Truck Driver Compensation and Detention Time Study by FMCSA.

Truck Driver Compensation and Detention Time Study by FMCSA

Truck Driver News – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has embarked on two critical studies to address market failures and enhance safety within the trucking industry. These studies, focusing on driver compensation and detention time, are pivotal steps toward understanding and mitigating challenges faced by truck drivers and the broader transportation sector. In a presentation at the Mid-America Trucking Show on March 30, the FMCSA shared updates on these studies, emphasizing their commitment to improving safety and market fairness.

Driver Compensation Study

The driver compensation study, mandated by Congress as part of the 2021 infrastructure law, is a response to concerns over the impact of various compensation methods on driver safety and retention. The study, overseen by the Transportation Research Board, explores the effects of compensation methods such as hourly pay, payment for detention time, and other industry-standard payment models.

Key Points:

  1. The Study Progress: Initiated with a closed session meeting in November, the study has seen meetings in January and March, comprising both public and closed sessions. The FMCSA intends to conduct at least six meetings before concluding the study.

  2. Concerns About Pay-By-The-Mile: Tom Weakley of the OOIDA Foundation highlighted the drawbacks of the pay-by-the-mile compensation system, asserting that it costs drivers money and poses safety risks. The study aims to address such concerns and recommend improvements.

  3. Expected Completion: The driver compensation study is expected to conclude in July 2024, culminating in a formal report with recommendations to Congress. These recommendations are eagerly anticipated as they will likely influence future legislation regarding driver compensation.

Detention Time Study

The detention time study represents a comprehensive effort to evaluate and address the prevalence of detention time within the trucking industry. Detention time, when drivers are delayed at shipping and receiving facilities has been a persistent concern for truckers.

Key Objectives:

  1. Data Collection: The study aims to collect data on driver detention time across various segments of the motor carrier industry, determining its frequency and severity.

  2. Technology Assessment: It assesses the use of existing intelligent transportation systems technology solutions to measure detention time effectively.

  3. Recommendations: The study will result in a final report summarizing findings, addressing research questions, and proposing strategies to reduce detention times, ultimately benefiting drivers and the industry.

The Significance of the Study:

Detention time has long been a concern within the trucking industry, with the 2018 report by the Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) highlighting its adverse effects on crash risks and costs. The report recommended collaboration with industry stakeholders to collect reliable data on detention time.

Key Findings:

  1. Increased Crash Risks: OIG’s report revealed that a 15-minute increase in detention time raised the expected crash rate by 6.2%.

  2. Costs to Drivers: Detention time costs for-hire truck drivers between $1.1 and $1.3 billion each year, according to OIG’s findings.

  3. Lost Wages: An OOIDA Foundation survey found that drivers lose up to $1,500 each week due to uncompensated detention time, amounting to a significant financial burden.

  4. Economic Impact: FMCSA’s presentation highlighted that detention time accounted for up to $1.3 billion in lost wages and as much as $6.5 billion in driving time.

The FMCSA’s commitment to conducting these studies is a positive step toward addressing longstanding issues within the trucking industry. By delving into driver compensation and detention time, the agency aims to shed light on “micro market failures” and reduce barriers to driver efficiency and safety. As the studies progress and their recommendations are presented to Congress, there is hope for positive changes that will benefit truck drivers and improve highway safety and the overall functioning of the transportation sector. Ultimately, the success of these studies could lead to a safer, more equitable future for the trucking industry.


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