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Working Conditions

There is no shortage of people qualified to be a truck driver: millions of people hold a commercial driver’s license that they don’t use and new drivers are recruited and created all the time. The real issue is that trucking companies do not retain the drivers because the job of being a truck driver is a physically dangerous profession with crashes, high rates of hypertension, and obesity-related morbidity, as well as being away from home for days and weeks at a time while getting paid for only 75% of the working time.


As Dr. Belzer has written, it is a retention, not recruitment problem, and truck drivers are overworked, overtired and underpaid.


“Describing economic benefits and costs of nonstandard work hours: A scoping review." With Imelda S. Wong, Quay Brian, and Emily Irvin. American Journal of Industrial Medicine. 22 October 2021.

“Truck drivers are overtired, overworked and underpaid.” The Conversation. July 25, 2018. Read more

“The Economics of Long Work Hours: How Economic Incentives Influence Workplace Practice." Industrial Health, 58(5), 399–402. September 2020. Editorial.

“Work-Stress Factors Associated with Truck Crashes: An Exploratory Analysis.” The Economic and Labour Relations Review 39(2), 262-284. August 2019.

“Excessive work hours and hypertension: Evidence from the NIOSH survey data.” With Takahiko Kudo. Safety Science 129. September 2020.

“Environmental determinants of obesity-associated morbidity risks for truckers.” International Journal of Workplace Health Management. With Yorghos Apostolopoulos, Sevil Sönmez, and Mona M Shattell. 5(2), 120 - 138, 2012.


"Building Back Better in Commercial Road Transport: Markets Require Fair Labor Standards"US Department of Transportation: Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Council, July 19, 2021. Download

"Economic Incentives and Market Pressure: Why Markets Require "Safe Rates" Regulation"

Senate Standing Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport, Parliament of Australia, Apriil 28, 2021. Download

Truck Drivers are Overtired, Overworked, and Underpaid. Wayne State University, January 25, 2019. Download

Excessive Work Hours & Hypertension. Transportation Research Board, ANB70 Truck and Bus Operator Health and Safety Subcommittee, January 14, 2020. Download

In the News

“‘Indentured servitude’: low pay and grueling conditions fueling US truck driver shortage” 

Erin McCormik, The Guardian, November 22, 2021. Read more

“Trucker Shortage Hits Home: A lack of drivers is challenging the trucking industry and impacting retailers” [Part One of a Two Part Series}, Pat Pape, The Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing, April 19, 2021. Read more

“The Trouble With Trucking: Want to understand how workers so often get a raw deal, even during a growing economy? Ask long-haul truckers”, The Editorial Board, The New York Times, August 11, 2018. Read more

Why Truck Drivers Should Be Next in Line for the Vaccine.” Jason Silverstein, Men’s Health, December 21, 2020. Read more

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