Truck Drivers are Overtired, Overworked, and Underpaid
The truck driver’s workplace, which is also everyone’s road, requires long working hours and an intense economic strain. The trucking industry is responsible for many deaths, including those of drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, automobile drivers, and passengers. In 2015, 3,836 people died in heavy vehicle accidents in the U.S.
My team’s research and a number of other studies show a strong correlation between pay, safety, and many other factors. At 60 cents per kilometer, truckers will work fewer hours, reducing accidents and improving highway safety.
We looked at a study that analyzed the University of Michigan Trucking Industry Program’s truck stop-based driver surveys of 573 mostly long-haul drivers.
Because this time is not paid, cargo owners feel free to waste it. This costs American truck drivers more than $1 billion per year. Cargo owners waste time because they are not paid for it. This costs American truckers over US$1 billion each year. According to the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Transportation, each 15-minute delay increases the expected average crash rate by 6.2%.
Truckers record this unpaid work as off-duty to allow them to drive more hours per week. In fact, according to a survey of long-haul drivers in the United States, more than half of them exceed the 60-hour limit per week. One-fifth of these drivers work more than 75 hours a week.
Truck drivers are also subjected to dangerous workplace pressures, in addition to the long hours and low wages. In my study, I looked at the U.S. The study looked at more than 1,000 truck crashes. This study shows what a driver did last, such as not braking for stopped traffic before a collision. Data suggests that driver aggression and fatigue, in addition to economic pressures already present, make it more likely that a truck driver will be responsible for causing a crash.
No good data is available on mileage rates. According to a private survey in 2010, the average dry van driver with three years of experience earned 35 cents per mile. The wages have increased since then and are now around 40 cents. However, this is due to an unusually tight labor market. The salaries are still far below the “safe rate” and safety wage.
Transport Workers Union in Australia has asked the government for a rate increase to improve truck driver safety. They asked the federal government this month to reintroduce an interstate truck driver safety watchdog that would mandate minimum wages.
Australia once had its road safety watchdog called the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal. However, it was abolished in 2016. The government decided it was time to end the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal based on a private consultancy report that claimed that there was no link between pay and safety.
The report did not quantify the benefits of the 25 percent decrease in deaths.
It is not only an Australian or American issue that safe rates are a problem. The International Labour Office, Geneva, Switzerland, hosted a 2015 tripartite global agreement between trucking employers and labor organizations, as well as 25 governments. All parties agreed on the fact that the low rates paid by trucking companies to their drivers and to the bus companies contribute to unnecessary dangers on world highways. They pledged to do further research.
I believe that a “safe rate” program, which would raise pay rates by approximately 50 percent while paying drivers for their entire working time, could go a long way to reducing the risk of accidents and the costs borne by victims.