Survey: 80% of truck drivers blame detention for HOS compliance issues

Dive Brief:

  • Detention, or delays at a shipper’s facility, are the number one reason drivers cited for running out of available driving hours, impacting their ability to comply with hours of service regulations, according to a survey conducted by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) in 2014 and 2018. In 2014, nearly 83% of respondents said they ran out of available hours as a result of detention. This dipped slightly in 2018 to 79%.
  • Respondents cited slow dock workers or understaffed facilities as the number one shipper action causing delays in 2014 and 2018. “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,” reads an ATRI report on the survey results.

    The third most commonly cited issue was shippers overbooking appointments.

  • Almost 80% of respondents across both years reported collecting fees from shippers for detention that was considered “excessive,” with a plurality of respondents defining excessive as a delay lasting more than two hours.

Matt Leonard / Supply Chain Dive, data from ATRI

Dive Insight:

The survey found detention did not impact the different trucking segments equally. Refrigerated trailers were the most likely to report having delays of more than four hours. More than a third of refrigerated respondents in 2018 said they experienced delays of four or more hours.

At least one respondent, a truck driver, told the surveyors they avoided refrigerated trailers because they had a reputation for long wait times at shipper facilities. There was also an increase in the percentage of respondents in the refrigerated segment who reported long delays, of four or more hours, growing from 30% in 2014 to almost 37% in 2018. Results were also split by driver’s gender.

Female drivers in the 2018 survey were more likely to experience long wait times. “Male drivers who check in more frequently or express more consternation than women appear likely to be loaded/unloaded sooner,” the report noted. Female drivers are also more likely to drive reefer trailers, which could contribute to the difference, the survey found. Shippers with better organization, planning and communication were able to increase their efficiency and minimize delays, carrier and driver respondents said.

This, along with better scheduling and extended hours, were considered by a majority of respondents to be strategies for reducing delays. “The factors reported as causing the delays were almost identical between the two surveys, meaning the same causes were listed in both surveys at almost the same rate of response,” ATRI wrote. “This implies that shipping and receiving facilities have made little to no improvements to run more efficiently across the four-year time period.” Companies like Uber Freight and KeepTruckin are trying to provide more visibility into wait times for drivers.

Uber Freight is providing facility ratings that include wait times along with other variables like parking and bathroom access.

While these ratings will help drivers understand where they might have to wait longer, they will also help shippers understand what changes they might need to make to bring drivers to their facility.

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