DOT: Waiting at loading docks increases crash rate, costs truck drivers over $1 billion per year

A new report from the Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General found that loading dock wait times are hitting truck drivers and motor carriers hard financially — while also significantly increasing their chances for a crash. In a report released on January 31, 2018, entitled “Estimates Show Commercial Driver Detention Increases Crash Risks and Costs, but Current Data Limit Further Analysis“, the DOT finds that detention time is putting a heavy financial burden on both truck drivers and motor carriers. What Waiting At Loading Docks Is Costing Trucking. The report estimates that waiting at loading docks reduces income by “$1.1 billion to $1.3 billion for for-hire commercial motor vehicle drivers in the truckload sector.” Detention time costs individual truck drivers between $1,281 and $1,534 per year, according to the report. For-hire motor carriers are also losing an estimated $250.6 million to $302.9 million annually because of detention time. Detention Time Associated With Increased Crash Risk.  What is perhaps even more worrisome is the DOT’s finding that increased detention time is closely associated with an increased crash risk. From the report: “We estimated that a 15-minute increase in average dwell time—the total time spent by a truck at a facility—increases the average expected crash rate by 6.2 percent.” Not only does detention time increase fatigue, but it can also “cause frustration and reduced income and may contribute to dangerous behaviors such as speeding and violations of (hours of service) requirements,” according to the report.The DOT admits that the accuracy of their data is limited because “because most industry stakeholders measure only time spent at a shipper or receiver’s facility beyond the limit established in shipping contracts.” That is to say, most truckers and carriers only start counting detention time once a driver is detained past the industry-standard two hour mark.