Truckload carrier U.S. Xpress has nnounced a pay raise for solo truck drivers who have remained accident- and ticket-free with no CSA violations for at least 12 months as part of an effort to focus on driver safety.

Base mileage pay for qualifying over-the-road solo drivers will increase by an average of 13.5%, effective March 1, 2016.

“The safety of both our drivers and the general public is of the utmost importance, and we feel that tying driver pay to safety performance is the best way to reward and incent safe driving,” said Eric Fuller, president & CEO of U.S. Xpress.

With this pay increase, a safe driver with 5 years of experience could make over $70,000 in total compensation, according to U.S. Xpress. A driver who meets the same criteria and opts to become a training advisor for Xpress Academy could make over $110,000 in annual compensation.

Speaking with, Fuller expressed his intention to evaluate the safety-based increase and potentially roll it out to the rest of the fleet in 6-9 months. He also mentioned that it would most likely be followed up by further pay raises.

“Drivers in the industry are faced with tough choices that might compromise their decision to act safely, and we want this pay increase to encourage them to make the right and safe choices,” said Fuller. "These safe, elite drivers are essential to U.S. Xpress and we want to make sure they know that.”