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Detention Time Dilemma: Truckers Speak Out on Road Safety Risks

Updated: Nov 12, 2023

In the world of logistics and

transportation, the clock is always ticking. For truckers, time is not just money; it's a crucial element that impacts safety on our highways. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) plays a pivotal role in regulating the trucking industry, but there's a pressing concern that truckers are urgently addressing: detention time. In this article, we will delve into the significance of detention time, its impact on safety, and why it's imperative for the FMCSA to take action.

Unpacking Detention Time

Detention time refers to the hours that truck drivers spend waiting at shipping and receiving facilities to load or unload their cargo. It's essentially the ticking clock when a truck is parked, not moving, and not making money. While some wait times are inevitable due to the nature of the industry, excessive detention time is a persistent issue that truckers and the FMCSA are grappling with.

Safety on the Line

Detention time isn't merely an inconvenience; it directly affects the safety of our roads. Here's how:

  1. Driver Fatigue: When truckers are stuck waiting for hours on end, it leads to increased driver fatigue. Fatigued drivers are more prone to accidents, posing a risk not only to themselves but to everyone on the road.

  2. Rushed Deliveries: To make up for lost time, drivers may be tempted to speed or cut corners to meet delivery deadlines. This compromises safety standards and can lead to accidents and violations.

  3. Mental Stress: Prolonged detention time creates immense mental stress for truckers, affecting their concentration and decision-making abilities, both critical for safe driving.

The Plea to FMCSA

Truckers are urging the FMCSA to address detention time as a safety issue. Here are their key concerns:

1. Regulatory Reforms: Truckers are calling for stricter regulations and enforcement of detention time limits at shipping and receiving facilities. Clear guidelines and penalties for exceeding these limits can deter delays.

2. Data Collection: Improved data collection and reporting can shed light on facilities with chronic detention time problems. This transparency can motivate facilities to reduce wait times.

3. Incentives for Efficiency: Truckers propose incentives for facilities that efficiently manage their loading and unloading processes. This can create a win-win situation for both truckers and the industry.

4. Technology Integration: Embracing technology can help streamline processes and reduce detention time. Electronic logging devices (ELDs) and appointment scheduling systems are a step in the right direction.


The safety of our highways should be a paramount concern for the FMCSA. Detention time, as highlighted by truckers, is a pivotal issue that demands immediate attention. By addressing the concerns of truckers and implementing reforms to reduce detention time, the FMCSA can significantly enhance safety on our roads. It's not just about saving time and money; it's about saving lives. As we move forward, the onus is on the FMCSA to prioritize safety and work collaboratively with the trucking industry to optimize efficiency and protect all those who share the road.

Abby Willroth is a NAADAC-qualified Substance Abuse Professional located in Central Arkansas. "If you have questions concerning the DOT Alcohol & Drug Testing Regulation, the Role of a SAP or the Return-To-Duty process, "ASK A SAP!"

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views, policies, or opinions of safety-sensitive employees operating under the FMCSA's jurisdiction or the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The content provided here is for informational and educational purposes only. Readers are encouraged to refer to the official channels of the FMCSA for accurate and up-to-date information on related topics.

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