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Detention Time Is Hurting the Trucking Industry

Detention time is causing huge problems for truckers and the trucking industry.  What is detention time?  Well, driving isn't the only part of the workday.  Once they arrive to their destinations, truckers must also spend time waiting for their trucks to be unloaded and loaded before they can continue their work.  Ideally, when the truck arrives, it's unloaded, reloaded, and the truck leaves without delay.  However, that's not the case.  There's a term in the trucking industry called "dwell time," which refers to the total amount of time a trucker spends at a shipper, which includes the time it takes to unload and reload the truck.  "Detention time" refer to the rest of that time.

Why is detention time such a problem?  Waiting around is a normal part of working.  Plus, most workers get paid during that time.  Unfortunately, this isn't the case for truckers. Truckers only get paid for the time they spend on the road, which means that hours spent waiting around is wasted time.  Unloading and reloading a truck can take several hours and detention time can increase that total even more.  This cost truckers between an estimated $1,281 and $1,534 in income per year, which translates to an estimated $1.1B to $1.3B lost by the trucking industry in revenue every year.

Detention time causes more problems for the trucking industry than just lost income.  Truckers can only work 14 hours every day before they must rest for ten consecutive hours.  Out of that 14 hours, they can only drive for eleven of them.  Detention time cuts into this time and can cause truckers to exercise risky behavior, like speeding, in order to make it up.  This behavior could result in an accident and cause a lot of damage.

So, what can be done?  Unfortunately, there's no way to eliminate detention time but there are several solutions that may help.  First, detention time could be excluded from the workday, allowing truckers more time to complete their work.  Second, because of the recent tax cuts, companies could pay truckers for dwell time, relieving some of the pressure on them to complete their hauls before they must rest.  Finally, shippers could hire more people so that trucks can be unloaded and reloaded more quickly, which should help cut down on detention time.

For more information about the trucking industry or if you have any questions, please contact us.


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