Are salaries for driver jobs increasing?

April 8th, 2018

Wages may be increasing for those with driver jobs.

The American Trucking Associations released data from its latest Driver Compensation Study, showing driver pay has climbed as rising demand for freight transportation services has increased competition for increasingly scarce drivers.

“This latest survey, which includes data from more than 100,000 drivers, shows that fleets are reacting to an increasingly tight market for drivers by boosting pay, improving benefit packages and offering other enticements to recruit and retain safe and experienced drivers,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello.

According to this most recent study, the median salary for a truckload driver working a national, irregular route was over $53,000 – a $7,000 increase from ATA’s last survey, which covered annual pay for 2013, or an increase of 15%. A private fleet driver saw their pay rise to more than $86,000 from $73,000 or a gain of nearly 18%.

In addition to rising pay, Costello said fleets were offering generous signing bonuses and benefit packages to attract and keep drivers.

“Our survey told us that carriers are offering thousands of dollars in bonuses to attract new drivers,” Costello said. “And once drivers are in the door, fleets are offering benefits like paid leave, health insurance and 401(k)s to keep them.

“This data demonstrates that fleets are reacting to concerns about the driver shortage by raising pay and working to make the job more attractive,” he said. “I expect that trend to continue as demand for trucking services increases as our economy grows.”

The freight index and driver jobs

April 8th, 2018

The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI), which is based on the amount of freight carried by those with driver jobs, fell 0.4 percent in January from December, falling after reaching an all-time high in December, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ (BTS).

The January 2018 index level (132.3) was 39.7 percent above the April 2009 low during the most recent recession.

The level of for-hire freight shipments in January measured by the Freight TSI (132.3) was the second highest all-time level, 0.4 percent below the all-time high of 132.8 one month earlier in December 2017.

The December 2017 index was revised to 132.8 from 132.0 in last month’s release.  Monthly numbers for March through November 2017 were revised up slightly.

The Freight TSI measures the month-to-month changes in for-hire freight shipments by mode of transportation in tons and ton-miles, which are combined into one index. The index measures the output of the for-hire freight transportation industry and consists of data from for-hire trucking, rail, inland waterways, pipelines and air freight. The TSI is seasonally-adjusted to remove regular seasons from month-to-month comparisons.

Despite the 0.4 percent decline from the all-time high of 132.8 in December, the January Freight TSI remained at its second highest level of 132.3. The decline followed three successive monthly increases during which the index rose 2.8 percent from September through January. For the year from January 2017, the index rose 6.3 percent. The January index was 39.7 percent above the April 2009 low during the most recent recession.

New waiver to affect driver jobs

April 3rd, 2018

New guidance is being enacted that may affect driver jobs.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced additional steps to address the unique needs of the country’s agriculture industries and provided further guidance to assist in the effective implementation of the Congressionally-mandated electronic logging device (ELD) rule without impeding commerce or safety.

The Agency is announcing an additional 90-day temporary waiver from the ELD rule for agriculture related transportation. Additionally, during this time period, FMCSA will publish final guidance on both the agricultural 150 air-mile hours-of-service exemption and personal conveyance.

FMCSA will continue its outreach to provide assistance to the agricultural industry and community regarding the ELD rule.

“We continue to see strong compliance rates across the country that improve weekly, but we are mindful of the unique work our agriculture community does and will use the following 90 days to ensure we publish more helpful guidance that all operators will benefit from,” said FMCSA Administrator Ray Martinez.

Since December 2017, roadside compliance with the hours-of-service record-keeping requirements, including the ELD rule, has been steadily increasing, with roadside compliance reaching a high of 96% in the most recent available data. There are over 330 separate self-certified devices listed on the registration list.

Beginning April 1, 2018 full enforcement of the ELD rule begins. Carriers subject to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) that do not have an ELD when required will be placed out-of-service. The driver will remain out-of-service for 10 hours in accordance with the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) criteria.  At that point, to facilitate compliance, the driver will be allowed to travel to the next scheduled stop and should not be dispatched again without an ELD.  If the driver is dispatched again without an ELD, the motor carrier will be subject to further enforcement action.

 

Freight from driver jobs on the rise

March 7th, 2018

The freight numbers are in, and the numbers are putting driver jobs in the spotlight.

The value of U.S.-NAFTA freight totaled $93.5 billion as all five major transportation modes carried more freight by value with North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners Canada and Mexico in December 2017 compared to December 2016, according to the TransBorder Freight Data released by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

The value of commodities moving by vessel increased 37.8 percent, pipeline by 14.2 percent, truck by 5.4 percent, air by 4.1 percent, and rail by 2.8 percent (Figure 2, Table 2). The large percentage increase in the value of goods moving by vessel is due in part to a 11.4 percent year-over-year crude oil price increase, and a 22.2 percent increase in the tonnage of mineral fuels transported by vessel.

