OOIDA: Detention time standards should value a driver’s time

November 2019

Mark Schremmer

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The current standard regarding detention time “completely discounts the value of a driver’s time,” the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association told the FMCSA in formal comments submitted on Sept. 9.

“Like all hard-working Americans, drivers want to receive fair compensation for the work they do,” OOIDA wrote in comments signed by President and CEO Todd Spencer. “For decades, driver pay has been stagnant, making careers in trucking less appealing to new entrants and less sustainable for experienced truckers.

“Generally, if the truck’s wheels are not moving, drivers are not getting paid. As a result, many drivers spend countless unpaid on-duty hours being detained by shippers and receivers because Congress and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration have failed to address excessive detention time.”

FMCSA published its request for information on June 10, asking for data on detention time and how it affects highway safety.

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.”

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 and $1.3 billion each year.

The Association also noted that a survey from the OOIDA Foundation found that drivers are losing $865 to $1,500 each week from uncompensated detention time.

“Although most drivers and owner-operators are weary of more regulations, several members have recommended introducing language into the federal regulations requiring either penalties for shippers, receivers, and carriers who do not compensate for detention, establishing a fixed hourly wage, or both,” OOIDA wrote. LL

Mark Schremmer

Mark Schremmer, associate 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.