18-wheeler crashes in Florida make regular headlines because of the amount of devastation they usually cause. Far too often, a truck driver mistake caused the accident, and, while it can be hard to pinpoint the precise nature of the mistake, fatigue and drowsiness are often prime suspects.

In a separate article on Florida truck driver hours-of-service we explained what the rules are, why they are difficult to enforce and how long working hours seriously affect the ability to drive. The truck driver's focus and reaction speed will collapse under the combined effects of sleep deprivation, disturbed circadian rhythm and time-on-task fatigue.

Why would an exhausted truck driver take so many risks to keep on trucking?

The short answer is: because most drivers are paid by the mile. This is worth explaining further because paying truck drivers by the mile has many consequences:
  • Most drivers get paid less than what was originally suggested when they signed up for work. Being paid by the mile, their pay follows the volume of work available, and they will grab whatever is offered irrespective of the number of hours already worked in the week;
  • Motor carriers do not pay overtime or compensation for long or changing hours of work. What they usually do is to put the driver under intense pressure to deliver the goods on time.
  • The driver, not the carrier, is shouldering the cost of time lost due to congested roads, loading/unloading and waiting time or mechanical problems.
  • Paid by the mile, the truck driver will not only drive more, but also faster.

Whereas 63 percent of the short-haul (less-than-truckload LTL) carriers pay their drivers by the hour, the overwhelming majority of interstate, full-load, carriers pay by the mile. Many truck drivers, and especially the independent owner-operators working under a leasing agreement for large motor carriers, are unhappy with their work and financial situation.

This is not likely to contribute to the safety of our roads.

The Daytona Beach truck accident attorneys of Johnson & Gilbert are dedicated to the safety of their clients. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car crash in Central or North Florida, call us today toll free at (800) 556-8890 and locally at (386) 673-4412 or fill out the form on this page for a free consultation.
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