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March 14, 2019 4:00 PM, EDT

Driver Turnover at TL Fleets Drops in 4Q, ATA Report Shows

Driver Turnover Trans Pixs/Larry Smith

The turnover rate at large truckload carriers fell 9 percentage points in the fourth quarter, according to an American Trucking Associations report. At 78%, the rate is 10 points lower than it was during the same period in 2017.

Large carriers are those with more than $30 million in annual revenue.

For the year, the turnover rate at larger carriers was 89%, up 2 percentage points from the previous year.

The churn rate grew at smaller carriers, up 5 percentage points to 77% in the fourth quarter. Still, that mark is 3 points lower than the fourth quarter of 2017. For the entire year, the rate averaged 73% — the lowest since 2011.

“The driver market continues to be tight, but not quite as much as the middle of 2018. The overall trend late last year was that turnover is slowing,” ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said. “There can be various reasons for this — either freight volumes are decelerating and, as such, fleets pulled back on recruiting efforts, or fleets’ efforts to increase pay are paying dividends in the form or reduced turnover. The truth probably lies somewhere in between, but it is a trend that bears watching.”

Turnover at less-than-truckload fleets remained unchanged at 10% for the fourth quarter and finished the year at 11%.

To counter the challenges with driver turnover, numerous companies in 2018 and again in 2019 have raised driver pay and benefits.

In January, C.R. England Inc. announced it was boosting pay for solo and team drivers and driver trainers for the second time in eight months.

Driver Turnover

C.R. England Inc.

England said the pay increases apply to all linehaul drivers, with solo drivers receiving an increase of between 2 and 7 cents a mile, team drivers getting a boost of at least 6 cents a mile and driver trainees seeing an increase in minimum guaranteed pay from $500 to $560 per week, plus a $300 bonus after their first delivery run.

C.R. England ranks No. 25 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire companies in North America.

Cargo Transporters Inc., a dry van truckload carrier based in Claremont, N.C., also announced a pay increase for its over-the-road and regional truck drivers.

The company is increasing pay for solo drivers by 2 cents a mile, and team and regional drivers will get an increase of 1 cent a mile for all dispatched miles.