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Wait Times at Loading Docks Could Cost Truckers $1 Billion

Waiting at loading docks isn't just annoying. It costs you a lot of money, too. According to a report based on a Department of Transportation audit, detention time can essentially cost truckers $1.1 billion to $1.3 billion each year. Wait times are built into shipping costs, but the extra time spent waiting, often hours, falls into the category of detention. 

The audit came about because of a 2015 transportation law called The FAST Act that called for the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration to put in place data collecting regulations for delays and wait times. In addition to those regulations, the inspector general was tasked with reporting detention time and its impacts on the industry. 

Detention affects almost everyone in the trucking industry at some point but can be a real detriment to for-hire motor carriers. The audit claimed that industry-wide, the for-hire motor carriers can see a drop of $250.6 million to $302.9 million annually in net income.

Additionally, that report notes that the estimated numbers could be low due to the fact that data is limited on the subject. More work will need to be done to ensure that the estimates are correct, but if they're wrong, it's more than likely that they're not high enough. 

There are safety concerns with detention time as well. The report revealed that large periods of detention increased a driver's risk of having an accident. This likely has to do with the fact that detention time eats into the number of hours the driver is awake, meaning he or she could end up driving stressed or tired. 

There are steps being taken, including dropping slow shipping companies and prioritizing preferred customers that don't make truckers wait. There are also regulations coming in to try to reduce the amount of time spent in detention. It will be interesting to see how long these changes take to yield positive results.