The truckers who drive too fast and resist the call for reduced top speeds often have inadvertent incentives to drive unsafely. If a driver is paid by the mile, then obviously the more miles a trucker drives the greater his daily compensation. Too often, these individuals are on the road for days at a time and there is little else to do but drive, so why not go as fast as possible to get home sooner and/or to make more pay? To make it even worse, most of these drivers are not paid for waiting time as they sit idling in their cabs to pick-up or deliver a load of vegetables, paper, or some electronic must-have. Many are not even paid for the back breaking work of loading and unloading. The pay comes when the wheels are turning...forward.
The Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) reports that their members spend an average of 44 hours per week in their cab, not being paid, while they wait for a load to be loaded or unloaded. This effort is for an annual paycheck of $38,000 - $50,000, performing a job driving a large truck, and being away from home many nights a month. This lifestyle does not offer much of an incentive to maintain a career as a long-term professional truck driver.
Some progressive fleets pay their drivers much better and do not measure their productivity by miles driven. These are the companies that provide extra training to their professionals and spend the necessary money on technology to make their trucks safe and efficient. These same companies are likely to have the million-mile safe drivers and the proud professionals who can say they have never had a driver-caused accident during their career. Why not incentivize drivers for safety rather than miles driven?
Road Safe America wants the industry to recognize the value of all truckers and to alter compensation models so that trucks on the same highways as your family are driven by truly safe, healthy, well-trained, alert professionals.