A white paper study on truck driver wages says easing driver shortages starts by paying them more—an average of $60,000. That’s 43 percent above the current $42,000 industry average, according to a report in Fleet Owner. The study, published by Detroit, MI-based third party logistics provider National Logistics Management (NLM) contends that LTS (less than truckload) carriers that pay drivers an average of $65,000 a year have a turnover rate of less than 20 percent. NLM acknowledges that the higher pay rate would raise shipping charges but would also deliver improved safety, productivity, customer service and an overall improvement in the driver pool, the Fleet Owner report said. But also at issue is whether the current driver shortage is actually a good thing for the trucking industry. Tight capacity has resulted in generally solid rates. Jim Applegate, NLM director of sales and account management, told Fleet Owner that gangbuster earnings from motor carriers recently are deceiving. “The publicly traded companies have benefited over the last quarters, but a lot of smaller owner-operators and smaller fleet drivers aren’t,” Applegate said. “A lot of people have had to shut down their vehicles because of fuel prices. There are two dynamics: some people with great business models and an organization that can take on fuel costs; and a lot of smaller players that aren’t as technologically savvy that don’t capture fuel surcharges in a timely fashion.”