Eligible for a Safety Bonus? Read Tips to Help You Get It

In early 2010, the safety bonus that Mike’s trucking company paid out to its drivers was reduced from 2 cents per mile run during the quarter (3 months) to 1 cent per mile over the same time frame.

Your Safety Bonus gold seal.There was griping by some drivers, but our contention is that during these tough economic times — when so many professional truck drivers have been thrown out of work — the company’s drivers should be glad

  • to have a job and
  • to have a safety bonus of any amount.

After all, this bonus does come from trucking company profits and they don’t have to pay one out at all!

We also contend that if drivers are so close to the edge financially that they have to depend on this bonus to help them pay their bills or meet their budgets, then they need to re-examine why they can’t survive financially based on their regular paychecks alone.

This is especially true if truckers have been in the trucking industry for two years or more.

Safety Bonus Tips for Truckers

Here are some tips to help ensure that you receive any safety-related bonus that your trucking company might pay:

  • Pick up and deliver all loads on time, as long as it can be done safely and legally;
  • Don’t put yourself under so much pressure to pick-up or deliver on time that you rush and find yourself in an incident, accident or some other compromising situation;
  • If you can’t make safe, legal, on-time pick-ups or deliveries, communicate with your company as soon as you know;
  • Always perform pre-trip and post-trip inspections on your vehicle (tractor and trailer);
  • Replace or fix broken parts on your vehicle as soon as you know their condition;
  • Practice good following distance (i.e. don’t tailgate);
  • Practice the “Smith System” or other company-approved safe driving procedures;
  • Get out and look when backing; get help on the ground if you need it;
  • Use your lights when needed, not forgetting to use 4-way flashers when backing or going slower than 40 mph;
  • Anticipate the actions of others in advance;
  • Learn to look ahead to anticipate the flow of traffic, stoplights, stop signs, yield signs, turns, etc.;
  • Don’t overdrive your headlights at night;
  • Change lanes safely, always using your turn signals;
  • Adjust your speed for the road, traffic, construction zones, weather and other road hazards;
  • Allow time in your trip plan for contingencies;
  • Get into and out of your truck by the approved method — keeping three points of contact at all times;
  • Don’t allow yourself to get distracted by anything while you’re driving, either inside or outside your truck;
  • Remember to move your head to watch your mirrors every 8-10 seconds, more often if you’re in heavy traffic;
  • Take no shortcuts — in procedures or on roadways — that are not approved by your trucking company, federal and state DOTs, or your own good judgment; and
  • Follow safe driving procedures.

Potential Safety Bonus Numbers

Do you anticipate a safety bonus?

This table shows how much (before taxes are taken out) that you can anticipate receiving based on your average miles per week over the quarter.

Please note that

  • these average weekly miles also include high numbers for teams;
  • there are on average 13 weeks in a quarter;
  • the bonus shown is based on 1-cent per mile for the total miles in a quarter;
  • you will need to adjust your own numbers based on your own circumstances.
Average miles per week Average miles per quarter Safety Bonus based on miles in quarter
1000 13000 $130.00
1250 16250 $162.50
1500 19500 $195.00
1750 22750 $227.50
2000 26000 $260.00
2250 29250 $292.50
2500 32500 $325.00
2750 35750 $357.50
3000 39000 $390.00
3250 42250 $422.50
3500 45500 $455.00
3750 48750 $487.50
4000 52000 $520.00
4250 55250 $552.50
4500 58500 $585.00
4750 61750 $617.50
5000 65000 $650.00

This can be a substantial amount of money to leave on the table if you are able to earn it.

truck drivers money saving tip iconMoney saving tip: It should be every professional truck driver’s goal to do his/her job safely, legally and professionally every day.

While some or all of the practices listed above may seem common sense for drivers, it never hurts to review good procedures

Refresher courses help us all remember the things we should be doing.

Some companies hold safety meetings periodically to review them.

Bear in mind that a safety bonus is just that: a bonus.

A trucking company does not have to pay it.

Don’t undercut your chances of earning this extra money by letting down your guard at any time when operating a commercial motor

Case in point: we read an article about a truck driver who was charged with failure to control his vehicle after crashing his
tractor-trailer on Interstate 80, closing most of the westbound lanes for five hours.

In addition to the wrecked truck,”about 400 gallons of diesel fuel spilled onto the road.”

The reason given?

The driver told fire personnel that “he was trying to open a piece of candy when he lost control.”(1)

Obviously, opening a piece of candy was not as important as driving a big truck, but this driver allowed himself to lose focus.

If a driver loses a safety bonus, other things may be lost in the process.

Don’t lose out. Stay focused.

Return from Eligible for a Safety Bonus? Read Tips to Help You Get It to our Employee Benefits page or our Truck Drivers Money Saving Tips home page.



1. www.vindy.com/news/2010/apr/10/trucker-charged-after-crash/ (no longer online)