FMCSA seeks input about truck drivers’ detention time

July 2019

Mark Schremmer


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is requesting information regarding driver detention times and how it affects roadway safety.

FMCSA submitted a request for information that was published in the Federal Register on June 10.

In 2011, the Government Accountability Office recommended that “FMCSA examine the extent to which detention time contributes to hours-of-service violations in its future studies on driver fatigue and detention time.”

FMCSA responded to the GAO report by sponsoring a study in 2014 among a sample of motor carriers. The study found that drivers experienced detention time during approximately 10% of their stops for an average duration of 1.4 hours beyond a commonly accepted two-hour loading and unloading period.

In 2018, DOT’s Office of Inspector General reported that detention time increased crash risks and costs but that the current data limited further analysis. The report recommended that FMCSA collaborate with industry stakeholders to develop and implement a plan to collect and analyze “reliable, accurate, and representative data on the frequency and severity of driver detention.”

Detention time is an issue the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has been working to address for years.

“We are very appreciative that FMCSA is examining the issue, as it is a significant safety concern,” said Andrew King of the OOIDA Foundation. “We are glad to see that they are changing their view concerning detention time from a ‘market efficiency problem’ to a real issue that affects truckers every day.”

Some of the findings from OIG’s report included that a 15-minute increase in time a truck spent at a facility increased the average expected crash rate by 6.2%, and that detention time costs for-hire truck drivers between $1.1 billion and $1.3 billion each year.

Comments will be accepted until Sept. 9. To submit comments, you can enter Docket No. FMCSA-2019-0054 at the website or mail Docket Management Facility; U.S. Department of Transportation; Room W12-140; 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE; Washington, D.C. 20590-0001. LL


Mark Schremmer

Mark Schremmer, senior editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and nearly two decades of journalism experience to our staff.