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Truckers' wages have always encouraged overworking

The idea behind paying a trucker by the mile is simple: In this way, the company just pays the trucker for precisely what he or she is accomplishing on the company's behalf. Production is rewarded. Idle times are not.

Workers who are paid by the hour may be tempted to sit around and do nothing, earning the same amount no matter what they're doing while on the clock. Truckers don't have this temptation.

At the same time, these rules are designed to motivate truckers. They know that accomplishing more helps them earn more. They're in control of their wages. They want to work hard to provide for their families.

The problem, of course, is that this can encourage overworking. Decades ago, before all of the current regulations about how many hours a trucker can drive, some would work for 24 hours in a row, just trying to cram in as many miles as possible.

Today, the system is a bit different. While truckers are still paid by the mile, they do have Hours-of-Service rules in place. This essentially puts a cap on earnings. They can only cover so much ground in the time they're allowed to be behind the wheel.

Naturally, this can still encourage unsafe practices. Truckers may speed to fit more miles into those hours, for example, or they may work extra hours and falsify records to earn more.

These unsafe practices, driven by wages, can lead to accidents. If this happens and you're injured, you need to know if you have a right to financial compensation for medical bills and other costs.

Source: Trucking Truth, "Why Drivers Are Paid By The Mile," Dave Ashelman, accessed July 05, 2017

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