Safety advisory committee focuses on trucker detention time

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | 5/4/2011

Time squandered at the shipping docks is an issue of trucker safety and hours-of-service compliance, according to a federally appointed committee that has taken up the issue of detention time.

The Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee, appointed to advise the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, is urging FMCSA to seek the authority to address the issue and hold shippers and others more accountable.

When a trucker is needlessly detained at the docks without consideration or compensation for time spent, that trucker’s ability to comply with hours-of-service rules is compromised, committee members said.

“MCSAC recommends that FMCSA consider requisite action against shippers, receivers, intermediaries, and any other party that unduly detains CMV drivers which places the driver in a position of violating 395.8,” committee Chairman David R. Parker wrote in a letter to FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro.

OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer, who is a member of the 19-member committee, said the topic is timely and coincides with U.S. House bill HR756 filed by Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-OR. A third component in the discussion is a revealing report on detention time conducted by the Government Accountability Office.

“The legislation and this initiative address this missing element in a truckers’ ability to comply with hours-of-service regulations and optimum safety,” Spencer said.

The committee points out in the April 1 letter to Ferro that the issue of FMCSA authority would be similar to the authority possessed by the Federal Aviation Administration to address safety concerns in that industry.

MCSAC further urges FMCSA to develop a “Truck Driver’s Bill of Rights” to address issues of rest areas and truck parking, compensation for a trucker’s detention time, and availability of basic needs like food and drink.

“It came up in the context of those things that could be done or need to be done to facilitate increased compliance,” said Spencer.

“The committee should be applauded for their singular focus on optimum safety.”

Click here to learn more about MCSAC and its members.

See related article:
At long last, a bill targets detention time at the docks

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