US Government To Investigate If There Is A Link Between Pay And Safety In Trucking

Release date: 24/02/2015

Truck regulator to look at whether certain methods of payment encourage unsafe driving behaviours.
ATN, by Brad Gardner, 24 February 2015

The US Government is set to follow in the footsteps of Australia with an inquiry into whether pay rates affect safety in the trucking industry.
The country’s truck safety regulator, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), says it will look at whether there is a relationship between certain methods of payment and unsafe driving behaviours.
Australia’s National Transport Commission (NTC) examined pay rates in the trucking industry back in 2008 and found a link between remuneration and safety.
The work led to the creation in 2012 of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT), which has the power to mandate payment terms and conditions for employee and contractor drivers.
The FMCSA says its study will be conducted using an online questionnaire involving randomly selected trucking companies, safety managers, owner-drivers, operations managers and company owners.
"The study will evaluate the relationship between property carrying motor carriers compensation methods and incidents of unsafe driving," it says in a statement.
"In particular, the research team will determine if there is a potential relationship between method of driver compensation and safe driving behavior."
The FMCSA intends on surveying 2,184 people and says the results will be published this year.
It says the work will examine multiple remuneration practices.
"The study will address hourly pay as well as others to determine if a relationship between compensation method and unsafe driver behaviors exists," it says.
"The goal of this study is to understand all of the elements of compensation and determine if there are any common factors that influence safe driving performance."
US academic Michael Belzer has already looked into the influence remuneration has on safety in the country's trucking industry.
In a study with US trucking firm JB Hunt, Belzer found that every 10 per cent increase in pay reduced the probability of a crash by 36 per cent.
Another study he conducted of 102 operators over one year revealed a 9.2 per cent drop in crash rates for every 10 per cent increase in pay.
Belzer’s work was cited in Australia to support the case for changes to remuneration methods and the creation of the RSRT.

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