Study Shows Truckers Waiting Longer

A new analysis on truck driver detention at customer facilities released earlier this week by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) found that between 2014 and 2018, detention frequency and length increased with negative impacts on driver productivity, regulatory compliance and compensation.

According to the analysis, drivers reported more frequent pickup and delivery delays in 2018 compared with 2014, and said waits of six hours or more jumped 27.4% last year over the earlier survey.

Other key findings of the analysis, which is based on more than 1,900 truck driver and motor carrier surveys conducted in 2014 and 2018, include:

  • Female drivers were 83.3% more likely than men to be delayed six or more hours.

  • There was a nearly 40% increase in drivers who reported that the majority of their pick-ups and deliveries were delayed over the past 12 months due to customer actions.

  • The average excessive detention fee per hour charged by fleets was $63.71, slightly less than the average per hour operating cost of $66.65 found in ATRI’s Operational Costs of Trucking.

  • The negative impact of detention on carrier revenue and driver compensation may be greater among smaller fleets (<50 power units) with 20% reporting that they do not charge for excessive detention in order to stay competitive with larger fleets.

When asked what actions caused delays, drivers in both surveys said that the greatest number of delays are dock-employee related – 30.6% in 2018 and 32.3% in 2014, Drivers also provided a plethora of negative comments – lazy, slow, apathetic, taking too many breaks – to describe dock workers at customer facilities, in addition to facilities constantly being understaffed.

The ATRI survey found that truckers are spending more time waiting at the loading dock, leading to delays that cut into earnings of trucking companies and drivers.

The ATRI survey found that truckers are spending more time waiting at the loading dock, leading to delays that cut into earnings of trucking companies and drivers.

Secondly, almost one in five drivers complained that their preloaded trucks were not ready by the time of their appointment, products were not ready, or were still being manufactured.

The third most common complaint in both driver surveys pertained to shippers and receivers overbooking appointments, booking more trucks than there are space/docks, and not having enough equipment to load and unload trucks.

Given the strict federal hours-of-service (HOS) regulations drivers must comply with, the impact of detention on drivers’ available on-duty hours was a key examination point of this study. When drivers are detained at a customer facility, they are losing on-duty, revenue-generating time. According to the report, facility delays are the number one factor identified by motor carriers as impacting drivers’ ability to comply with HOS regulations, followed closely by customer pick-up and delivery requirements.

The report also documents recommended practices that drivers and carriers believe will improve efficiency and reduce detention at customer facilities.

A copy of this report is available on the ATRI website.

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