Trucking has always been a huge industry. While there are regulations in place regarding time on the road and miles without a break, it’s all too easy to work around those regulations. Truck drivers have deadlines and places to be, and there aren’t always enough drivers to go around.
Did you know that there are more than 3 million commercially licensed truck drivers in the United States? Somewhere around 2.6 million of these drivers are active on the road. More than 67% of the freight moved in the US is moved by truckers. Some truckers are paid hourly, while others are paid by miles.
Hours are self-explanatory, but when a trucker is paid by the mile, they want to spend as much time moving and racking up miles to make the best bang for their buck. Time spent idle is money missing from their pockets. This approach often leads to overworking hours on the road or failing to follow driving laws such as speed limits, yields, and other safety requirements.
When you consider this practice, it’s a safe assumption that driving for miles puts the truckers and the people around them at a much higher risk, leading to increased accident rates, severe injuries, and financial losses.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, you may have a strong case. Seek the help of a Modesto truck accident lawyer for recourse and compensation for your claim.
Truck Drivers Paid by the Mile
Most employees earn a specific salary, or get a specific dollar amount based on the number of hours that they work.
However, in the trucking industry, it’s common practice for drivers to be paid for the miles that they drive instead of the hours. This can range anywhere from $.28 to $.40, and could be even higher if the driver is hauling any kind of hazardous material.
How is Paying by the Mile an Issue?
Paying by the mile leads to an increased risk of accidents for a couple of reasons. The first is that the truck driver will want to accumulate as many miles as possible for their records. The more miles they pack in, the more they get paid.
Those drivers will also want to put in more miles in shorter time frames to maximize how much they can make. This means they might be driving instead of resting when they’re tired. They could also be speeding or not paying close attention to the laws of the road.
All of this leads to reckless behavior that is far more likely to cause an accident.
Speeding and fatigue are the two major issues. If a driver is speeding, they could easily lose control, or they may not be able to stop in an emergency. When the driver is fatigued, they could fall asleep at the wheel, lack the ability to respond as quickly, and make poor decisions.
In both of these scenarios, the results are often severe injuries or even death when an accident does occur.
Trucking Companies and the Mileage Business Model
Trucking companies are infamous for pushing their employees to the point of exhaustion, and the mileage business model is just one part of that. Their employees may not make a ton of money, but they’re racking up the miles and it’s often the easiest way to pay them.
The Department of Labor enforces strict standards in the trucking industry, which can make it challenging to come up with an alternative solution to pay their employees and still get things done.
The mileage business model has been around since 1939, when President Roosevelt passed the Minimum Wage Law in the midst of the Great Depression. The law was passed to protect employees who were being taken advantage of. However, he didn’t include truck drivers; instead, he put the ICC in charge of mandating the laws.
Since that time, the ICC has actually been stripped of its authority in the trucking industry. Unfortunately, the Motor Carrier Act of 1980 still did not remove the exemption from the previous act. This leaves truck drivers forced to get paid for their miles or their business production.
Statistics for Truck Accidents
When truck drivers are pushing for more miles, accidents increase as reckless behavior or fatigue also increases. Things like tailgating, speeding, or simply reckless behavior contribute to more accidents.
Take a look at these statistics:
- Truck accidents account for nearly 130,000 injuries every year
- Approximately 4,000 deaths every year are related to truck accidents
- Hazardous cargo truck accidents account for 4% of fatalities
- 7-14% of accidents (depending on the truck size) are related to speeding
- 54% of fatal injuries occur in rural areas, 27% on interstate highways, and 13% on rural interstate highways
Seeking Compensation for Truck Accident Injuries
It is possible to recover compensation following a truck accident. Hire an experienced lawyer to argue your case. You will need to be able to prove that the:
- Truck driver was responsible
- Truck driver was negligent or failed their duty of care
- Truck driver’s negligence or breach resulted in injuries
- Damages and financial losses were sustained from the injuries
Types of Compensation You May Be Entitled to After a Truck Accident
There are some rules when it comes to seeking compensation for a truck accident claim. You may be entitled to a variety of damages, such as the following:
- Economic Damages: medical bills, vehicle damages, injury-related expenses
- Non-economic Damages: pain and suffering, scarring and disfigurement, loss of consortium
- Punitive Damages: when safety laws were willfully ignored, punitive damages are a punishment meant to prevent the behavior from occurring again
Hire an Experienced Lawyer Following a Truck Accident
When you experience a truck accident leading to injuries or fatalities, you need to contact a Modesto truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. Be sure to retain all documentation of the scene and your injuries, and follow all medical treatment plans and appointments.
An experienced attorney will be able to help you work through filing a case and getting the compensation that you deserve after a truck accident.