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Would truck drivers be safer if we changed the way they were paid?

On Behalf of | Mar 7, 2022 | Truck Accidents

The average worker is paid through a salary or an hourly wage. But neither of these apply to truck drivers. Instead, most of them are paid on a cents-per-mile basis.

For instance, a driver may be paid $0.40 for every mile that he or she covers. Drivers then have some say over how much money they make, and the companies get to pay for the actual productivity. They’re only paying money when goods are crossing the country.

But there is a serious concern with this type of setup. Is it making truck drivers less safe? And, since the danger in a truck accident is usually to the people in the other vehicle, does this pay structure also make everyone else less safe?

Trying to make up time and money

Anyone who has ever driven in heavy traffic knows that it becomes very difficult to predict how quickly you’ll be able to move. Everything can be fine for hundreds of miles and then you can spend an hour sitting in a traffic jam. It’s frustrating.

But, for a truck driver, it’s more than frustrating. If that driver is sitting in a traffic jam, he or she isn’t earning any money. The only way that the driver gets paid is by covering more miles.

Does this mean that a truck driver who gets out of a traffic jam would be tempted to speed in order to make up for all the money that they just missed? If that driver thought they were going to cover 65 miles over the last hour, they essentially feel as if they have lost roughly $26. They either have to accept the loss or they have to find some way to make up for it.

The same sort of pressure may influence drivers to get behind the wheel when they’re not in the best condition to do so. A driver may be sick or under the influence of medications that they’re taking. They may be too fatigued to drive safely, knowing that they need to stop and take a nap. But there’s a lot of pressure when you’re only being paid by the mile, so drivers may make choices based more on money than on safety.

Have you been injured in a crash?

If you get involved in a truck accident and suffer catastrophic injuries, be sure you know how to seek financial compensation.