US Government to Investigate Whether Pay Rates Affect Safety in Trucking

US Government to Investigate Whether Pay Rates Affect Safety in Trucking

US Government to Investigate Whether Pay Rates Affect Safety in Trucking

The US Government’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is said to be following in the footsteps of the Australian authorities by investigating whether certain methods of payment encourage unsafe driving behaviours.

The US trucking regulator has launched an inquiry into whether pay rates actually affect trucking safety, an issue that was raised here in Australia a few years ago.

The US’ truck safety regulator, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), has announced its’ plans to look into the relationship between certain methods of payment and unsafe driving behaviours, if there is one.

In 2008, the Australian National Transport Commission (NTC) conducted a similar inquiry, examining pay rates in the trucking industry and if there was a link between payment and safety – it found that there was.

The revelations of the inquiry led to the creation of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) in 2012. Since then the RSRT has mandated payment terms and conditions for employee and contractor drivers, we have also seen an improvement in truck road safety.

The American version of the inquiry will involve an online questionnaire, to be answered by randomly selected trucking companies, safety managers, owner-drivers, operations managers and company managers.

The FMCSA said in a statement,

“The study will evaluate the relationship between property carrying motor carriers compensation methods and incidents of unsafe driving,”

“In particular, the research team will determine if there is a potential relationship between method of driver compensation and safe driving behavior.”


The article on goes on to detail that the survey will include 2184 people. The results of the survey will be published later this year. The organisation also explains that it will examine multiple remuneration practices, it also stated:

“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.”


Although authorities in the USA are only just beginning to recognise the possible link between remuneration and safety, an American academic Michael Belzer says he has already examined the influence remuneration has on the safety of the country’s trucking industry.

Belzer’s work was used in Australia to support the case for changes to remuneration methods and the creation of the RSRT.

Belzer’s study involved US trucking firm JB Hunt and revealed that each increase in pay by 10 per cent reduced the probability of a crash by 36 per cent.

The article on also explained that another study conducted of 102 operators over one year revealed a 9. Per cent decline in crash rates for every 10 per cent increase in pay.