Company has collected 43,000 signatures of those hoping to provide drivers more flexibility when detained
Back in November, KeepTruckin launched a petition drive asking FMCSA to provide a 2-hour exemption for long-haul drivers delayed at a shipper. The exemption would allow the driver to essentially stop their 14-hour clock for up to 2 hours and take that time as off-duty time, giving the driver 16 hours to complete their day.
That petition has collected more than 43,000 signatures to date.
“The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s stated mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle related fatalities and injuries. The hours-of-service rules are critical to realizing that goal, however there is one requirement for property carrying drivers that does not serve its intended purpose and fails to reflect the reality of life on the road — the 14-hour limit that prohibits driving after the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty,” the company said.
The company, which provides ELDs, said it conducted research on data collected and found that drivers who are detained at a shipper or receiver facility drive an average of 3.5 mph faster following an “extended detention event” of at least 2 hours in an effort to make up for lost time. Seventy-five percent of drivers suffer such an event as least once a week and 35% must wait at least 6 hours once a week on average. In all, drivers are faced with seven extended detention events per month.
The survey also found that 81% of drivers feel pressured to make it to their next stop on time and 32% admitted driving faster after being detained.
The petition came about because the company believes that while the 14-hour rule is intended to reduce fatigue and fatigue-related accidents, it is actually having an adverse effect as drivers try to make up for lost time.
In 2016, DAT Solutions conducted a detention survey of 257 carriers and 50 brokers and found that 63% of drivers spent more than three hours at a shipper’s dock waiting to get loaded or unloaded. Of those carriers that responded, 54% said detention times of three to four hours were typical and 9% said five hours or more was common. A full 84% said that detention is among their top-5 business problems. Brokers had a different perspective, though, with just 20% saying that detention was among their top-5 problems.
Carriers are rarely paid for detention, the survey found, leading to the issues that KeepTruckin is seeking to address: drivers speeding trying to make up for lost time.
“Driver detention is an urgent issue that must be addressed by our industry,” Don Thornton, senior vice president at DAT Solutions, said in the survey release. “It’s a matter of fairness. Many shippers and receivers are lax about their dock operations, but it’s the carriers and drivers who are forced to pay for that inefficiency.”
Travis Baskin, head of regulatory affairs for KeepTruckin, tells FreightWaves the petition is moving forward and that the company hopes to “engage the government in meaningful ways going forward.”
The company’s data experts are continuing to collect data and are reviewing that regularly, Baskin says, looking for safety-related information to make definitive determinations on overall safety in each hour of work, i.e. are drivers no less safe in hours 15 and 16 than they are in hours 10 and 11. The data sets are also bringing in information on locations that regularly detain drivers. That information may or may not be published at some point, but it will be used to bolster engagement with the government on reforming hours of service.
“We don’t want to be making accusations that are not grounded in fact,” Baskin says, adding that the ultimate goal is to “have a driver’s day dictated by the driver.”
Any meaningful change, though, will likely require a rethinking of hours-of-service rules.
“The rules that we operate on were based on studies that couldn’t take [accounts for] the technology we have now,” Baskin notes.
KeepTruckin will continue to collect signatures for the 16-hour exemption with the hope to soon submit it to FMCSA to start a dialogue. In the meantime, most reaction to the idea has been positive, Baskin says.
“Frankly, there has been some mixed response, but largely the bulk of the responses have been positive,” he says. The industry is learning that “hours of service doesn’t work in the real work [in some cases] and ELDs are helping to expose some of that.”
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