There is always a huge debate regarding truck driver pay, and for very good reason. There are a lot of job duties that drivers are responsible for but do not get paid for directly. There are conflicts of interest in getting paid by the mile when laws clearly limit the amount of work a driver is allowed to do. We go through a lot of training, are required to qualify for a federal license, must pass DOT physicals including pre-employment and random drug tests, must pass stringent background checks, are held to higher driving standards, are kept away from our homes and families for extended periods of time, must live in a space the size of a walk-in closet, and deal with incredibly difficult traffic, weather, and road conditions on a daily basis in order to get the job done. There are a ton of sacrifices that truck drivers make to move this country forward. Are we getting paid fairly for those sacrifices?
Getting Paid By The Mile A Big Issue
Truck drivers are usually paid by the mile, and often times get paid little or nothing for a lot of their job duties, including fueling, scaling, detention at customers, DOT inspections, getting repairs done, sitting in heavy traffic backups, waiting out bad weather and road conditions from snowstorms, filling out paperwork, and a host of others. Trucking companies would argue that these other duties are taken into consideration when mileage pay is calculated. Drivers usually respond by saying “Baloney! If I’m doing work for the company I need to get paid for it directly.” It’s hard to argue with that. But the question becomes “How do trucking companies pay drivers for everything they do without subjecting themselves to fraud or excessive collateral expenses?”
For instance, what if you paid a driver $10 every time he scales a load? Many drivers will scale loads that are too light to require scaling. So then a company would have to monitor weigh tickets and set gross vehicle limits in order for a driver to get paid for scaling a load, right? Where do you set the weight limit? How many more office personnel would be required to scrutinize every weight ticket and determine if a driver deserves to be paid for it? Who will resolve disputes and give drivers special approval for special circumstances? There’s a lot of issues to deal with, even with such a simple idea.
Another example – detention time at customers. Wow is this a big point of contention. There are piles of issues to work through, including:
- How much time should a driver sit without pay?
- How would you prove how long the driver sat somewhere? Maybe have each customer sign the times on the bills? What if the customer refuses to sign? What if they try to lie about how long you sat? What if they try to blame the driver for the delay somehow – like saying the trailer needed to be swept out but the driver took a long time doing it? How do you prevent drivers from paying off customers to sign that they’ve sat longer than they actually have?
- Does a trucking company force its customers to pay for this? If so, what if the customer refuses and decides to go with a different trucking company to haul their freight? Should the trucking company pay the driver out of pocket for an expense they have no control over and have no way to get reimbursed for?
- How do you handle customers that have freight that is by its nature difficult and time-consuming to load?
- What if you go to pick up a load that’s a drop and hook but it’s not ready yet?
This is just a small sample of the issues to deal with regarding detention time – the list could easily fill a novel-size book. Detention time is an incredibly complex issue and it’s only one issue of many that drivers are angry about.
Drivers Are Limited By Law But Encouraged By Incentives
So the DOT limits the number of hours a truck driver is allowed to work, and yet trucking companies encourage drivers to do more work by paying them mileage pay. So on the one hand you’re told by your company “Work more and we’ll pay you more” and on the other hand you’re told by the government “If you work more than we feel you should then you’ll be fined”. That puts drivers in a tough spot. continue to page 2 –>
Pages: 1 2