How Much Should a Truck Driver Get Paid?

The United States federal minimum wage is $7.25/hour ($1,410 a month). Truckers are often paid per load and salary for many smaller routes which might have been up to 20 miles long. Some truck drivers even earn more than the national median income of around $58,000 annually with overtime pay available after 40 hours or 100 hours in one week.

The “average truck driver pay per mile 2021” is a question that has been asked for years. The average amount of money that a truck driver makes in one year is $0.21 an hour.


Truck driver pay regulations have governed truckers’ remuneration for years. For certain truck drivers, compensation per mile is less than the statutory minimum wage, putting them in violation of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Employee rights for truck drivers are becoming a hot topic in courtrooms throughout the nation.

A new federal court ruling in Arkansas may have an impact on how truck drivers are paid for their time. A request to dismiss a case against defendant PAM Transport, which was accused of breaching the FLSA, was rejected by the United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas, Fayetteville Division, in October 2018.

PAM Transport is a trucking business based in Arkansas that was established in 1980. In 2016, three of PAM’s truck drivers launched a class action lawsuit on behalf of almost 3,000 additional drivers.

Truck drivers are traditionally compensated based on the amount of miles driven, which means they are not compensated for time spent waiting for cargo to be loaded and unloaded, or for hours spent waiting out poor weather or other factors beyond their control. The income of truck drivers is clearly affected by this delay.


The courts have stated that trucking firms are well aware that drivers have no option but to wait, and that truckers should be paid for their time spent waiting.

The court ruled that PAM’s long-haul truck drivers were entitled to at least minimum wage, paying up to 16 hours per day, in the PAM case. The only time the driver was not paid was the eight hours he was permitted to sleep.

Drivers are not obliged to be paid for the eight hours they are supposed to sleep, according to Department of Labor guidelines published in July 2019. Truck driver pay regulations may, however, have exceptions. This period may be recorded as time spent on the clock if drivers are obliged to be on call or complete paperwork during these eight hours.

How much does a truck driver make on average?

A semi-truck driver’s average annual wages in 2020 were about $47,130, up slightly from $43,590 four years earlier. Depending on job position, location, and training, this amount may fluctuate both up and down. The entire yearly income of a truck driver is influenced by the pay per mile.

Pay Laws for Truck Drivers Have Changed Over Time

The PAM case is part of a recent wave of lawsuits that has called into question how truck drivers are paid. According to Business Insider, Swift Transportation has agreed to pay up to $100 million to settle claims that it misclassified truckers as independent contractors when they were actually employees entitled to minimum wage and other benefits.


Some truck drivers may be denied the advantages of being an employee, such as minimum pay, overtime, health insurance, and more, due to misclassification. Contractor truck drivers are responsible for their own vehicle, gasoline, insurance, maintenance, and other expenses.

In previous cases, a Nebraska court ordered Werner Enterprises to pay $780,000 to 52,000 unpaid student truck drivers, and C.R. England to pay $2.35 million to cover unpaid wages for its drivers.

Pay Per Mile for Truck Drivers

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has mandated that nearly every worker in the United States earn at least a set minimum wage since 1938. However, because truck drivers’ pay is often based on distance rather than time, pay per mile truck drivers have been an exception to this rule. What is the rate of pay for truck drivers per mile? The average pay per mile for truck drivers is between 27 cents and 40 cents.

Companies that refuse to change the way they compensate their drivers have a 90 percent or higher turnover rate for truck drivers as a result of the low pay. It’s no surprise that nearly 900,000 truck driving jobs are available across the country. Few people look forward to being overworked and underpaid.

Fortunately, courts and laws governing truck driver pay are beginning to recognize that truck drivers are entitled to be paid minimum wage in accordance with FLSA guidelines. Truck drivers are more likely to stay with a company if they are paid a living wage for each hour they work.


What Are the Consequences of Trucker Downtime?

Today’s truckers are subjected to a plethora of rules and regulations, but required downtime can be inconvenient. Because of the pay cut, truckers are known to try to avoid downtime.

Detained drivers can be stuck for hours at shipping and docking facilities. Legislators were prompted to address the issue of trucker downtime as a result of this incident. According to the Commercial Carrier Journal, studies have found that the majority of truckers have been detained in some way during their previous 30 days of work.

Truckers who are paid per mile or job picked up during a given day have a strong incentive to drive as many hours as possible, which obviously increases average truck driver pay. Some believe that when downtime is required but the trucker is not paid, it is a violation of how workers should be treated.

According to data from the National Transportation Institute, concerns about average truck driver pay are receiving more attention, resulting in changes in the first quarter of 2019 and beyond. Sign-on bonuses are still being used by some recruiters to address the massive trucking shortage in the United States, but other companies are considering guaranteed pay as an alternative.

