Motor carriers may be required to provide a “safe pay rate” that would compensate drivers for on-duty time spent off the road , in addition to their minimum pay guarantees.
While the change won’t happen overnight, the majority of the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC) was in favor of recommending that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) should pursue the safe pay rate as part of the next highway reauthorization bill when the committee met earlier this month.
In reality, for time-based or a safe pay rate to come to fruition, driver unions and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) would have to embrace electronic logging devices (ELDs). This is necessary because only when all drivers throughout the United States are using electronic logs will the FMCSA have a benchmark to model its guidelines for driver pay.
ELDs were set to become mandatory when the current reauthorization bill was signed into law in 2012, but the OOIDA filed a lawsuit claiming the devices could be utilized by fleet companies to harass their drivers.
But now if driver unions and the OOIDA would like drivers to be paid an hourly rate, then fleets would almost certainly require to have the ability to track how drivers utilize their time and improve it. And because of the delay triggered by the lawsuit, the enforcement of ELDs will not likely to start for another three years at minimum.
In order for a driver pay reform to occur, drivers and the groups that represent their interests must welcome the technology that fleets use to monitor and assess their job performance. Without that established, a fleet company simply would not be able to comply with the economics of safe pay rate unless shippers are similarly obliged to renegotiate their rates based on time.