Truck Driver Pay: By the Mile or Hour?

Back in October 2018, a US district judge in Arkansas ruled that PAM Transport, a trucking company based in the state, would have to pay its drivers at least minimum wage for the 16 hours each day that they work.

A couple of weeks ago, the judge reaffirmed his ruling. As reported by Business Insider:

US District Judge Timothy Brooks reaffirmed that PAM Transport violated federal labor laws when they didn’t pay their truck-driver employees at least minimum wage for every non-sleeping hour spent in their truck.

Meanwhile, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) ruled in late December that California trucking companies don’t need to provide paid rest and meal breaks for their truck-driver employees who drive in and outside of California.

Driver pay is a big part of the driver shortage story, with many people arguing that if you pay drivers more, you would attract more drivers to the industry and retain them. But as these two stories suggest, does the way we pay drivers — mostly by the mile, with little or no compensation for time spent waiting around — need to change? If so, what type of payment model should the industry adopt and what would be the ancillary effects?

Watch the short commentary then post your perspective!

For related commentary, see Truck Driver Shortage: Getting Better, Worse, or No Problem at All? and Driver Shortage in Trucking: Time for Plan B