FMCSA Seeking Your Comments To “Better Understand Driver Detention Times”

Washington D.C. – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced it is seeking more data on the growing detention problem.

In a Request For Information (RFI) announcement, FMCSA said it is seeking more information “to better understand driver detention times during the loading and unloading of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) and the potential impact of such delays on roadway safety.”

FMCSA said it is issuing the RFI because, “a recent study by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Office of Inspector General found that better data are needed to fully understand the issues associated with driver detention.”


A 2011 study by the Office of Inspector General prompted FMCSA to conduct its own analysis of the worsening detention issue and how it was contributing to hours of service (HOS) violations and increasing crash risk.

In response, FMCSA then conducted a study.

The results of that study found that drivers experienced detention time during approximately 10% of their stops for an average duration of 1.4 hours beyond a “commonly accepted” two-hour loading and unloading period.

However, FMCSA said 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).

FMCSA said this is a “critical data gap in our understanding of the detention issue.”


What Questions Is FMCSA Asking?

1. Are data currently available that can accurately record loading, unloading, and delay times?

2. Is there technology available that could record and delineate prompt loading and unloading times versus the extended delays sometimes experienced by drivers?

3. How can delay times be captured and recorded in a systematic, comparable manner?

4. 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?

5. What should FMCSA use as an estimate of reasonable loading/unloading time? Please provide a basis for your response.

6. 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?

7. What actions by FMCSA, within its current statutory authority, would help to reduce loading, unloading, and delay times?


How Long Will The Comment Period Be?

FMCSA said it will publish this RFI into the Federal Register on June 10, 2019.

Those desiring to comment will have 90 days from the time it is published to do so.

You are encouraged to make your comment by visiting and following the public comment protocol.

For more information or to read the entire RFI, click HERE.
(Image courtesy of Western Storage and Handling)




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