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DOT: Waiting at Loading Docks Costs Truckers Over $1 billion/Y

A new report from the Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General confirms that loading dock wait times hurting truck drivers and motor carriers in the pocketbook while also increasing the chances of collisions.

In a report entitled “Estimates Show Commercial Driver Detention Increases Crash Risks and Costs, but Current Data Limit Further Analysis”, the DOT estimates that waiting at loading docks reduces income by “$1.1 billion to $1.3 billion for for-hire commercial motor vehicle drivers in the truckload sector.” Detention time costs individual truck drivers between $1,281 and $1,534 per year, according to the report.

For-hire motor carriers are also losing an estimated $250.6 million to $302.9 million annually because of detention time.

The DOT also found that increased detention time is closely associated with an increased crash risk.

“We estimated that a 15-minute increase in average dwell time – the total time spent by a truck at a facility – increases the average expected crash rate by 6.2 percent.”

The DOT cautions its data is limited because “because most industry stakeholders measure only time spent at a shipper or receiver’s facility beyond the limit established in shipping contracts.”

Meanwhile, the report also finds that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s current plan to collect data on driver detention is insufficient to the point that any such data collected “may not accurately describe how the diverse trucking industry experiences driver detention, which would limit any further analysis of [detention’s] impacts.”

As reported by Heavy Duty Trucking:

As a result of the audit, the DOT Office of Inspector General is calling for FMCSA to “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 times.”

The report states that FMCSA has “concurred” with the recommendation of the DOT OIG that the agency should “improve future plans for collection of data on driver detention.” OIG also notes that the agency’s position on driver detention is that “shippers and carriers should address the issue among themselves without Government intervention because detention is primarily a market efficiency problem.”

After detailing what else it finds at fault with FMCSA’s current approach to quantifying this issue, the report wraps up sternly: “…. does not plan to standardize, validate, or analyze the data it intends to collect beyond publication of basic summary statistics. Consequently, FMCSA’s efforts are unlikely to advance understanding of the scope and effects of driver detention.”

The report adds that DOT’s estimates of the effects of increases in “dwell time relied on dwell time data from 2013. Still, the magnitude of our estimates indicates that detention time is costly and increases safety risks.”

The full report can be accessed by clicking here

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