Truck Driver Detention

Driver Detention Continues to Be a Growing Trucking Industry Problem

Remember back in high school when you did something wrong and you got punished with detention? You had to spend an hour after classes stuck in a room – no talking, no doing homework, just sitting still. Or even worse, you had to come in on a Saturday morning and give up a chunk of your weekend. Well something similar applies to truckers.

When truck drivers get detention, it’s not because they did something wrong, but it can feel like a punishment. What exactly is driver detention? Driver detention is when a trucker arrives to a dock, whether to pick up a load or drop one off, and the shipper or receiver isn’t ready with manpower for loading or unloading and/or the necessary paperwork for the driver. Sometimes driver detention time can last up to six hours or more.

There is an industry standard that if a driver has to wait more than two hours in driver detention, they should get detention pay for their time. Detention pay is intended to help offset the driver’s excessive wait time, which can negatively affect their productivity and, naturally, their bottom line. According to the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), about 72.4% of carriers charged a detention fee between $50 and $99 per hour of prolonged detention.

Truck Detention Ranked #4 on ATRI Survey Report

Detention time in trucking has been a steadily growing problem, so much so that it ranked #4 of the top 10 issues detailed in ATRI’s 2019 Critical Issues in the Trucking Industry report. In that study, drivers indicated that detention delays clocking in at six or more hours have increased by 27.4% between 2014 and 2018.

Such steep detention wait times can have huge impacts on drivers complying with hours of service (HOS) rules, especially in the age of electronic logging devices (ELDs). It can also cause issues with finding authorized parking and could ultimately result in loss of earnings. A 2018 U.S. Department of Transportation audit report estimates that detention is linked to a $1.1-$1.3 billion reduction in annual earnings for truckers.

How Can Carriers Mitigate Truck Driver Detention Times?

So, what can carriers do to help mitigate truck driver detention times? Well, certainly a little bit of homework in researching shippers and receivers, particularly the situation at the dock they will be trekking into, could go a long way in avoiding getting caught in detention. What can a carrier look for to find optimal shipper and receiver customers? Drivers and carriers offered key customer practices they believed minimized detention delays in the 2019 Driver Detention Impacts on Safety and Productivity ATRI Survey:

  1. Better planning and better communication
  2. Better scheduling, extending hours, and keeping appointments
  3. Available space, equipment, and employees
  4. Drop and hook operation
  5. Better skilled employees

Time is money and knowledge is power. That’s especially true when talking about driver detention. Truckers and trucking companies should arm themselves with as much information as possible about their customers so that they don’t get caught in costly detentions.

Apex factoring clients get unlimited credit checks to make sure those potential customers are verified and ready to pay for your dedicated work. Are you ready to get paid fast for the loads you haul? Apex is ready to get you factoring. Visit our website or give us a call us at 855-369-2739.

Mario Tarradell is a Bilingual Communications Specialist at Apex Capital and for NextLOAD. He comes to Apex after a long career writing for daily newspapers. Mario enjoys telling stories about truckers, especially about the many aspects of the trucking industry that have the greatest impact on them personally and professionally. Mario believes that truckers are our lifelines, so he always wants to pay respect to the hard-working folks behind the wheel.