Proposed Legislation Suggests Fee For Excessive Idle Time at Loading Docks
A bill has been recently introduced into the national legislature by Peter DeFazio, Representative from Oregon, which has the potential to at the very least drastically alter the current problems being faced by all drivers. Namely, the difficulties imposed with the interactions between current Hours of Service laws and the idle time forced on drivers at the loading docks.
When asked about this legislation, DeFazio responded that, “Over the years I’ve heard anecdotes from truck drivers that detention time is a big problem and contributes significantly to inefficiencies in the supply chain productivity.” He added that, “I asked GAO [the Government Accountability Office,] to study detention time and quantify the results. It’s clear from the report that detaining truckers at loading docks is a significant problem that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration needs to regulate.”
His proposed legislation would require shippers and receivers to pay a detention fee for detaining drivers past an amount of time, as determined by the Department of Transportation (DOT), and even proposes civil penalties to shippers who fail to pay for unreasonable loading time waits.
Legislation for this has been a long time coming, as the GAO’s report has brought to light quite a few points to support such legislation, including the fact that almost seventy percent of drivers have been unreasonably detained over the past month. Of that substantial percentage, four fifths of those questioned responded that the aforementioned detention adversely affected not only their ability to meet Hours of Service requirements, and others reported that similar measures resulted in much loss of revenue. Given that current laws do not regulate drivers in the trucking industry by basic wage and hour laws, and that instead, HOS rules are in place to regulate maximum time on the job, the loss of miles driven due to excess waits causes massive difficulties to almost all of the drivers asked.