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LETTER: Trucker pay needs to change to make roads safer

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Aug 4th, 2022
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From BarrieToday, July 31, 2022
A Letter to the Editor

This letter is in response to a letter regarding trucking on rural roadways in the area, published July 26.

I agree with Doug Varty of Oro-Medonte. In regards to the speeds of aggregate haulers in Oro-Medonte, public safety has to be the first priority for the township, county, and OPP when it comes to trucking on these narrow, hilly rural roadways.

Among the various points Mr. Varty has made, we should really address the elephant in the room in this industry – p-staFleet executives in Ontario know that driver pay is not sufficient enough today. Ten years ago the Moderator of the Ontario Truckers Association asked a very important question: “Drivers have been paid on a productivity basis for most of the industry’s history. Now with GPS and possibly, you really can get a handle in terms of the driver’s performance. Is it time to pay drivers by the hour?”

Some experts in the industry believe that their members are entirely underpaid and most drivers, after everything is said and done, are basically getting paid minimum wage or less.

The owner/operators are also faced with the fact that driver pay is the number one problem facing the trucking industry. According to the ZipRecruiter, “As of July 20, 2022, the average annual pay for a long haul truck driver in Ontario is $62,036 a year. Just in case you need a simple salary calculator that works out to be approximately $29.83 an hour. This is the equivalent of $1,193/week or $5,170/month.” Many are paid considerably less.

Some truck drivers have insisted on the following:

  • Truck drivers should be protected by minimum wage rules just like everyone else.
  • Pay truck drivers from the moment they arrive for work.
  • Wages are not high enough to support a family in Ontario.
  • The typical Line-Haul driver works overnight and will work almost all of his 70 hours per week allowed by law. A city driver will do 50-60 hours a week.
  • Show the paid mileage (loaded and unloaded) rates – that’s how most are paid.
  • Show what the real wage is in cents per KM.
  • Drivers are paid in practical miles and very seldom paid when empty.
  • A truck driver with less than two years of experience makes approximately 26,700 CAD per year.
  • The average salary for truck driver is 14% less than that of courier/delivery/transport/drivers. Also, courier/delivery/transport/drivers salaries are 61% less than those of all jobs.

According to trucknews.com, “We seem to be at a tipping point. Drivers, for the most part, would welcome the switch to hourly pay. Forward-thinking fleet executives agree change is necessary.”

Last September my wife and I were stopped at Old Barrie Road and University Avenue. We were waiting to make a left-hand turn on to University Avenue. An aggregate truck driver with a full load did not anticipate the stop and plowed through the intersection. He missed us by inches.

Horrified by this near catastrophe, I stopped at all of the pits along Old Barrie Road. No one could identify the hauler but I was told that drivers are always racing the clock to deliver a load – that’s how they get paid.

This practice has to stop and Doug Varty is right, speed limits must be adjusted to account for this clear and present danger. Why do we always wait for a disaster before we do anything?

Tim Taylor
Oro-Medonte

Read the article here

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