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  • Writer's pictureLFS

Trucking Detention For Owner Operators

Trucking company owners and truck drivers are forced to deal daily with“

trucking company detention

” Or the wait time they are dealing with to get loaded. Freight brokers will book a load with a trucking company and the driver will show up to the shipper to get loaded. This wait time of getting loaded turns into “detention after the waiting period has exceeded more than 2 hours. Today trucking company’s are battling thousands of dollars’ worth of lost pay due to “detention “and not getting paid.

Who is affected by DETENTION?

Trucker detention refers to a delay that occurs while in pick up or destination delivery. For trucker detention to occur, the delay must be more than the agreed free time. In most cases, truckers provide two hours of free time at the time of pick-up, and two hours for unloading. We are seeing today that in many cases the brokers are not paying the trucking company for detention in fear of changing their rates to the shipper. If a broker asks the shipper for more money due to detention, they are in fear of losing the contract. The end result is the trucking company loosing costly time and income for the delays. We have seen recently many trucking company’s being in detention for 12 hours and not being paid a dime.

What is the purpose of Detention?

The purpose of a “trucker detention” or “waiting time” charge is to compensate the trucker for being held in situations where they would have to wait until the job is finished. The time it takes to get loaded or unloaded is nof effecting the HOS rules for the driver and can lead to lost loads. If a driver is held for to long, he will not be able to make it to the next load without his 10 hour break.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), trucker detention costs the trucking industry more than $4 billion annually in lost time and productivity. Additionally, after the implementation of the ELD Mandate*, this cost is expected to rise each year, as truckers are now GPS-tracked to maintain labor time limits.

What is Fair Compensation For Detention?

Many truckers will charge $50.00 an hour or more after 2 hours of free time. Most are reporting to not even get half of this fee if they are lucky. The question becomes what is “fair compensation” and how can a driver or carrier be sure they receive it? The second part is still a mystery to many, especially small fleets and owner-operators without the leverage to play against a larger shipper. Social media is filled with drivers who say they just leave if they don’t get the detention pay and stories of companies that refuse to deliver the load. How effective these strategies are is difficult to tell, but it can work. At the end of the day, Brokers must work with the shippers to make sure fair compensation is provided. Trucking companies cannot sit idling for 12 hours for free.

Securing Detention Pay ?

The first step to collecting detention pay remains a written contract. Hauling contracts should include provisions for detention pay as it will provide a legal standing for you to collect the penalty. Detention fees per hour should be specified. Trucking Company Owners must remind their drivers to get time stamped in when arriving to the shipper and time stamped out. Without this the detention is lost.


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