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Study investigates how pay structure impacts truck safety

Posted on behalf of Michael D'Amico of D'Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC on Sep 12, 2014 in Truck Accidents

Readers may be aware that the trucking industry is heavily regulated. These regulations are designed to keep not only truck drivers but those who share the road with trucks, as safe as possible. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has commenced a study that could impact future regulations. The study is looking into what, if any, connection exists between safe driving and the pay practices of the industry.

The online questionnaire, which seeks to determine the unintended consequences of various commercial driver compensation methods, would be provided to carriers who are randomly selected. It will specifically look at the following factors to try to determine what bearing the type of operation has on the matter:

  • Driver experience.
  • Number of drivers.
  • Commodities.
  • Average length of haul.
  • Number of power units.
  • Private versus for-hire carriage.

Currently, most over-the-road drivers are paid based upon how many miles they drive, receiving a certain amount of money for every mile covered. They often do not receive any compensation for the time they spend waiting for trailers to be loaded or unloaded. Some believe that compensating drivers for that time could lead to safer road conditions.

In fact, a portion of the pending highway bill contains a provision that would make it mandatory for carriers to compensate drivers during that waiting period. It would require that they receive at least the federal minimum wage. Whether this will be adopted as a rule remains to be seen.

In the meantime, the FMCSA is soliciting comments regarding the plan.