The agency is “interested in data sources, methodologies and potential technologies” that could give insight into loading and unloading delays.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is seeking public comment on driver detention times during the loading and unloading of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) and the potential impacts of the delays on roadway safety.
“FMCSA is interested in data sources, methodologies and potential technologies that could provide insight into loading and unloading delays experienced by CMV drivers,” the agency said in a notice published in Monday’s Federal Register.
FMCSA is seeking public comment, due on or before Sept. 9, on the following questions:
• Are data currently available that can accurately record loading, unloading and delay times?
• Is there technology available that could record and delineate prompt loading and unloading times versus the extended delays sometimes experienced by drivers?
• How can delay times be captured and recorded in a systematic, comparable manner?
• Could systematic collection and publication of loading, unloading and delay times be useful in driver or carrier business decisions and help to reduce loading, unloading and delay times?
• What should FMCSA use as an estimate of reasonable loading/unloading time?
• How do contract arrangements between carriers and shippers address acceptable wait times? Do these arrangements include penalties for delays attributable to a carrier or shipper?
• What actions by FMCSA, within its current statutory authority, would help to reduce loading, unloading and delay times?
A study issued by the Transportation Department’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) in January 2018 estimated a 15-minute increase in average dwell time increased the crash rate by 6.2%. OIG also estimated that detention is associated in an annual reduction of earnings of $1.1 billion to $1.3 billion for for-hire CMV drivers in the truckload sector and annual reductions in net income of $250.6 million to $302.9 million for motor carriers in the sector.
FMCSA sponsored a study released in 2014 — in response to a 2011 report by the Government Accountability Office —that found “drivers experienced detention times during about 10% of their stops for an average duration of 1.4 hours beyond a commonly accepted two-hour loading and unloading period,” according to the notice.
“Although the above referenced studies estimated overall wait times, they were not able to separate normal loading and unloading times (e.g., the time it would usually take to load and unload a CMV under typical schedules) from detention time (delays in the start of the loading and unloading process which disrupt the driver’s available driving and/or on-duty time),” the notice reads. “This is a critical data gap in our understanding of the detention issue.”
The House Highways and Transit Subcommittee is scheduled to hold a hearing on the state of trucking in America at 10 a.m. Wednesday.