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Of all of the possible things that you might imagine contribute to the possibility of a truck accident, would you believe that it’s the time a driver spends waiting at the loading dock?

The term “detention time” is used to describe time truck drivers lose while they’re waiting for a big rig to be loaded at the shipping facility or unloaded at a receiving facility. The standard industry practice allocates two hours per end for a standard shipment. Any other time spent waiting is detention time.

Detention time is problematic for a number of reasons — most of which feed into each other. In general, detention time costs the nation’s drivers somewhere between $250.6 million and $302.9 million per year in lost income — although the true figure may be a lot higher. However, the real problem with detention time is that it also increases the likelihood that a driver will end up in an accident. Just a 15-minute increase in the amount of time that a driver spends in a loading or unloading station raises the odds of a wreck by 6.2 percent. Every 5 percent increase in detention time results in about the same increase in accident rates.

Experts say that drivers are often pushed past the limits of their physical endurance by uncompensated detention time. Delays cause drivers to risk working when they’re tired — rather than lose income. They may also violate hour laws or speed in order to make up lost time.

Various government agencies have taken note of the problem and are discussing various solutions, including fining shippers for excessive detention or encouraging companies to pay drivers for their detention time. For now, however, the issue is likely to remain a problem into the foreseeable future.

If you’re involved in a trucking accident due to a driver’s negligence, make sure that you find out more about your right to compensation for your losses. If a loved one is killed in a truck accident, it may be possible to get justice through a civil action.