Truck News


TSQ: What is a fair wage for truck drivers these days?

BRADFORD, Ont. – While there is some debate over the severity – or, according to some, the existence – of the driver shortage, there is little question that the trucking industry continues to struggle in its attempts to...

BRADFORD, Ont. – While there is some debate over the severity – or, according to some, the existence – of the driver shortage, there is little question that the trucking industry continues to struggle in its attempts to attract new driving talent.
The reasons behind the employment pool’s standoffishness to the profession includes everything from over-regulation to long hours away from home, but one of the most significant issues may be poor pay.

A recent US study found that in order to make truck driving more attractive, average salaries would have to rise to $60,000 per year, despite the fact that current wages hover around the $48,000 mark.

So what annual wage would be enough to attract and retain truckers?

We posed the question to drivers at the Husky Truck Stop in Bradford, Ont.

Ron Serink, a driver with Robinson Haulage out of Kilworthy, Ont., says he thinks a decent wage would be around the $50,000 mark for a freight hauler. However, the 40-year veteran says that drivers these days need to do more to earn their stripes as much as earn their pay.

“Training for truck drivers is very poor,” he told Truck News. “Driving schools have the guy doing his exam on an empty trailer and when he’s on the highway he is completely lost.

“It should be an apprentice program and you work your way up. Years ago, when I was a kid, I mean you started driving a small truck on your dad’s farm or whatever it was. A straight truck and then you did shunting and then you finally went to a tractor-trailer. I mean nowadays they just get into a tractor-trailer.”  

Brad Minne, a driver with Keystone Western in Ile-des-Chenes, Man., says he thinks wages are “pretty average” these days, and would like to see them rise to the $60,000-$70,000 range for long-haul drivers.

“That would kind of compensate for loss of family time and stuff like that,” he says.

However, Minne says he believes the driver shortage is something that will never end – pay increase or not.

“This is an acquired taste, driving a truck,” he says. “It takes a certain person to do it and, unfortunately, that (breed) is dying.”

James Morgan, a driver with Fidel Transport out of Brampton, Ont., says the current pay situation for regional truck drivers is “a shame.”

“In the last 15 years, truck driving salaries have not increased. I was looking at my first driving job that I had and it was paying $18 an hour,” he says.

“Now this is 2012 and nowhere in the industry for a regional or local job (will you) make over $18 or $19 an hour. Now isn’t that a shame?”

Morgan says he’d like to see wages for pickup-and-delivery drivers be a set rate in the range of $22-$23 per hour.

Dan Dusome, a driver with Robtrans Systems out of Innisfil, Ont., says that while the industry seems to be a “mixed bag” in terms of pay scales, he thinks the $50,000-$60,000 range would be fair.

However, Dusome says the industry needs to do more to account for unforeseen problems like detention time.
“Stuff like that really burns into your income,” he says.

“If you can’t get to a dock and unload it quickly you are sitting there for free a lot of times. That’s hard to take for drivers if it’s happening on a consistent basis.”

– Do you have a topic idea for the Truck Stop Question? Contact Adam Ledlow on Twitter at or by e-mail at and we may feature your question in an upcoming issue of Truck News.

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14 Comments » for TSQ: What is a fair wage for truck drivers these days?
  1. Qayyum Ahmad says:

    In order to make our roads safe salary of truck drivers specially long haul drivers should be increased as per inflation
    I’m a line haul driver for 14 years. When I start driving my wage was 36 cents per mile and after 3 months raises to 40 cents pm. But now after 14 years I’m still earning the same which make me drive more miles. Which is not good for me or anybody else on the road around me.
    Concerned persons specially trucking companies should have to consider this if they want to make our roads safer.

  2. Tom says:

    It has been my experience that there is no parity in the industry. That is, one driver will get paid 18.50 per hour and on other will be paid 23.50-25.90. To do the exact same work.

  3. Truls says:

    What everybody forget is that a Long hauler work close to 300 Hrs a month. 70Hours a week. No overtime pay.
    That is almost twice the hours than in a normal job.
    $60,000 is no more then $30,000 for a normal work week. 40 hours.
    In the winter less due to conditions. More snow less traveling harder work less pay.
    If we use $60,000 a year that should be based on a normal work week of 40 hours. Ad the extra 30 hours and a long hauler should male $100,000. A training program should be a federal law. I have 41 years of class 1 driving behind me and it is getting more and more dangerous every day due to unqualified drivers that have no idea what they are doing coming from an empty truck in training to 140,000 lbs Super B
    Then there is regulations and log books. There is absolutely ZERO training in rules and regulation and log books in order to get your class 1. Loading???
    I don’t know how many times I have been asked by someone at a chain up area if I would put the chains on for them because they don’t know how. Scary. Or speak much English.
    Every time I want to show them, but they do it. Nope I am suppose to do it for them. They only have sandals and T Shirts. That’s when I leave.

