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The Federal Government plans to increase truck driver’s pay in an effort to reduce the death toll due to speeding, driver fatigue, overloaded trucks or taking drugs to stay awake.

The Herald Sun reports:

A Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal, which will set binding pay and conditions for truck drivers from July 1 next year, will be unveiled today by Transport Minister Anthony Albanese.

A recent Transport Workers Union survey found truck drivers faced a `deadly squeeze’ that led to 40 per cent of them feeling pressured into breaking fatigue regulations.

One in four said they drove at excessive speed to meet deadlines.

Mr Albanese said that accidents involving trucks cost the economy $2.7 billion last year and the changes would make roads safer for all drivers.

“Around 250 people are killed and more than 1000 people suffer serious injuries on our roads each year in accidents involving trucks. Most of those deaths involve other vehicles in a collision with trucks,” he said.

“This will save lives by ensuring that truck drivers are paid reasonably for the work they do, getting rid of the economic incentive for drivers to take unacceptable risks on our roads.”

The National Transport Commission found low rates of pay for drivers led them to take risks, Mr Albanese said.

“These risky practices by drivers include speeding, long hours and using illicit substances,” he said.

“Truck drivers should not have to speed, overload their trucks, drive excessive hours or cut back on vehicle maintenance just to make a decent living.”

Employer groups have said paying drivers more could increase grocery and consumer prices.

But Department of Transport research suggests it would have a minimal impact and other recent transport reforms will cut freight costs.

One of the issues the tribunal will look at is drivers not being paid for waiting times.

Almost half claim more than 10 hours a week of unpaid waiting time.

About 56 per cent of owner-drivers said they skipped vehicle maintenance because of cost pressures.

Truck Accident Lawyer News is a truck accident and personal injury blog that publishes up to date truck accident and truck legal news from across the United States.

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