Uncompensated detention: Owner-operator challenge No. 3

| August 06, 2012

At the February meeting of the FMCSA’s Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee, discussion veered away from EOBRs and driver harassment as Jane Mathis of Parents Against Tired Truckers identified what she said was the “elephant in the room.” The unspoken need concerning “electronic logs is to prevent fraudulent use of written logs,” she said. “We know there are drivers who drive way in excess of 11 [hours] and adjust their logs accordingly.”

Todd Spencer, OOIDA’s executive vice president, objected. “The elephant in the room is the time spent loading and unloading,” he said. “It’s never captured, it’s never accounted for.”

FMCSA has occasionally acknowledged the problem. Administrator Anne Ferro has used “the bully pulpit,” as she said as recently as June, to influence shippers’ awareness of the need to account for excessive delays at docks.

At the April FMCSA listening session on the subject of EOBRs and harassment, Landstar-leased owner-operator George Sherveny echoed many when he urged FMCSA to go beyond “research” into the problem. “I believe it is important for FMCSA to formulate regulations that prevent this kind of harassment.”

Independents should negotiate detention pay with shippers.
This should be a standard part of a rate contract. If you’re dealing with brokers or considering a lease to a carrier, discover the detention compensation practices. Detention pay is commonly charged to shippers and offered to drivers on an hourly basis after a certain time limit, often an hour or two.

Expedited owner-operator Don Lanier has good incentive to use his phone to time them, he says. “Yes, we do get compensated for the time,” he says of his expedited operation. “I think that the companies should institute a timing system like a time clock, and some do – truck’s at the dock, the time clock begins. And this time becomes part of the bill of lading. The paper trail proves Company X is great at loads, and company B doesn’t get it.”

Use GPS data to prove detention to problem customers.
Prime’s “every second counts” project to mitigate leased operators’ waits is evidence of the efficacy of such with longtime customers, Lacy says. “Prime has long been a strong proponent of billing shippers and receivers when they waste our operators’ time. Obtaining timely approval by the customer is the biggest challenge. They require requests to be filed within 48 to 72 hours. GPS positional data has been the key to overcoming objections and denials.”

Independents can utilize smartphone apps like SeeItShip (seeitship.com, available for iPhone, Android), among others, for easily sharing such data. If you’re utilizing an EOBR, it’s likely you have access to such data already. When small fleet owner Tom Blake installed the PeopleNet units in his fleet’s trucks, he found ready-made documentation to prove detention time to the shipper.

Blake believes if all carriers had EOBRs, an industry standard would quickly develop for detention pay in customer contracts. “Every trucking company would have a tool to show the delay and where it’s happening,” he says. “Either they could raise the freight rate to adjust for that time so that overhead is still being met and drivers are being paid a higher rate, or you could charge detention on the dock.”

Top owner-operator challenge No. 2: Hours of Service and EOBRs



  • http://www.facebook.com/don.lanier1 Don Lanier

    see it ship is a great free tool to track a shipment or truck, works great..

  • mousekiller

    Some of the proponents make it seem so easy to get detention at a dock. One thing ,it will be made up with fictitious lumper fees. It will be tough to get it in the rates due to other carriers lowering the rates and we are back to the rate war once again. Especially now that the rates are on a slow rise to livable limits. Few O/Os have the customer base to change the rates to include a fair detention rate. I do think that if a receiver orders a product they should be ready to off load it in a timely fashion upon arrival.

  • Todd Dills

    Thanks for the thoughts, guys. Here’s a bit more about See It Ship:

  • shaker

    We need to get paided for our time at docks and sitting in stageing area, The rates need to come up, We need medical insurance that we can afford, The fuel is to high, Whats going in our country, answer to much govenment, to many rip off brokers, to many rip off trucking company, Makeing money off us op, and drivers, Lets put a stop to it, Everybody just take one week off and watch what happens, Company drivers, op, union drivers need to help us too, Del drivers , In the city, Anything to do with a truck, One week and stand back and watch, STAND UP, AND SAY ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

  • Carrier support

    Detention time is Driver’s hours of service. No one force to work for free. If they can’t load and unload withing 2 hours, that would be cut off time for contract. After 2 hours, Driver or Carrier should get paid reasonable detention fee for Equipment and Labor. All facility need train the dock worker or train their management should acknowledge for those slave hours. And Consigner need communicate those issue with their customer. Ordered truck and Driver in limited time, Driver has every right to charge for longer wait time after two hours and not with thier compensation rate ehat they believe.
    It is operation failure and they should not schedule the truck when dock is not ready to accepted. Often holding Truck, Trailer, and Driver wait time casue by their bad management or descriminate Driver. When shipper and Broker taking advantage to not pay the Driver or Carrier, they are not concerning safety on their dock. Once truck reach thier property, it is part of their responsible for Driver’s safety. Abusing time of Driver is againsting safey in their own facility. Hold driver’s equipment and thier time on thier reasons; are no reason to the Driver and should accomendated by reasonable pay. Shippers are wrong to think they ordering the truck for certain money for all day. I believe ignoring Driver’s hours is against labor law.

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