FMCSA Study Looks at Drivers’ Detention Time

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced Aug. 23 that it will submit an Information Collection Request (ICR) for data on detention times for a study that will focus on how wait times at shipping and receiving locations affect driver safety.

The study will help determine not only the frequency and severity of detention time but also the potential to use existing intelligent transportation systems (ITS) solutions to measure detention time. Approximately 80 carriers and 2,500 CMV drivers will provide data in the study, according to the IRC.

Although FMCSA hasn’t specifically defined detention time, trucking industry, government, and academic detention research projects have typically used dwell time — the total amount of time spent at a facility — that exceeds two hours. Detention time is a longstanding issue and consistently ranks as one of the top problems for a large portion of truck drivers because detention time often results in lost revenue for many drivers and carriers.

Reducing detention time may reduce costs for carriers, increase pay for drivers, and improve drivers’ ability to make deliveries on time or arrive at a destination as planned without violating hours of service (HOS) requirements.

A detention time study conducted by FMCSA in 2014 provided “valuable initial insights” but “had several limitations, including a small sample of mostly large carriers, a rudimentary estimation of detention time, the inability to identify time spent loading/unloading and data that did not cover an entire 12-month period,” FMCSA officials stated. “Therefore, FMCSA needs additional data from a broader sample of carriers to understand the safety and operational impact of detention time, to better understand why detention time occurs, and to identify potential mitigation strategies the CMV industry may use to reduce detention time while improving operational efficiencies and safety.”

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