SKOKIE, IL — Truck drivers campaigning for a hike in per-mile pay for driving through routes in congested areas may find some relief in 2005. In an online survey of fleet managers conducted for Rand McNally, the nation's leading provider of commercial trucking software and road atlases, more than 20 percent said they plan to increase this pay. The survey of 424 trucking professionals was conducted by The Litchfield Group, a Marietta, Ga., independent research firm, and released on March 2. It covered several topics of concern to the transportation and logistics industry. The news was not all good for drivers. While 50 percent of fleet managers said trucker requests for higher pay were as common in 2004 as they were in 2003, 46 percent of the managers do not plan increases in 2005. In a clear sign of how technology has transformed the trucking industry, 47 percent of managers surveyed said drivers used onboard tracking systems to warn them of possible late arrivals. As further evidence, cell phones were the most popular means of alerting managers of delivery delays (53 percent), with only nine percent of respondents saying their drivers use pay phones. Despite the prevalence of new communications technologies, just five percent of those surveyed said e-mail was used to alert them of late arrivals. (Note: Totals exceed 100 percent because the question permitted multiple responses.) The survey also asked trucking professionals to rate the importance of services available to drivers at truck stops. Despite technology that is now available at many stations, more than half (55 percent) of those responding consider secure overnight parking as the most important feature. Maintenance and driver rest and relaxation facilities came in second and third with 12 percent and 10 percent, respectively. Internet access was deemed the least important service by 36 percent of fleet managers, followed closely by truck and trailer wash facilities, rated as least important by 24 percent of respondents.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials