Egolf + Ferlic + Martinez + Harwood, Attorneys At Law

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Truck driver pay and the pressure to drive unsafely

On Behalf of | Dec 13, 2023 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Many truck drivers focus on safety. They know that their vehicles can pose a risk on the road, and they know how important safety is for commercial drivers. This is why the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) prohibits the use of handheld devices, for example.

But that does not mean that all truck drivers are safe in all circumstances. Some drivers will face outside pressure, such as financial pressure, that may cause them to make unsafe decisions. In fact, the way that truck drivers are paid can often play a role.

Pay per mile

The issue is that many truck drivers are paid by the mile. The average is between $.028 and $0.40 for every mile that they cover during a shift.

For the trucking company, this works well because they’re just paying for productivity. But it can cause issues for the driver.

For example, say that the truck driver gets stuck in traffic. They’re not moving, so they’re not earning any money. But maybe they have financial issues in their personal life. Perhaps they’re close to missing mortgage payments, they’re worried about foreclosure and they realize that they’re going to lose too much money while they’re stuck in the traffic jam. Does this make them more likely to drive aggressively to get out of that traffic or to break the speed limit after the fact, as that is the only realistic way for them to increase their wages?

In this sense, trucking companies may pressure drivers to act unsafely, causing serious accidents. Those who have been injured in these accidents need to know about all of their legal options to see compensation for medical bills and other significant costs.