A Brief Introduction of Truck Driver Contract
For loaders, it is extremely crucial to get their load transferred from one place to another. They don’t just want a timely delivery but also want to ensure that the goods in the load are safe and secure. Thus, a lot of distributors like to connect with a trucking company. A trucking company can have a few drivers as employees, but interestingly, they can also have independent truckers working for them.
Companies do so to protect themselves from a lot of hassle and trouble. They also wish not to take the liability for all the drivers working for them. Thus, Independent contract trucking is gaining popularity in these times.
An agreement signed between the trucking company or independent trucker and the distributor is known as Truck Driver Contract. The agreement contains all the details about the responsibilities, liabilities, and obligations of each party. It is an extremely elaborate piece of document that should be drafted with full care. It is also a legally binding agreement that protects the parties involved.
Other names for the Truck Driver Contract are Truck Driver Contract Agreement, Truck Driver Employment Contract, Trucking Contracts, and Truck Driver Independent Contractor Agreement.
Who Takes the Truck Driver Contract Agreement?
As mentioned above, the agreement is signed between the distributor of goods and a trucking company. A trucking company can decide if they want to present their employees or their independent truckers. Depending on who the company chooses, the agreement can be modified. However, the basic core of the agreement remains the same.
Purpose of the Truck Driver Contract
In the case of an accident or loss, the trucking companies want to absolve from responsibility and want to discredit the driver. In such a case, the courts ensure that the driver is an independent contractor of the company or an employee. Thus it is always suggested to have an attorney and take his suggestions on how to choose a driver or how to represent the driver on a case to case basis. Here are some reasons to sign this agreement –
- It lists out the responsibilities of the driver
- It gives information about whether the driver is being represented as an independent or employee
- It lists down the responsibilities and liabilities of the company in case of any unforeseeable situations such as accident, loss of goods, etc
- It describes the punishment applied when the driver makes a conscious mistake
- It specifies all the rules for the trucker
- It specifies the details of how the truck driver will be paid
- It gives a dispute resolution method
Contents of the Truck Driver Contract
Like any other agreement, a Truck Driver Contract Agreement must contain
- The basic details of all the parties involved.
- Basic details include the name, phone number, addresses, etc.
- It should state the duties of owner-drivers. These include:
- Adherence to all traffic laws while transportation of cargo during long distances.
- Plan of routes, helping unload/load cargo, logging in trucking activities, and interaction with dispatchers.
- Maintenance of equipment and vehicle ensuring it is road-ready.
- Performing business activities like establishing a solid workflow and submitting one’s taxes properly and on time.
Further, the agreement must specify if the truck driver is an independent driver or an employee. These details should be listed in a very precise manner because the courts check them in case of any breach or default.
For each of these cases, the agreement can be molded a little. But, the company must understand that if they project the driver as independent, they might have to produce a lot of other proofs to be prepared for a confrontation. Further, the agreement must specify the roles, responsibilities, liabilities, and obligations of both parties. It also describes what can be done in the case of an unforeseeable situation. The agreement also contains the governing law. It must spell out how the driver will be paid, the term of the payment and how the contract can be terminated.
How to Draft the Truck Driver Contract?
The Truck Driver Agreement lists all possibilities and recognizes what courts can ask or check for, in case of a default.
Some of the provisions include
- Description of Services
- Relationship between parties
- Rates, Charges and Payments
- Bills of Lading
- Freight Loss/Damage
- All Shipments Under this Contract
- Force Majeure
The owner can request a viewing of the hauling vehicle at any time and return the assigned hauling vehicle to the contracting party on request. Failure to do so being deemed abandonment. If there is a scope of a penalty of any sort, then the company should inform the driver about that too. Parties should read the document carefully and then only sign the Truck Driver Contract Agreement.
When the two parties sit together, they must negotiate on various aspects of the agreement. Without negotiation, the process of agreement can’t be over. Negotiations allow both parties to put forward their views. The driver can negotiate to ensure that he alone doesn’t have to face the brunt of the accident, kind of a situation arises. There can be another such event such as loss of goods/load etc. The company must understand the concerns of the driver. They can also negotiate on the salary of the driver.
Benefits & Drawbacks of the Truck Driver Contract
There are multiple benefits of signing this agreement because it provides security to both the truck driver and the company. Here are more advantages to signing this agreement
- It tells the driver about his responsibilities
- It ensures that the legal framework or law is followed
- It gives information about the dispute resolution method
- It specifies the solutions for any misconduct, breach or violation
- It becomes one single document that carries all information pertaining to the partnership between the driver and the company
If the agreement is drafted well, there are no drawbacks to this agreement. It may seem risky to those who don’t want to follow an ethical way. The drivers should always ask for an agreement because it secures them in the future.
[ Also Read: Truck Lease Agreement]
What Happens in Case of Violation?
In case of any violation, parties can mediate if they want(1). But in case of any bigger breach or complaint by the distributor, the parties can approach the court mediation. Parties are well-within their rights to take action against each other in the court. For a small misunderstanding, the parties should try to resolve the issue by reading the clauses of the agreement very carefully.
Truck Driver Contract Agreement is an extremely important piece of document. It also ensures that the truck company remains scared of the laws and doesn’t do anything unlawful, such as calling employees, independent truck drivers. Independent drivers save the truck company from a lot of troubles, but it is important to note that the courts have their ways of finding if the driver is indeed independent. Truck companies should take certain liability if the truck driver makes some mistakes or lose the goods.
There are many Truck Driver Employment Contract samples available online. Make sure you choose the one drafted by an expert.