Trucks carried 60.7 percent of U.S.-NAFTA freight and continued to be the most utilized mode for moving goods to and from both U.S.-NAFTA partners. Trucks accounted for $29.0 billion of the $50.5 billion of imports (57.4 percent) and $27.8 billion of the $43.0 billion of exports.

Rail remained the second largest mode by value, moving 14.5 percent of all U.S.-NAFTA freight, followed by vessel, 8.4 percent; pipeline, 6.5 percent; and air, 4.1 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 81.7 percent of the total value of U.S.-NAFTA freight flows.

Trucks carried 55.1 percent of the value of the freight to and from Canada. Rail carried 15.3 percent followed by pipeline, 11.6 percent; vessel, 5.3 percent; and air, 4.9 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 82.0 percent of the value of total U.S.-Canada freight flows.

New administrator for driver jobs

March 2nd, 2018

U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao swore in Raymond P. Martinez as the sixth Administrator for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which means a new leader for driver jobs.

“Ray’s years of experience promoting traffic safety at the state level, as well as his knowledge of the commercial motor vehicle industry, will help FMCSA fulfill its critical mission of improving truck and bus safety,” said Secretary Chao.

Martinez most recently served eight years as the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission’s Chairman and Chief Administrator where he oversaw the agency’s 2,500 employees and a $330 million annual operating budget with more than $1 billion in annual revenue. Martinez advised the governor and state legislature on all areas of motor vehicle transportation and traffic safety and was responsible for developing the agency’s regulatory and legislative agenda and all project prioritization.

“It’s an honor and privilege to serve my fellow Americans in this capacity and, under Secretary Chao’s leadership, I look forward to working with all commercial vehicle stakeholders to effectively reduce the number of truck and bus crashes on our nation’s roads,” said Martinez.

Martinez is a former Commissioner of the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, and also served at the U.S. Department of State.

Journagan named Outstanding Driver at the “Elite” Fleet

February 26th, 2018

Clark Journagan has been awarded Driver of the Month for January of 2018 by National Carriers, Inc. He operates a company truck on their 48 State Division.

Clark is a second generation NCI driver following in the footsteps of his stepfather, Leonard Journagan. He is now a finalist for NCI Driver of the Year 2018. Safety has always been a key component in Journagan’s world view.

Earning his chauffer’s license at age 19, he drove at National Carriers for a short stint from 1998 thru 2000. He returned to NCI in 2010. He drives a 2017 Kenworth T-680 which is equipped with invertor, APU, satellite communication, automatic transmission, refrigerator, and double bunks.

“National Carriers treat their drivers like a person instead of a number. NCI is always interested in how to make things better by asking driver’s opinion about what can be done to help the company to improve. The equipment it top-notch and well maintained. Our onboard log system assures the driver of operating safely and legally,” he confided. NCI spokesperson,

Ed Kentner, shared, “Clark Journagan is a great example of a safe, professional driver, who is dedicated to delivering his loads on time. He will always put the safety of the motoring public first, while maintaining his delivery schedule. It is dedicated drivers like Clark that has earned National Carriers the title of the “Elite” Fleet.”

National Carriers is a diversified motor carrier servicing all 48 states in the continental United States with transportation offerings which include refrigerated, livestock, and logistics services. At National Carriers, our mission is “to be the safest, most customer-focused, and successful motor carrier in our class.” Being part of the Elite Fleet® means enjoying a career worthy of your skills and commitment to excellence. We believe long-term success is waiting for you at National Carriers®, one of the nation’s oldest, most respected and largest carriers. Learn about our exciting opportunities for owner operators as well as company drivers. If you are interested in a leasing a truck, National Carriers® Leasing Division is the ideal partner to help you get started.

“Elite” Team named Drivers of the Month

February 7th, 2018

National Carriers, Inc. has named Lisa Peal and Louis Jones as Drivers of the Month for December 2017. The owner operators live in Lubbock, Texas and transport freight on the National Carriers Southwest Regional Fleet. They now are finalists for NCI Driver of the Year, which will be announced during a company award ceremony held at the Bob Duncan Center in Arlington, Texas.

Jones stated, “Neither Lisa or myself come from over-the-road-trucking backgrounds. When we bought our truck, I asked a friend for advice. He told me he had driven for National Carriers in the past and if he were still driving, this is where he would be. I decided to give it a try and that was three years ago. Lisa joined me as a co-driver this past summer.”

“Louis and Lisa are very quiet people and easy to get along with. NCI can always count on them in times of need and to do their job every day. We appreciate them for what they do for our company and enjoy working with them,” shared Operations Manager, Shaun Berry.

Peal said, “I joined Louis on the truck this year. I know it gets lonely when he is by himself for weeks at a time on the road. Together, we have a plan for our future and we are working hard to accomplish our goals through National Carriers.”

