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Tow Truck Driver Overtime Lawsuits: Wage & Hour Laws

Tow Truck Driver Overtime Lawsuits: Wage & Hour Laws

Commonly asked overtime pay law questions about tow truck drivers:

Do Tow Truck Drivers Receive Overtime Pay?

Often times, tow truck drivers put in very long hours – often working on-call hours and at all times of the night, as these service companies operate 24/7. Many times, tow truck drivers work in excess of 40 hours a week.

Overtime work occurs often especially during the winter months, as there can be an extreme increase in roadside assistance calls.  Dead batteries, flat tires, auto accidents, and other problems, for example, are much more common during the winter season.

In many cases, tow truck drivers are entitled to overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). All too often, however, towing companies fail to track all the hours their workers put in each week, or worse, they demand their employees work significant off the clock hours without pay.

What is the Salary Range for a Tow Truck Driver?

Depending on the company and state where the drivers are employed, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) noted that in 2016, truck drivers, including tow truck drivers, made between $26,920 to $63,140, with the average annual salary being approximately $43,590.

How Many Tow Truck Drivers Are Nationally Employed?

According to the United States Department of Labor, employment estimate and mean wage estimates for truck drivers, including tow truck drivers, is as follows:

Employment Employment RSE* Mean Hourly Wage Mean Annual Wage Wage RSE
1,704,520 0.6% $20.96 $43,590 0.2%

*RSE: The relative standard error (RSE) is a measure of the reliability of a survey statistic. The smaller the relative standard error, the more precise the estimate.

According to the United States Department of Labor, the percentile wage estimates for truck drivers, including tow truck drivers, is as follows:

Percentile 10% 25% 50% (Median) 75% 90%
Hourly Wage $12.94 $16.09 $19.87 $24.89 $30.36

Where Are Most Tow Truck Drivers Employed?

According to the United States Department of Labor, states with the highest employment level in this occupation are as follows:

State Employment Employment Per Thousand Jobs Location Quotient Hourly Mean Wage Annual Mean Wage
Texas 175,780 14.97 1.23 $20.59 $42,830
California 130,640 8.18 0.67 $21.59 $44,900
Pennsylvania 78,320 13.63 1.12 $21.76 $45,270
Florida 77,660 9.44 0.78 $18.91 $39,330
Ohio 70,740 13.25 1.09 $21.21 $44,110

Tow Truck Driver Overtime Pay Lawsuit News

Related Tow Truck Driver Overtime Pay Lawsuit News

Driver Files Class Action Lawsuit Against Colorado Towing Company

A former driver for an Aspen, Colorado towing company recently filed a class action unpaid overtime lawsuit against the company in federal court over allegations that the defendant failed to pay him and other workers for all their time spent on the job.

Read All Tow Truck Driver News on Overtime Pay Cases and Settlements

What are the Laws for Tow Truck Driver Overtime Pay?

The FLSA requires that covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular rates, including commissions, bonuses and incentive pay, for hours worked beyond 40 per week. In calculating the number of hours worked, the employer must consider all required work performed in all facilities and departments, both before and after a shift, including staff meetings and required paid training.

In some cases, tow truck drivers are not covered by the FLSA, and instead fall under the Motor Carrier Exemption.

Recent guidelines from the Department of Labor and court decisions have attempted to clarify which Tow Truck Drivers are covered by the FLSA and which are exempt. But the FLSA is a difficult statute to navigate, and state laws can complicate the picture even more.

Another common problem arises when employers misclassify their tow-truck drivers as independent contractors.  However, having such a classification does not necessarily mean the tow-truck drivers are in fact independent contractors.  If the tow-truck workers are classified as independent contractors but actually treated like employees, they have the right to minimum wage and overtime protections under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

If you believe you have been wrongfully denied overtime, the best option is to contact an experienced attorney who can advise you on your rights.  Only an attorney can tell you whether you may be entitled to file a tow truck driver overtime pay lawsuit.

Is a Tow Truck Driver Entitled to Overtime Pay?

In many circumstances, a truck driver is entitled to overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) if they work over 40 hours in a single work week. However, whether a particular tow truck driver is protected by the FLSA or the Motor Carrier Exemption is a complicated and highly fact-specific question.

A court may consider the following factors, among others, when making its decision:

  • Whether the employer has a common-carrier certificate of authority from the Department of Transportation
  • Whether the employer advertises itself as available for interstate towing
  • Whether the driver may be called upon to complete an interstate tow

If you are covered by the FLSA as a tow truck driver, your employer must pay you a rate of time-and-one-half for all hours worked over forty in a workweek, even if you are not normally paid on an hourly basis.  In addition, some states have enacted overtime laws under which you may be entitled to overtime wages even if you are not covered by the FLSA.

It is especially important for tow truck drivers to be aware of their rights in the winter months, when their services are needed more often and at all times of the day and night.

Does a Company Have to Pay Overtime Wages to a Tow Truck Driver?

Yes, a company may have to pay overtime to a tow truck driver if they have worked more than 40 hours in a work week, however there are certain exemptions. The Motor Carrier Act (Section 13(b)(1) of the FLSA) exempts some truck drivers. The 13(b)(1) overtime exemption applies to drivers who are:

  1. Employed by a motor carrier or motor private carrier, as defined in 49. U.S.C. Section 13102.
  2. Drivers, driver’s helpers, loaders, or mechanics whose duties affect the safety operation of motor vehicles in transportation on public highways in interstate or foreign commerce.
  3. Not covered by the small vehicle exception.

For more information on 13(b)(1) regarding overtime laws and truck drivers visit http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs19.htm.

Every case is different.  Therefore, if you work as a tow truck driver and believe that your employer is violating the law by not properly paying you overtime wages, contact one of our experienced attorneys immediately. There are strict statutes of limitations to file these types of lawsuits so it is important that you do not wait.  If you wait, you may lose your ability to recover some or all of your back pay.

What Companies Have Denied Overtime Pay to Tow Truck Drivers?

In 2013, the United States Department of Labor recovered over $150,000 in back pay for 72 tow truck drivers and roadside assistance technicians who worked for United Towing & Transport, Inc. See http://www.dol.gov/whd/media/press/whdpressVB3.asp?pressdoc=Southwest/20130521.xml for more information.

To determine whether you are eligible for filing a wage claim, contact our experienced Tow Truck Driver Overtime Pay Lawyers at (855) 754-2795 for a Free Consultation to discuss your case or complete the Free Unpaid Overtime Case Review Form on this page.  We will discuss your situation and determine if you have a claim. If you are owed unpaid wages, we will represent you under our No Fee Promise, which means there are never any legal fees or costs unless you receive a settlement.

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