According to Transport Topics, a large part of the shift to guaranteed pay came as a result of drivers who were not compensated for hours spent waiting at loading docks.

Truck drivers who are overworked, tired, and underpaid are more likely to drive fatigued, endangering all motorists. Paying truckers for the time they work, even if they are not driving, does not encourage them to avoid downtime.

How Much Do Truckers Suffer From Downtime?

The amount of time truckers spend waiting for their trucks to be loaded or unloaded has increased in recent years, according to a study by the American Transportation Research Institute. The study looked at wait times from 2014 to 2018.

1631372034_22_How-Much-Should-a-Truck-Driver-Get-Paid-TopWhile most truckers wait an average of two and a half hours at warehouses, some may have to wait twice as long. According to the study, the number of truckers who said they had to wait at warehouses for more than 71% of the time increased by 40%. Furthermore, according to Business Insider, more than 9% of them claimed to have waited for more than six hours at least once. This is up from 7% in 2014 who claimed to have experienced six-hour wait times.

However, it appears that truckers are being compensated for this time in greater numbers. In 2014, only 62.8 percent of truckers said they were paid all or part of the compensation they were owed for waiting, but in 2018, more than 71 percent said they were paid for their wait times.

Prior to the pandemic, income appeared to be increasing.

The results of the 2019 Driver Compensation Study were released by the American Trucking Association (ATA) in May 2020, and DC Velocity, a logistics multi-media company, reviewed them.

According to the study, truck drivers in the United States earned an average of $58,000 in 2019, up $6,000 from the previous year.

It remains to be seen whether these gains can be maintained during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a Reuters report, new freight contracts have dropped by 60 percent to 90 percent since the pandemic began, while empty runs have increased by 40 percent. Those figures come from the Geneva-based International Transport Union (IRU), which represents truckers from 80 countries.

According to the American Truck Association, 97 percent of trucking companies in the United States have a fleet of fewer than 20 semis. Ninety-one percent have six or fewer trucks, implying that workers are more likely to be assigned to single jobs rather than repeat trips based on contracts.

Because there isn’t enough work, ERL Intermodal had to lay off six drivers, and the remaining drivers were given a 30 percent pay cut, according to Reuters.

ERL Intermodal agreed to rent numerous refrigerated trailers to the federal government, which had been using them as makeshift morgues owing to the coronavirus outbreak.

The compensation given to accomplish the tasks that are available has dropped as the demand for trucking services has declined. According to Reuters, many of the positions provide so little compensation that it would be unable to meet his operational expenses.

Small, independent trucking businesses may have to declare bankruptcy, according to transportation experts, the longer the economy is delayed by COVID-19.

AB5 in California may have an impact on truck drivers.

California truck drivers are now subject to new rules that may have an impact on their job status. With a few exceptions, California Assembly Bill 5 compels businesses to reclassify many independent contractors as employees, which took effect on January 1, 2020. AB5 is aimed specifically at members of the gig economy, such as ride-hailing behemoths Uber and Lyft, as well as food delivery businesses like Door Dash, who employ millions of independent contractors without paying them overtime or providing them with minimum wage or other labor rights. However, AB5 impacts any company that hires independent contractors on a regular basis, which includes many trucking firms.

Under AB5, a three-part test (the “ABC test”) is used to assess whether a worker is an independent contractor or an employee.

Just before the legislation went into effect, the California Trucking Association (CTA) was granted a preliminary injunction that prevented the enforcement of AB5 against the industry, and the order has since been renewed.

Proposition 22, backed by big gig businesses, was approved in the 2020 general election, putting a stop to AB5 for independent contractor drivers like those who drive for Uber or Lyft. While Prop 22 does not apply to truck drivers, the court’s acceptance of it may suggest that AB5 is not a statute of “wide application,” according to California Trucking Association attorney Andrew Tauber.

He said, “It particularly targets the transportation sector.”

Truck drivers are the backbone of our economy, so it is important to know how much they make. In 2021, truck drivers should be paid $49,000. Reference: how much do truck drivers make 2021.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Truck drivers make 100k?

A: Its difficult to make a living as a truck driver at the moment. For example, there is an average of 1.4 million trucks on US highways and only 4% of those drivers make over $50,000 per year according to the BLS.

Do truck drivers make good money?

A: You would have to ask a truck driver or company for their opinion on this.

What is the hourly rate for a truck driver?

A: The hourly wage for a truck driver will vary based on factors such as the experience level of the individual, skills in driving techniques and other similar factors.

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