Each Driver of the Month is a finalist for NCI Driver of the Year 2017 with each monthly winner receiving a $500 bonus. National Carriers Driver of the Year is announced at the NCI Driver of the Year Banquet on April 20th.

  Company Information

National Carriers is a diversified motor carrier servicing all 48 states in the continental United States with transportation offerings which include refrigerated, livestock, and logistics services. At National Carriers, our mission is “to be the safest, most customer-focused, and successful motor carrier in our class.”  

     Being part of the Elite Fleet® means enjoying a career worthy of your skills and commitment to excellence. We believe long-term success is waiting for you at National Carriers®, one of the nation’s oldest, most respected and largest carriers. Learn about our exciting opportunities for owner operators as well as company drivers.  If you are interested in a leasing a truck, National Carriers® Leasing Division is the ideal partner to help you get started.

Automated vehicles and driver jobs

February 6th, 2018

The U.S. Department of Transportation is making a statement on automated vehicles, their progress, and the impact on driver jobs.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao discussed the Department’s progress in advancing the release of Federal Automated Vehicle Policy (FAVP) 3.0, also known as A Vision for Safety 3.0,  during her remarks at CES in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“Autonomous vehicle technologies will have a tremendous impact on society in terms of safety, mobility, and security,” Secretary Chao said.

FAVP 3.0 will emphasize a unified, intermodal approach to automated driving systems (ADSs) policy. It will enable the safe integration of surface automated transportation systems, including cars, trucks, light rail, infrastructure, and port operations.

“Policy makers need to preserve the creativity and innovation that is part of the American tradition and allow innovation to flourish,” Secretary Chao added.

As part of its efforts, the Department today published several automated vehicle notices for public comment on the DOT Website and submitted them to the Federal Register. The Department is seeking public input from across the transportation industry to identify barriers to innovation and shape initiatives.

The published notices include:

·       Federal Highway Administration (FHWA):

o      Request for Information (RFI) on Integration of ADS into the Highway Transportation System: To better understand what is needed to accommodate ADS technologies, and maximize their potential benefits, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) seeks the public’s input through a formal RFI to supplement strategy development. Advancing the next generation of America’s transportation network can only happen with input from an array of informed sources, including stakeholders, industry experts and the public at large.

 

Grant to help those with driver jobs

February 6th, 2018

A grant for those affected by recent hurricanes may affect driver jobs.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced the immediate availability of $6.5 million in “quick release” Emergency Relief (ER) funds for further repairs to roads and bridges throughout the U.S. Virgin Islands.

“The work continues to rebuild broken transportation links in the U.S. Virgin Islands in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria,” said Acting Federal Highway Administrator Brandye L. Hendrickson. “These additional funds will help ensure residents can travel safely.”

The additional funding supplements $8 million in ER funds previously made available to the U.S. Virgin Islands for Hurricanes Maria and Irma damage, bringing the total amount to $14.5 million for emergency work.  The bulk of the funds provided today will be used to restore traffic signal service on the islands of St. Thomas and St. Croix and make repairs to damaged intersections critical to highway safety.

The FHWA’s ER program provides funding for highways and bridges damaged by natural disasters or catastrophic events.

The “quick release” payments to U.S. Virgin Islands are considered as initial installments of funds used to restore essential traffic and limit further highway damage, which can help long-term repair work begin more quickly.

Driver shortage may intensify

January 6th, 2018

A new report from the American Trucking Association highlights the impact of the shortage of drivers for truck driver jobs.

American Trucking Associations Chief Economist Bob Costello released the findings of his latest report into the driver shortage, warning the trucking industry could be short 50,000 drivers by the end of 2017.

“In addition to the sheer lack of drivers, fleets are also suffering from a lack of qualified drivers, which amplifies the effects of the shortage on carriers,” Costello said. “This means that even as the shortage numbers fluctuate, it remains a serious concern for our industry, for the supply chain and for the economy at large.”

According to the report, ATA’s first in-depth examination of the driver shortage since 2015, the driver shortage eased in 2016 to roughly 36,500 – down from 2015’s shortfall of 45,000.

“We experienced a ‘freight recession,’ last year, which eased the pressure on the driver market,” Costello said. “Now that freight volumes accelerating again, we should expect to see a significant tightening of the driver market.”

In the report, ATA projects the shortage to reach 50,000 by the end of 2017 and if current trends hold the shortage could grow to more than 174,000 by 2026.

Costello detailed the causes of the shortage in the report, including the demographics of the aging driver population, lifestyle issues, regulatory challenges and others; as well as possible solutions.

“While the shortage is a persistent issue in our industry, motor carriers are constantly working to address it,” he said. “We already see fleets raising pay and offering other incentives to attract drivers. Fleets are also doing more to improve the lifestyle and image of the truck driver, but there are also policy changes like reducing the driver age as part of a graduated licensing system, or easing the transition for returning veterans, that can make getting into this industry easier and therefore help with the shortage.”