  4. David allan says:

    You guys are funny , they can get a foreign worker too work for half your wage . Life as a truck driver in Canada ended years ago. You can stick it out as they pay more for the token white driver too pick up at the factory but that wage is becoming far too expensive . I laugh at what we get paid . Based on what it should be 120,000 is a fair wage . Life as a trucker sucks really no life. No kid will ever want too or try too take our jobs. Marriages end everyday as we are not there . Who pays for that? Come on wake up let the foreigners have this . Move on

  5. Dan says:

    Heh David Allan, that is some harsh reality right there, but you said it best.. I’ve been driving for about 2 months but I was lucky enough to get hired for a company to use me for local runs and to be honest, trucking school did not get me ready enough for the way driving a truck really is, it’s scary at times when I am loaded and this is during a nice dry summer day, I don’t know how I am going to handle winter, no one has trained me for that… Also I only work 35-40 hours a week and due to the amount of focus I put into driving something that’s so dangerous, I am burnt out only from that amount of driving, I don’t think I could handle more hours than that and not be too exhausted to drive safely, and after all this, I make the same as my friend who works in a meat factory tossing some ingredients in a blender while he’s high on weed… Unfair pay for such a huge responsibility..

  6. Paddy says:

    Get a job operating a concrete truck in town. Good drivers, home every night and it pays over $32. per hr. in Alberta.

  7. Roger Golden says:

    When you say you work only 70 hours a week, I feel envious. IV been doing this for 16 years. I work over a hundred hours a week. Yes I count all the hours I spend in off duty trying to get loaded or unloaded, log work, paperwork or any of the other work related things I do. It all counts as work. I rarely get to see my wife or daughter. The few days a month I see home, half of it is spent getting ready to go on the road again. The people in charge should be lynched. I think the thing they take from me that hurts the most is hope.

  8. ERIC Walker says:

    The hardest work and lowest pay available! Most thankless , high risk job with NO family life. No pay increases in 30 years. But at least you will be held up at the boarder for countless hrs and ticketed by weigh station or police. Live in a 35 square foot living space for what calculates out to be less than min wage. No thats a future you can be proud of. Newbies run away run away fast@!!

  9. Dom says:

    With all do respect to everyone’s input but I have to add that not all drivers should be put in the same pot there a lot of drivers with years of experience and also specialize in a variety of different types of transport like flatbed, cattle haulers, oversize loads. I think that drivers should be paid according to there experience. $60000 per year sounds like a lot of money but when you calculate all the unpaid hours you really are making just about minimum wage. That to me sounds like a lot of sacrifice to make $60000 per year. We need to start looking at truck drivers like people too they all have families and are not compensated for there sacrifice like not being able to be at there kids school play because of the long 14 hour day that they just had. I’m not trying to direspect anyone I’m just trying to say that times are changing and the cost of living has gone threw the roof let’s all keep that into consideration.

  10. Ashton says:

    … and here I was thinking hey driving long haul would be fun, get the AZ license at a ministry accredited school, get a placement and roll for the next 4-5 years. But wow. Seems like not such a good idea after reading the comments. I can see why there’s a shortage of drivers for the established companies, and a glut of improperly trained new immigrant drivers for the cheaper start up companies.

  11. Mayur says:

    Truck drivers driving Tracker Trailor there minimum wage should mot be less than $100000 per annum.
    It’s a licenced job having lot of responsibility.
    Driving such big vehicle on road involv lot of risk to there life and driving during night and in bad weather conditions makes the drivers life more in danger.
    It’s a tough job. Not everyone can do it.

  12. Denis Mainville says:

    Long haul just not worth it.. they would haveto double the wage, at least.. but these days it’s less money and more work, it’s worse than before and it was already horrible …… Work in-town, at least you have a chance for a normal life and IMO not much less pay, if any

  13. nathan e stubbs says:

    I agree with most of the comments about how hard the job is. your 8 times more likely to be killed as a truck driver than is law enforcement officer. 30 years without a pay increase while officers have gotten increases year in and year out and are making an average about 80,000 a year. And the worst part is is truck drivers are beat up and disrespected and blamed for everything while enforcement officers get celebrated as Heroes. I don’t think there’s any kids out there today who would ever think I want to be a truck driver. Just a terrible life no family time . most of them are obese. Constantly lonely and tons of unpaid hours they have to work. Terrible terrible job should pay $100,000 minimum

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