FMCSA Ordered to Study Best Way to Pay Truckers to Boost Industry’s Awful Retention Rates

Washington D.C. — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has been directed to commission a study in order to determine the best ways to pay truckers.

As part of the new $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill signed into law this month by President Biden, the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) is required to, within one year, contract with the Transportation Research Board (TRB) for the purpose of conducting a driver compensation study.


According to the law, the purpose of the study is to explore the “impacts of various methods of driver compensation on safety and driver retention.”

Specifically, researchers are directed to evaluate hourly pay, payment for detention time, and “other payment methods used in the industry as of the date on which the study is conducted.”

During the course of the project, the TRB must consult with labor organizations representing commercial motor vehicle drivers, representatives of the motor carrier industry — including owner-operators, and any other stakeholders the TRB determines to be relevant.


The law requires the FMCSA administrator to oversee the initiative.

The study comes as driver turnover remains chronically high.

According to data compiled by the American Trucking Associations (ATA), the annualized turnover rate at large truckload carriers averaged 90% in 2020, while smaller truckload fleets saw a 69% churn rate.


At a White House press briefing earlier this month, USDOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg expressed his concern about the issue.

“We’ve got to just make truck driving a better job,” he told reporters. “There’s a reason that turnover is so high and they’re often not compensated for their time which means that their time is wasted freely sometimes when they are waiting at a port for example. We need to respect and in my view compensate them better than we have.”

Tell Us What You Think

Do you think truck drivers are compensated fairly?

What changes would you like to see in how truckers are paid?

Sound off in the members-only comments section below or on our Facebook page.

We could feature your feedback in an upcoming article.


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Comment (3)

  1. Trucker pay has been neglected and has not kept up with the changes to trucking over the decades.
    ELD’s have forced drivers to play by the rules, the drug clearinghouse has shined a light on problems in the industry, law enforcement continues to find new ways to clamp down on truckers, truck parking is difficult east of the Mississippi if not impossible after 6pm, detention times have increased, bathrooms at shipper receivers have been closed to drivers , the driver takes the heat and pays the fines for infractions, cell phones in the hands of 4 wheelers have made the job more dangerous, if you die or get injured on the road companies do not take responsibility to get you home to your family, paid time off is non existent, medical insurance is hard to get, truck stops dont provide great opportunities to exercise, get medicine, or medical treatment, the industry as a whole is broken and needs a major overhaul. Shipper receivers should be required to allow you to finish a 10 hour break if they take longer than 3 hours to load or unload, if you are parked for a 10 hour less than an hour from a shipper receiver then you wait there 2 or 3 hours to load or unload you should get a fresh drive and 14 hour clock, we should be paid for all hours on company property, drive, on duty, sleeper, we could be paid hourly based on the ELD, better health and retirement benefits are needed, drivers should have more paid time off to see their families like 4 weeks a year minimum, truck stops should have minute clinics and pharmacies as well as walking paths for exercise. The list of things is long but you will not get people to give up a 9 to 5 job , or even a retail job that gets them.home daily till the compensation matches the value of time and the daily risk .

  2. Pay is most definitely one of the number one factors in regards to driver pay. As well as the issues surrounding this ELD issue. Those two things are what need to be addressed. Needs to be two truck only lanes in every major city or truckers should be allowed to use any available lane seeing as we pay highway use tax for every state. These issues along with others will make trucking a lot better.

  3. How about the crime rate in the cities and the families that struggle day to day. Always worried about Truckers but man these warehouses, hotels, truck stops, rest areas and the list goes on have health violations. But it takes weeks or even months to get that looked at or even years. Giving out warnings that in 2 months you have a health inspector in but a truck goes down the road and it has 2 minutes to hand over all information because it’s a road side inspection. Trucking is a money making industry and Trucks are cash cows.


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