Research Project

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Impact of Driver Compensation on Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety


To examine the relationship between driver compensation (i.e., pay by the mile or hour) and safety.


The most widely-used system for paying CMV drivers in the Nation is to “pay per mile” (i.e., drivers receive a set amount of money for each mile driven). “Pay per load” is also used in certain commercial vehicle operations. An unintended safety consequence of the pay-per-mile system is that it may reward drivers for speeding and for driving excessive miles.


This study will survey carriers to determine how they compensate their drivers and what impact their compensation package has on safety. The study will involve linking information from the Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS) with the survey responses. The data will be used to characterize industry practices with respect to driver compensation and to determine the effects of driver compensation packages on safety.

To explore the relationship between driver compensation and safety, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will work with other Federal agencies and the Transportation Research Board (TRB) to assess the safety implications of commercial driver compensation methods. The study will examine the process by which changes to the current system could be made.


September 2012     The contract was awarded
September 2015     Project completion




The study team is monitoring the progress of the Information Collection Request (ICR).


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Updated: Thursday, January 8, 2015
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