Driver Detention and 34 Hour Restarts

Last September the US Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued some changes to Hours of Service regulations for property carrying drivers. Those changes were explained in an earlier post.

One important regulation that remains unchanged is the 60/70 Hour Limit. If your fleet runs 7 days a week your drivers are limited to 70 cumulative hours on duty during a period of 8 consecutive days following a 34 hour period off duty or in the sleeper berth or a combination of both.

If your fleet runs 6 days a week your drivers are limited to 60 hours on duty in 7 consecutive days following a 34 hour period off duty or in the sleeper berth or a combination.

A significant aspect included in this regulation is that the 34 hour restart can occur any time during the trip to automatically restart a new period of 6/7 days and a new clock on the 60/70 hour limit.


Extending Trips

That may not sound like a big deal but if your people are long haul less than truckload drivers and almost always with multiple drops in various jurisdictions faced with the return trip home of several pickups with lots of miles between, there is little doubt they would welcome a 34 hour break to ensure a safe return. They need the rest and with the 34 hour restart they can get it. Once they are home dispatch needs to provide time at home to restart a cycle for the next trip.

Yes it extends the length of a trip. But so does time consuming multiple drops and pickups often in several states. Fleet drivers hauling produce in reefers from southern states to the north to small warehouses and large grocery distribution centers spend a lot of time on the road, as do most all truck drivers.


The Detention Issue

Their job always entails major detention times like waiting for a door, waiting for lumpers to offload, waiting for the receiver to inspect the product, and waiting for paperwork. We believe detention time drastically impacts trip length and not in a good way.

Detention is a common complaint among drivers. Waiting hours to load or unload is stressful and bad for their mental health with most being paid by miles driven. The generally accepted standard time allotment for loading or unloading is 2 hours. Many shippers and receivers take much longer to complete the process. Most times driver detention is unpaid.


Is Driver Pay the Answer?

Some fleets pay drivers for time spent detained longer than 2 hours. But it can be difficult to recover their costs from shippers and receivers. However, with Electronic Logging Device (ELD) data a fleet manager can prove to a customer how long their driver was required to spend at the location. The data can be used to present a strong case for detention pay to be recovered from the customer. GPS tracking technology will also speak to it.


Another disadvantage of detention is that it can become cumulative in a trip. That is, causing a driver to be late for the next stop and lose his or her appointment by being pushed to the end of the line. And with multiple appointments it can add much time to a trip and make for an unlikely recoup of detention time because of being late. It also can cost the fleet for additional fuel use at these places.


What Can be Done?

Shippers and receivers need to get more organized in their loading and unloading to help reduce harmful and costly detention time. Customers need to schedule realistic appointment times. And carriers need to share data on the time a driver spends at their customer’s facility. If it starts to cost these customers, they will improve procedures and get your trucks and people moving in less time. Technology can help.

Detention of a driver can often trigger a need for a 34 hour restart costing the fleet in missed opportunity while the truck is out of service. It’s that serious. But the restart is necessary for driver health and safety on the road.

At BrightOrder, we care about the safety of your drivers and the profitability of your fleet. EMDECS is our answer to the call for profitability of your fleet repair and maintenance shops. Our knowledge base is proven by over two decades of providing fleet repair shop management software. We’ve been doing it since the 1990s and we’re good at it. 

We are constantly working to update and improve EMDECS. We’ve made it simple and easy to use yet powerful. We’re confident it will increase productivity in your shop and enable great maintenance to reduce unscheduled downtime. And it will simplify and streamline the work of managers and technicians. Contact us today for an EMDECS demo.

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