Anyone who has driven on Missouri’s I-70 knows how heavily trafficked interstates can be with trucks moving goods and services across the country. Today, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill questioned representatives from trucking and truck safety organizations at a Senate Commerce, Science and Technology Committee hearing about how the pay structure for drivers can incentivize unsafe driving. McCaskill highlighted that because truck drivers are only paid for miles driven, they often spend many unpaid hours waiting for their trucks to be loaded or unloaded and then rush to drive as many miles as possible in a shortened period of time.


Anyone who has driven on Missouri’s I-70 knows how heavily trafficked interstates can be with trucks moving goods and services across the country. Today, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill questioned representatives from trucking and truck safety organizations at a Senate Commerce, Science and Technology Committee hearing about how the pay structure for drivers can incentivize unsafe driving. McCaskill highlighted that because truck drivers are only paid for miles driven, they often spend many unpaid hours waiting for their trucks to be loaded or unloaded and then rush to drive as many miles as possible in a shortened period of time.

Todd Spencer, Executive Vice President of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, echoed McCaskill’s concerns, noting that drivers can lose as many as 30-40 unpaid hours a week while their trucks are being loaded or unloaded.

In response to the concern that data does not exist to verify these claims, McCaskill suggested to Dave Oseicki, a Senior Vice President at the American Trucking Association, that a study was needed to see if there would be measurable increases in safety if drivers were paid for hours worked instead of miles driven.

McCaskill is also a co-sponsor of a bill which would establish more broadly applicable national standards for length and weight of trucks.  Such standards currently exist on the 44,000-mile Interstate Highway System, but the bill would extend them to the much bigger 160,000-mile National Highway System (53-foot length maximum and 80,000-pound weight maximum).