Unpaid detention time negatively affects safety, survey shows

February 20, 2019

Mark Schremmer


Results from a recent OOIDA Foundation survey found that many truck drivers believe unpaid detention time is an issue that affects safety as well as their finances.

The research arm of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association surveyed more than 1,250 truckers about the period of time when a driver is not paid while waiting to be loaded or unloaded. The OOIDA Foundation released a one-pager on the topic in January.

“Many … felt that detention time not only impacted their financial livelihood but that it also negatively impacted safety on the roadways,” the OOIDA Foundation wrote. “As one member stated, ‘this is one of the biggest issues affecting hours of service and safety. Drivers encountering unexpected long detention, feel forced to drive faster, harder, and longer to make up for perceived lost time.”

According to the survey, 18 percent of drivers said they do not receive detention pay and only 29 percent said they receive it on all loads.

“A majority of both those who operate under the 60-hour, seven-day rule, and those who operate under the 70-hour, eight-day rule spend between 11 and 20 hours each week waiting to load or unload their truck,” the Foundation wrote. “In other words, those complying with the 60-hour rule spend approximately 18 to 33 percent of their possible drive time in detention, while those complying with the 70-hour rule spend 16 to 29 percent of their drive time in detention.”

Based on those statistics, drivers could lose $1,200 to $2,200 per week in detention time. A majority of the drivers in the survey suggested that the number of hours-of-service violations and overall safety would improve if drivers were paid for all of their time working.

“From financial issues to hours-of-service inflexibilities, unpaid detention time creates an incentive for some carriers to bend the rules, thereby affecting safety, in order to support their families and remain in business,” the Foundation wrote.