Federal agencies Trucking Transportation

FMCSA to study impact of detention time on trucker safety

Photo: jmoor17/iStockphoto

Washington — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration wants to study the safety impact of the time that truck drivers spend waiting for cargo to be loaded and unloaded.

That lag, often in excess of two hours, is known as “detention time.” In an Information Collection Request published Aug. 24, FMCSA states that “drivers who experience less detention time may be more likely to drive safely to reach their destinations within the [federal hours-of-service] limits and less likely to operate beyond HOS limits and improperly log their driving and duty time to make deliveries on time.”

The agency intends to collect data on driver detention time from about 80 motor carriers and 2,500 drivers – “representative of the major segments” of the trucking industry. FMCSA will then analyze that data to determine the frequency and severity of detention time and assess the “utility of existing intelligent transportation systems solutions” to measure detention time. A 2014 FMCSA study of detention time had “several limitations,” the notice states, including:

  • A small sample of mostly large carriers
  • A rudimentary estimation of detention time
  • An inability to identify time spent loading/unloading
  • Data that didn’t cover an entire 12-month period

“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 commercial motor vehicle industry may use to reduce detention time while improving operational efficiencies and safety,” the notice states.

Comments are due Oct. 23.

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