Truckers respond to request for information about detention time

July 10, 2019

Mark Schremmer


In response to FMCSA’s request on June 10 for information regarding detention time, 349 comments have already been submitted.

Many of the comments are from truck drivers who had negative experiences involving detention time.

“Shippers and consignees who detain drivers should be fined very heavily and required to compensate drivers for their time,” wrote Benjamin Slayton. “I’ve been to many places … where I was held up for 6-7 hours.”

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

“A recent study by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General found that better data are needed to fully understand the issues associated with driver detention,” the notice stated.

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 percent, and that detention time costs for-hire truck drivers between $1.1 and $1.3 billion each year.

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.”

The agency is asking stakeholders to answer seven questions.

  1. Is data currently available that can accurately record loading, unloading, and delay times?
  2. Is there technology available that could record and delineate prompt loading and unloading times versus the extended delays sometimes experienced by drivers?
  3. How can delay times be captured and recorded in a systematic, comparable manner?
  4. Could systematic collection and publication of loading, unloading, and delay times be useful in driver or carrier business decisions and help to reduce loading, unloading and delay times?
  5. What should FMCSA use as an estimate of reasonable loading/unloading time? Please provide a basis for your response.
  6. How do contract arrangements between carriers and shippers address acceptable wait times? Do these arrangements include penalties for delays attributable to a carrier or shipper?
  7. What actions by FMCSA, within its current statutory authority, would help to reduce loading, unloading, and delay times?

Comments on the request for information will be accepted until Sept. 9. To submit comments, you can enter Docket Number 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.

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.