Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., wants shippers to speed truck drivers through their gates or pay the consequences for excessive detention time during loading or unloading.
The Oregon Democrat introduced a bill Feb. 17 that would require the Department of Transportation to regulate how long truckers may be detained at docks.
The bill, H.R. 756, would require the DOT to study the issue and establish a maximum number of hours drivers may be detained by shippers.
The legislation would require shippers to pay drivers and carriers for detention.
DeFazio's bill follows a Government Accountability Office report that found 80 percent of drivers detained had trouble complying with hours of service rules.
"Detaining truckers at loading docks is a significant problem the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) needs to regulate," DeFazio said.
Truck drivers attacked excessive detention by shippers at the FMCSA's listening session on its proposed hours of service rules in Arlington, Va.
"If you're at the dock and you're out of hours, you're out of luck," John Spiros, vice president of safety at Roehl Transport, said at the FMCSA hearing.
FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro questioned Spiros and other speakers about how detention affects their ability to comply with hours of service rules.
"We need to be taking a closer look at it," Ferro said in an interview. "When you think about the full supply chain, safety has got to be a part of every link in that chain. Detention time at the shipping and receiving docks is a part of that."
Currently, the FMCSA doesn't have the authority to regulate detention time, "but it is certainly within the sphere of accountability when you look at CSA numbers."
-- Contact William B. Cassidy at email@example.com.