Truck driver fatigue is one the primary reasons for truck accidents. In order to address the problem of driver fatigue, a Lafayette, Louisiana-based truck company has adopted a pay-per-hour model instead of a pay-per-mile model, which is the industry standard.
The company realized that paying the drivers by the mile was causing the drivers to experience more fatigue, which led to more accidents. Truck accidents can be devastating to the accident victims, as well as the victim's family members. The per-mile payment arrangement forces truck drivers to be on the road as long as possible, which can make them unsafe drivers. In the past, that often led to people taking legal action against the driver and the trucking company.
In order to reduce driver fatigue, the truck company changed the drivers' schedules. Every driver now gets two days off one week and three days off the second week. That way, the drivers are not driving trucks consecutively for five days in any given week.
Since the company did not want their drivers to earn any less money due to the implementation of the new schedule, it started paying them by the hour instead of by the mile. The company shifted to the pay-per-hour scheme approximately 15 years ago and is now considered to be one of the safest fleet companies in the United States. It has been recognized several times in the recent past for its safety record.
The company ensures a minimum of 40 hours of work for every driver per week and then pays drivers overtime for every hour in excess of 40 hours. The pay-per-hour model allows the company to bear the brunt of all the inefficiencies of the system, instead of the driver.
This initiative has made the company a preferred choice for employment among drivers. The company now has a smaller attrition rate. The drivers are happy working at the company, because they can have a work-life balance; they know when they are going to have time off and they can plan accordingly. The frequency of truck accidents has gone down remarkably since the implementation of the model.
Source: FleetOwner, "Paying by the Mile Caused Fatigue, Crashes and Fatalities," Larry Kahaner, April 24, 2015