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Mar.09, 2015

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GOVERNMENT WATCH INTERNATIONAL | WASHINGTON | CUSTOMS | SECURITY | REGULATION 16 THE JOURNAL OF COMMERCE MARCH 9.2015 By William B. Cassidy T H E U . S . G OV E R N M E N T ' S t r uck sa fet y agency is pursuing plans to study whether the way truck drivers are paid leads to unsafe driving habits, rule-breaking and deadly crashes. The study could draw a line connecting truck driver pay methods in the U.S. and highway safety, opening a route for regula- tors to determine how drivers are paid, if not how much. Most interstate truck drivers in the U.S. are paid by the mile, and some safety advocates argue that compensation model encourages drivers to violate federal hours- of-service rules that limit driving time and work while fatigued in order to rack up miles and earn more pay. Trucking interests fear the study could lead to "an unnecessary intrusion into the business relationship between motor carri- ers and drivers," and a "reversion to the long since rejected era of economic regulation," the American Trucking Associations said last year in comments on an early version of the proposed Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration study. The FMCSA in February said it would submit a new plan for a study on "the impact of driver compensation on commer- cial motor vehicle safety to the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, and asked for comments on its proposal, which was pub- lished in the Feb. 4 Federal Register. "The study will evaluate the relation- ship between property-carrying motor carriers' compensation methods and inci- dences of unsafe driving," the FMCSA said in its Federal Register notice. "In particular, the research team will determine if there is a potential relationship between method of driver compensation and safe driving behavior." The federal agency plans to survey managers at more than 2,000 trucking com- panies, using an online questionnaire. "This study will assist motor carriers and other stakeholders engaged in commercial vehicle safety by enabling them to make informed decisions regarding driver compensation as it relates to safe driving performance," the FMCSA said. One group the agency doesn't plan to survey immediately is truck drivers, a gap noted by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association in comments the group DOES DRIVER PAY IMPACT ROAD SAFETY? That's the question the FMCSA will attempt to answer as it studies the methodology behind trucker compensation

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