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What’s Pay Got to Do with It?

Car Accident Lawyer

It is not a secret that large commercial truck accidents tend to be either serious or catastrophic in nature. Trucks are massive pieces of equipment that can weigh many dozens of times more than the average passenger car when they’re loaded down with freight. They also cannot turn with precision accuracy like many lighter vehicles can and their operators struggle to manage them safely given the broad blind spots that their structures create.

As a result, it is vitally important that truck drivers operate as safely as they possibly can. When a highly-skilled and vigilant truck driver is behind the wheel of a large vehicle, their conscientiousness and care can significantly mitigate the risk of a severe collision.

But how is safe operation of a truck best achieved? Certainly, adequate driver training, proper rest, and healthy bodies and minds all contribute to safer truck operation. Yet, there are other factors that influence a driver’s ability to navigate roads safely that are too often overlooked. For example, it is becoming increasingly clear that driver pay rates are not just a matter of concern for truck operators. They are safety concerns that could potentially impact everyone on the road.

What’s Pay Got to Do with It?

As an experienced truck accident lawyer can confirm, a surprising number of truck accidents occur because motor vehicle operators are distracted by emotional matters or “things on their mind.” All too often, Americans think of texting while driving when they hear the word “distraction.” Although texting is certainly a distraction-based hazard, it isn’t the only reason why distraction-related crashes occur.

When truck drivers are underpaid, they aren’t often thinking about the road ahead of them. They’re wondering if they can afford to purchase something to eat as their stomachs start to grumble or if they can afford to slow down in hazardous weather conditions if reaching their endpoint late will result in a pay-related penalty.

It is for these reasons – and many others – why the Federal Motor Safety Carrier Administration (FMCSA) has determined that truck operator pay rates are a genuine safety threat.

Is There a Solution to This Problem?

Obviously, paying workers a living wage is an issue in a number of industries. However, there are ways to mitigate the risks that are associated with underpaid truck operational work specifically. For example, most truck drivers are paid by the mile. This means that when weather conditions are bad or traffic is slow, truckers get paid less per hour than they would if they traveled the same route under fair conditions.

This arrangement inspires many truckers to drive faster than they should, as miles are money. By paying truckers hourly or on a salaried basis, many wouldn’t feel so much pressure to go faster than they ought to. Similarly, by not paying truckers by the mile, operators wouldn’t feel the need to rush during safety inspections and cargo loading/unloading, as they wouldn’t be incentivized to compromise safety in the interest of getting back on the road again immediately.