The Battle of Detention Time

Seemingly since the beginning of time, drivers and shippers/receivers have been at odds with one another. Whether its drivers waiting hours to be loaded/unloaded or shippers/receivers waiting for a driver to arrive for their appointment, the feud has been ongoing for generations.

Will there ever be a winner? Probably not, but the issue has become increasingly more difficult for drivers, according to a study by the American Transportation Research Institute.

According to the ATRI’s 2018 study, just under 40 percent of drivers said that customers or shippers delayed their deliveries or pick-ups over 70 percent of the time. Drivers have long shared their frustrations with detention time caused by shippers and receivers, yet little has improved. 

In terms of detention duration, drivers experienced a significant increase in the percent of delays greater than two hours. According to the study, the most frequent waiting time for drivers is about 2 to 4 hours, which made up about 26 percent of drivers. 

Since the ATRI’s last study in 2014, there was also a 2 percent increase in drivers having to wait 6 or more hours, which now sits at 9.3 percent. If that trend is to continue, it would likely only increase tensions, as drivers continue to be affected financially. 

The situation only worsens for women drivers, as they’re 83.3 percent more likely than men to be delayed six or more hours according to the study. Where about 13 percent of men drivers wait for up to 30 minutes, women wait for the same time only 8 percent of the time.

Overall, about 55 percent of women drivers reported that shippers and receivers delay their appointments. Nevertheless, drivers who responded in the study made it clear that the discrepancy may not be due to discrimination. 

“I think male drivers have a shorter fuse than women do when it comes to waiting,” said one respondent. “I am less likely to go in and start drama and throw a fit because I’m not empty yet, as opposed to the guy next to me. A lot of my male driving friends become aggravated more quickly.” 

And that same sentiment is shared by a fellow female driver:

“I would say to my husband ‘let’s be patient and not go in yet because they are short-staffed,” she said. “And he would insist that we need to go in now because we had an appointment…I think it’s possible the people at shippers and receivers are yelled at more by men than by women.” 

Regardless of gender, everyone is ultimately affected most by detention due to facility delays. One of the biggest issues concerning delays is how they can affect a driver’s hours of service. 

79 percent of drivers who were surveyed said that facility delays were the primary factor impacting their ability to comply with hours of service regulations. The drivers also noted that detention time is by far the most significant factor in stopping them from complying. 

When it comes to detention time, the longer the driver is stopped, the more money they’re losing. And yes, they are able to receive compensation from detention time, but carriers rarely pay them their full amount owed. 

Racking up detention time may seem like a good idea financially for some drivers, but according to the study, 55.5. percent of carriers and 46.3 percent of drivers reported that detention fees are partially passed on to the driver. On the flip side, only 19.4 percent of carriers and 16.5 percent of drivers reported that all detention fees are passed on to drivers. 

Ultimately, drivers end up losing significant money from waiting for shippers and receivers to load or unload them. This is explicitly shown in the causes of delays, where drivers said that 30.6 percent of the time the issues are related to docking employees. 

In the end, the beef between shippers/receivers and drivers may well continue for generations to come. With the information released by the ATRI study, it seems as if things may not change anytime soon, and may even worsen. 

So what do you think? Are issues with shippers and receivers overblown or is it something that should be addressed as soon as possible? Let us know in the comments or on social media!

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