FMCSA Will Study Driver Pay Impact on Safety

August 29, 2014

By Oliver Patton

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has begun a study of the relationship between safety and driver pay.

The agency is asking for comments on a plan to see if there is a connection between industry pay practices and safe driving.

The issue arises from concern that drivers who are not paid for time waiting to load or unload are forced into unsafe practices in order to make a living.

“It is essential to recognize that professional drivers should be compensated for all time on duty. That’s integral to achieving the overall safety mission,” former agency chief Anne Ferro recently said.

Ferro was referencing a provision in the pending Obama administration highway bill that would require carriers to pay drivers at least the federal minimum wage for time spent waiting to be loaded or unloaded.

Over-the-road drivers generally are paid by the mile and may not be compensated for wait time.

“The (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) believes that safety could be significantly increased if drivers were compensated for these waiting periods,” the administration says in its analysis of the bill.

In Friday’s Federal Register the agency said it intends to “analyze the possible unintended consequences of the various methods by which (commercial) drivers are compensated.”

The agency also intends to look at how the type of operation – long-haul versus short-haul, and big carrier versus small carrier – factors into the pay question.

Other elements of the analysis will include fundamentals such as private versus for-hire carriage, the number of power units, average length of haul, commodities, the number of drivers in the company and their experience.

The agency will look for how pay and these other variable may affect driver and vehicle out-of-service rates as well as crash rates.

If the study finds a connection between methods of pay and safety, that information will help carriers make informed decisions about their compensation practices, the agency said.

The study will be done through an online questionnaire of randomly selected carriers.

Comments on the proposal are due by October 28.


  1. 1. William Correll [ August 31, 2014 @ 09:54AM ]

    I have been in the Trucking industry 30 years and have driven 28 of them. I have been compensated by the mile, percentage, by the hour and salary. My belief is compensation in the form of mileage and percentage is ludicrous when the speed is governed and hours of service are regulated. A driver has to cheat and cut corners to gain maximum pay.
    When I was paid by the hour, it was for driving and on duty time and hourly pay was an incentive for Law compliance and taking care of the equipment.
    I believe a decent salary allows a driver to focus on safety, compliance and customer satisfaction and takes away the worry of what He / She will bring home on the next check.

  2. 2. Timothy Howard [ September 02, 2014 @ 05:44AM ]

    If and when the E log mandate goes into effect, we essentially have a GPS system forced on us. Carriers should not be held accountable to pay the driver, so long as they were at the shp/con. on time. The warehouse or what have you should be held responsible. It is too difficult for the trucking company to fight for detention time, to then pay it to the driver. Especially in the TCU side of the industry. This will be the only benefit of an electronic log, helping to have a record to hold the customers accountable. The rate of shipping should automatically be adjusted to pay the trucking company more if the driver was delayed.

  3. 3. tom [ September 02, 2014 @ 06:46AM ]

    Common sense says restrict them to death. Those drivers are then forced to drive illegal any chance they get.Every restriction is a deduction of pay they will make it back somehow.

  4. 4. Richard [ September 02, 2014 @ 09:18AM ]

    Drivers should be paid for ON-DUTY time while not driving. They are on the clock!!! Everybody else is being compensated when on the job. Why shouldn't drivers be paid??? Think about it...

  5. 5. steve trueblood [ September 02, 2014 @ 07:42PM ]

    The detention time should be mandatory shipper reciever responsibility. Record of proof recorded on bills. Rate pay by 15 minute increments. No one in the private sector would work for nothing.

  6. 6. Pat Fitzgerald [ September 03, 2014 @ 07:16AM ]

    Decades ago here in Oregon they were having problems with log truck drivers the as they do now with interstate trucks well in oregon they made it a law that if you had more than 5 log trucks you had to pay by the hour as soon as that went into affect No More Problems and they never came back it doesn't take a Degree Hanging on a wall to see pay by the hour plus overtime there will be no more problems they have right now a proven fact.

  7. 7. vern [ September 03, 2014 @ 11:39AM ]

    I agree with a lot of the statements made in the other comments.for something like this to work it has to go through employers they must collect the detention pay from the shippers and receivers. It must be mandated that detention for the truck and for the drivers must be billed separately and drivers get 100 % of driver detention pay. No shaving by the trucking companies and full disclosure to the drivers.this plan cannot be compared to regular hourly wages, many times being detained costs drivers a good paying load buy costing them the time they needed to be on the road traveling to their next drop or pickup. This will be challenging to get it right and fair. Good luck.

  8. 8. ray joyner [ September 09, 2014 @ 03:46PM ]

    I have been in LTL for 15yrs. I think that 14 hours on duty is too much time at work especially when it is a 5 day work week period! Drivers should not work over 10 hours a day. Too many hours on duty is when the risk occurs. They should be compensated for the hours they do work however. I think 25-30 dollars an hour would be in line for a 40-50 hour work week. No more than 50 hours.

  9. 9. Travis Bell [ September 09, 2014 @ 05:54PM ]

    I worked for Coca-Cola Enterprises/Refreshments for nearly 12 years in Georgia and Florida. In the beginning, drivers were paid salary plus commission on cases. That was great! Then they went to straight daily salary! From then on it got a whole lot worse! They were making us work 60 hours a week driving and performing manual labor in 100 degree weather in the summer. In the south, that is nearly most of the year! The stress of being soo tired through the week and still tired on the weekend took a toll on my family life and body! I was an ace employee that our customers loved until I couldn't take the stress any longer and started taking it out on fellow employees and customers! And all of this for only $51,000 a year, gross! The local management just looked the other way, and instead of helping me, they just let me get myself in trouble and fired me!
    DOT, I can't get a part time job to make more money, not even on the weekend, it's illegal! I couldn't work over 60 hours a week any where total! Coca-Cola paid a "modified overtime" for hours over 40 in a week! That adds up to about $7 per hour!!!
    Who can better themselves by going to college under these conditions?
    Can't believe I wasted 12 years of my life for an employer that had no loyalty to people whom were loyal to them!


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