Diminishing Driver Detention

November 23rd, 2016 by

Truck drivers move freight to make money. When that process comes to a stop, everyone involved suffers. Driver detention leads to delivery delays, fees, and lost productivity for the driver due to safety requirements.

The Driver Detention Problem

Driver detention is when either the shipper or receiver holds a truck. There are all sorts of things that can lead to this decision, but the results are the same: lost productivity and increased costs. The longer the wait time, the more the involved parties are affected.


According to a survey by the DAT, more than 54% of drivers reported being held at the dock for 3-4 hours for either loading or unloading. Another 37% said they were kept for 1-2 hours, and 9% were stuck for 5 or more. Considering that there are more than 3 million truckers in the nation, this is a significant amount of wasted time.


Reducing Detention

There are several ways to cut back on detention times and in turn increase efficiency. Planning ahead and trying out new strategies is always beneficial. Experts recommend:

  1. Outlining driver detention within the carrier/shipper and carrier/receiver contracts. There should be a pay agreement that focuses on encouraging shipper efficiency, rather than simply taking more money. Overdrive has recently argued that $64 an hour is fair.
  1. Adopting a TMS, or transportation management system. With this software, shippers can schedule delivery appointments. They can check in based on location so that the shipper or receiver is prepared for the arrival.
  1. Allotting the correct time for each delivery. Certain content or containers will simply be more time consuming than others. When possible, there should always be a time allowance to make accommodations.
  1. Working with drivers to encourage early arrival. It doesn’t matter how much planning goes into the appointment if the driver isn’t there on time. Truckers should be ready to enter the dock 15 minutes before the scheduled time so that they can be ready to change loads.
  1. Fostering better communication. When carriers, shippers, and receivers work together, it’s best for everyone. They’ll all be on the same page and able to make any necessary adaptations instead of being left in the dark. Many freight brokers are beginning to take on these responsibilities to improve the experience for everyone.

If companies work together with each other and their freight brokers, America could enjoy a noticeable increase in efficiency and speed for our trucking industry.


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