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.”
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