Federal agencies Hours of service Bus/limo/taxi Trucking Transportation

FMCSA requests CMV stakeholder input on driver ‘detention time’

Photo: jmoor17/iStockphoto

Washington — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is asking for stakeholder input on how detention – the time a commercial motor vehicle driver spends during loading and unloading – affects roadway safety.

According to a Request for Information published in the June 10 Federal Register, the agency is particularly interested in feedback on the following questions:

  • Is data currently available that can accurately record loading, unloading and delay times?
  • Is technology available that could record and delineate prompt loading and unloading times versus the extended delays sometimes experienced by drivers?
  • How can delay times be captured and recorded in a systematic, comparable manner?
  • 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?
  • What should FMCSA use as an estimate for reasonable loading/unloading time?
  • 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?
  • What actions by FMCSA, within its current statutory authority, would help to reduce loading, unloading and delay times?

The RFI stems from a series of research and reports regarding driver detention times. In January 2011, a report released by the Government Accountability Office concluded that excessive detention time could have an effect on drivers’ ability to perform within federal hours-of-service regulations. Almost four years later, an FMCSA study found that drivers experienced detention times during about 10% of their stops at an average duration of 1.4 hours “beyond a commonly accepted two-hour loading and unloading period.”

A 2018 audit conducted by the Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General found that detention times increased crash risks and 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.”

Advocacy group TruckerNation.org posted a video on its Facebook page July 8 encouraging CMV operators to comment on the RFI. “Every single driver out there has got an idea about” ways to curb loading, unloading and delay times, spokesperson Andrea Marks says in the video, adding that sharing these insights with fellow drivers or in online forums isn’t enough.

“Go over to regulations.gov and comment in a place where that information could actually move the regulatory dial, could actually spark a conversation between us as the people in the industry and the federal regulators about how we can fix this problem. This is huge!”

Comments on the RFI are due Sept. 9.

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