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Truck Driver Pay:
Is the Trucker Fairly Compensated?

Truck driver pay. Is the salary of the trucker enough, considering all the duties, time and sacrifices?  If you are a trucker, you ALREADY know the answer.

A truck driver salary today, does not come close to compensating the trucker for the work they perform.

Even worse, think about all the hours and hours over a trucking career, that are unpaid work hours and are donated to the trucking industry!

Here's a few things that many truckers are not paid for:

Truck Driver Salary Rates  - Canada

Hourly $15.50-$26.25        Mileage  .25 - .45/mile

Salary Rates for Truckers - U.S.

Average $37,000/yr for a 40 hr work week

The above rate of pay schedule is just a very rough average. A more detailed breakdown of the pay rate for truckers, would vary according to state/province, years of driving experience, bonuses etc.

Cell Phones

Trucking companies expect their drivers to have cell phones. Guess who gets to pay for the cell phones? The trucker, of course.

The cell phone has become a 'tool of the trade', and a pricey tool it can be. It's needed to call customs brokers and agents, customers and dispatch.

If shippers were paying fair rates, the trucking companies would be able to add an allowance to the pay of the truck driver, to at least help offset the cost of a cell phone.

Company Equipment repairs

Drivers often pay for on-the-road equipment repairs and then wait to be reimbursed for the costs. The carrier don't want the delay of drivers contacting dispatch etc. and getting a PO for the repair AND paying the driver layover pay.

It's a win-win situation for the company. They benefit from the fast, efficient repair, and then the truck is back on the road, on schedule.

In most cases, the driver makes nothing for his time making repair arrangements and waiting for the equipment repairs. The trucking company? They incur only a repair bill. Extra truck driver pay? Rarely.....drivers in situations like this, often 'donate' their time.


This letter was send in from a large company,

'driver recruiter'.

His view in a nutshell?

Truckers ARE adequately paid.

Read the article,

my response and comments from truckers.

It all starts with the shipper

Long haul truck drivers will NEVER be compensated for all of the extra time they spend on the road.

There's not a trucking company out there, who would be willing or quite frankly, could afford to pay a trucker what they're really worth.

This stems from the simple fact that shippers are getting away with paying rates that are far too cheap.

But in this industry, it's really nothing new. If way back when, shippers were 'expected' to pay for all of those extras in their rates, then the money would have been there for better truck driver pay.

Now, the defense is simply, 'Well, it's 'industry standard', to expect this donated, free time from the trucker.

Slow changes in the industry

The above list of unpaid work, may or may not apply to every driver. Whether you are a company driver, an owner operator or an independent trucker, it's highly unlikely that your truck driver salary, truly comes close to compensating you for your time and work.

Some big rig drivers are paid for some of the above tasks. Most are not. In a 70 hour work cycle, I calculate at least 10 hours are often wasted, donated, unpaid labour.

On the other hand, the resulting low labour rate of a truck driver has been such an issue over the years, that slow changes in the industry are surfacing. Also, thanks to the demands and voice of the trucker, truck driver pay is slowly changing. Companies are starting to pay for some of the delays.

But, there's still a very long way to go, before the North American trucker is fairly compensated. Drivers in Europe have experienced a reform in driver pay, a few years ago. Most are paid an hourly rate, a much more equitable pay system, than the North American mileage rate structures.

Mileage vs Hourly Pay Rate: A Safety Issue?

Because North American truck driver pay is based on a mileage rate for most driving jobs, there's always that underlying urge for the trucker, to be moving and hurry. If that load doesn't move, the truck driver pay is zero!

It's not difficult to so why the trucking industry is so heavily criticized for safety issues. If a trucker doesn't pick up the pace every now and then, he'd starve to death!

Adding insult to injury

If you're a trucker, take the TOTAL number of hours you spend at work in a week. Then take your TOTAL net pay, which is your 'take-home pay', and divide by the number of hours you've worked in a week. No matter what your truck driver salary or pay is, I'll just bet that the hourly rate is really, really poor.

Truckers donate and give far too much to this business already. They spend long periods of time away from home, away from their families, risk their lives on the road, live a life-style that at times is pretty rugged, and then to make an hourly wage that violates labour laws and falls below the poverty level? It just adds insult to injury.

What's the Solution?

What should drivers do? Since truck driver pay is a pretty important issue, make sure you do your best to find a good company to work for.

Hunt down the absolute best trucking jobs around. Aim for getting the most perks and pay possible for your efforts. Driving a big rig and taking on the responsibility and stress that goes with it,  a truck driving career should be one of the highest paid, most respected professions in the country.

Look for truck driving employment with a company with the perks that will make YOU happy...... one will compensate you fairly  for all that you do.

Driving a big big is a tough job. It's not for the faint of heart. Get paid for what you do. You've earned it and you deserve it.

If you liked this article,

you may also like this one on Electronic Logs.

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