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What Does Detention Mean For The Trucking Industry?

Tags: Insider, Detention

What is Detention

Tired of detention? Growing frustrated at the confusion it causes? Or the loss of payment? Detention is aggravating at best, and costly at worst. With it being such a thorn in the side of the trucking industry, it can be important to learn more about it and how it can affect you.

What is Detention?

Detention occurs whenever a driver is held, or detained, at a loading dock for longer than necessary.

Generally, a carrier negotiated a free time period, which is a set amount of time set aside for the pickup and delivery. This time is typically set to be two hours.

As most drivers are paid by the mile, even these two hours can cut into wages. This can also cut into driving time for drivers due to hours of service. Since drivers can only use 11 hours of their 14-hour day, expecting loading to take four hours for loading seems to be unnecessarily wasteful.

How Can It Affect Drivers?

If you are a driver, the effects of detention are more apparent, and more personal for you.

Detentions can increase the risk of crashing, cut into your wages, and waste driving time. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has done several studies into the effects detention has on trucking. For instance, in a 2001 study the FMCSA found a positive correlation between amount of time spent in docks, and crash involvement. This is not insignificant, as the study stated even a 15 minute increase in total time spent by a truck at a facility increases average expected crash rate by 6.2%.

So, not only can a prolonged detention hurt your wallet, it can also increase the chance of personal injury to you. Another FMCSA study in 2012 and 2013 found drivers were detained at least one in every ten stops, and at an average of a total of 1.4 hour over the 2 hours free time period.

These drawn out loading procedures affect both wages, and the drivers ability to get other loads.

How Are Carriers Affected?

For carriers, detentions can ruin your finances, stall your business, and potentially take clients away from you. Detention is such a widespread issue, the annual cost to carriers in the trucking industry reduces net income by $250.6 million to $302.9 million. Since detention can typically eat up two hours of the day, it takes away from a driver’s driving time. This in turn can cause drivers to miss loads, or not be able to pick up new ones. There are plenty of anecdotal stories about times detention has caused carriers and drivers to miss out on money.

What Does Detention Mean For The Trucking Industry?

For the trucking industry, detention is a billion-dollar problem. Another FMCSA study showcased this and revealed society would gain a net benefit of $6.6 billion annually if detention times were reduced by 30 minutes. And that is only at one third of all stops. Just in the trucking industry, detentions cost $3 billion annually. With such high stakes, it can be understood why detention gets the attention it does.

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