By Laura C. O'Neill
OOIDA government affairs counsel
Recently, FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro offered bold remarks at a meeting of the National Industrial Transportation League, calling upon shippers and receivers to recognize their role in detaining trucks at loading facilities and the impact the time spent waiting to be loaded or unloaded has on safety, fatigue and hours of service.
Among other things, Ferro recognized that “When the truck is not moving, the drivers are burning hours they cannot recapture. Consequently, when they do get a load and leave the terminal, they are under increased financial and mental stress to ‘not run out of hours.’ They have families to support, this is their livelihood.”
Ferro told members of the oldest and biggest association of shippers and receivers that a recurring complaint heard during the FMCSA’s public hearings on hours of service was valuable time being wasted at loading docks.
“Downtime,” Ferro told them, “was a constant refrain, a constant complaint.”
When Ferro said this, it was as if the sky opened up and a beam of light descended from a single point in the transportation heavens. Finally, someone with regulatory authority understands the bigger picture in that wasting a driver’s time can have serious implications on highway safety. And finally, someone with that authority is speaking to shippers and receivers about it.
Ferro took it a step further than simply recognizing the bigger picture though and asked that shippers and receivers “increase (their) stake in motor carrier safety” and adjust their practices to take drivers into consideration.
We at OOIDA believe that drivers shouldn’t be forced to give away time for free waiting under the command of shippers and receivers. Just give the driver his time and his freedom to get on down the road and pick up the next load.
In short, shippers and receivers have the power to improve supply chain inefficiencies. Truckers get that. Nice to see that Administrator Ferro does, too. LL