages. "The fact that so many carriers are willing to go ahead with wage increases indicates the severity of the driver shortage for truckload carriers."
The average increase for new hires with three years of experience was 3.6%. Refrigerated carriers, on average, raised pay by 2.7 cents per mile. Raises among van carriers averaged 2 cents a mile. Flatbed carrier raises averaged 2.1 cents a mile.
Joliff Transportation, a van carrier, had the highest increase -- 5 cents a mile. Martin Trucking and Jim Palmer led refrigerated haulers with a 4 cent per mile increase. The leading flatbed carrier was Halvor Lines at 3 cents a mile.
Researchers said that many carriers have delayed planned pay increases in hopes that lower fuel prices would offset the added wage costs, but those who did raise pay have put pressure on others to do the same.
The survey, published quarterly, looks at pay packages for company drivers and owner-operators in more than 400 truckload fleets. For more information see