ATA study shows company drivers’ average pay increased by $6,000 between 2017-2019

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Cheerful truck driver
A survey of motor carriers by the American Trucking Associations shows that pay for company drivers increased nearly $6,000 annually between 2017 and 2019.

ARLINGTON, Va. — The American Trucking Associations (ATA) on May 21 released the latest version of the association’s Driver Compensation Study, which showed average driver pay, including bonuses, rose nearly $6,000 in 2019 since the last study in 2017.

“These results show that fleets did exactly what we would expect them to in the face of a tightening market for drivers. They raised pay and increased benefits in order to attract talent,” said Bob Costello, chief economist for ATA.

According to the survey, which was based on data from 2019, the average pay for truckload national, irregular route solo van drivers was roughly $58,000, up $6,000 from 2017.

“We saw large carriers hire more entry-level drivers in 2019, including drivers directly from driver-training school, which lowered the average pay for these carriers, but they did not reduce pay rates. It was just a different driver-experience pool,” Costello said.

Fleets that responded to the survey also reported offering significant benefit packages, which included paid leave, insurance, meals and other incidentals, and retirement plans, to attract drivers. For example, more than 90% of truckload carriers, less-than-truckload carriers and private fleets surveyed said they offered drivers paid leave and health insurance.

“What these figures show is that being a truck driver can be a path to a middle-class lifestyle for millions of Americans,” Costello said. “With the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic crisis not yet fully clear, we can say that a career in trucking could be a well-paying solution for some of the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs so far this year.”

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