USA Banner

Official US Government Icon

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure Site Icon

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Site Notification

Site Notification

U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Impact of Driver Detention Times on Safety and Operations, Phase II


To better understand the nature of the problem of detention or waiting times in the commercial motor vehicle (CMV) industry and the potential safety impacts that can occur because of long detention times. The purpose of Phase 2 will be to implement the methodology developed in Phase 1 by evaluating the safety and operational impacts of driver detention time on work hours (e.g., driver fatigue), hours-of-service (HOS) violations, and crashes.


In 2001, a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sponsored study found that drivers with more loads with longer-than-expected load times were associated with more driver fatigue (Crum, M. & Morrow, P., 2001). In this study, drivers reported that about 18 percent of their work time was used for schedule delays due to long wait times. Additionally, the study found a strong positive relationship between the percent of time spent loading and unloading and crash involvement.

A Government Accountability Office (GAO) study reported that approximately two-thirds of CMV drivers experienced some detention time in the past month. Drivers reported that this detention time ranged from less than 2 hours to more than 8 hours and could occur at many different types of facilities (i.e., detention time was not restricted to certain facilities). Approximately 4 percent of drivers responded that they had driven beyond the legal HOS and misrepresented driving hours in their log books due to detention time. The GAO also examined carrier experiences with detention time and found that many had implemented systems to track detention times. Carriers reported that approximately 12 percent of deliveries experienced some detention time.


Long detention or waiting times can adversely affect CMV driver fatigue. This research effort is designed to better understand the nature of this problem and to develop strategies or regulations to mitigate driver risks. The intent of the study is to seek objective measures of detention time and the extent to which it contributes to drivers violating HOS requirements. Phase 2 of the study will also assess the opinions and perceptions of CMV drivers, independent owner operators, CMV safety managers, and shippers and receivers in regard to detention time. The collected insights and opinions from these five subgroups will be invaluable to the process of devising viable strategies to mitigate the problem of detention time in the CMV industry.


The output will be a report evaluating the safety and operational impacts of driver detention time on work hours.


October 2014       Coordinate with the contract office the award of the project
TBD                        Kick-off meeting


FY 2014     $500,000     FMCSA Research and Technology


Revisions to the Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) Request for Proposal (RFP) are being made by the contract office based on council recommendations, and an evaluation team is being formed to review proposals.



Last updated: Friday, November 28, 2014