Hurry up and wait! It’s an apt old military phrase that succinctly sums up the joys of detention time.
On-duty time spent waiting around a loading dock can seriously affect your day, slowly eating away at your available hours.
Every extra few minutes is another couple of miles you could have driven. When you get shorted on your hours it forces you to run even harder in an effort to make up for lost time. This unnecessary pressure can lead to driver fatigue, going outside your hours of service, and making you more of a risk on the highways.
On top of that, you could also be left out of pocket. Not all shippers are prepared to pay detention charges and rely on the fact there are many small independents out there they can take advantage of. Carriers can even use the driver’s time as a bargaining chip for a lower rate with shippers and when they do bill for detention time they don’t pass any compensation on to the driver.
In this industry, with its tight truck capacities and shortage of drivers, your value continues to increase. With the adoption of ELD, the value of your time is also going to increase.
Like any driver, you want to be compensated for all your time. Being forced to operate more rigidly with hours of service makes a strong case for mandatory detention pay.
By creating an irrefutable record of your hours, ELD provides the justification for detention time charges. Market forces will dictate that shippers will have to have a faster turnaround to get you on your way or they are going to have to pay for the privilege of you sitting there. With everyone having to strictly adhere to hours of service you may end up driving fewer hours in a day, but you will have to be compensated.
Drivers have been given the short end of the stick for years when it comes to detention times. Along with the difference ELDs can make, there is also a proposal from the DOT to make detention pay mandatory for drivers. Once shippers and carriers start having to foot that bill, just watch how fast those trucks get loaded and unloaded.