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Driver Detention Times in Commercial Motor Vehicle Operations
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  • Abstract:
    The purpose of this project was to quantitatively identify detention times in the commercial motor vehicle (CMV)

    industry. Although there is currently no standard definition, the industry commonly defines detention time as “any

    time drivers have to wait beyond 2 hours, which is the average time it takes to load or unload their cargo.” Results

    indicated that drivers experienced detention time on approximately 1 in every 10 stops for an average duration of

    1.4 hours. This represents the length of time the driver was detained beyond 2 hours; thus, he/she was

    loading/unloading at that delivery location for 3.4 hours in total. Medium-sized carriers (51–500 power units) had

    similar average detention times as large carriers (more than 500 power units); however, they experienced driver

    detention about twice as often as large carriers. For example, 19 percent of stops made by medium-sized carriers

    were accompanied by detention time compared to 9 percent of stops made by large carriers. The calculation of odds

    ratios (ORs) provided similar results for medium-sized carriers when compared to large carriers. The odds of a

    driver being detained were 2.17 times greater for medium-sized carriers than for large carriers. Operation type did

    not have much impact on the average length of detention time; however, operation type influenced how frequently

    drivers experienced detention time, with for-hire truck load (TL) carriers experiencing detention time more than

    twice as frequently as for-hire less-than-truckload (LTL) carriers and four times more often than private carriers.

    The OR analysis also indicated that for-hire TL carriers were worse off than for-hire LTL or private carriers. The

    odds of a driver being detained were nearly 5 times greater for for-hire TL carriers than for private carriers and

    2.6 times greater than for for-hire LTL carriers. The odds of a driver being detained were 6.3 and 1.9 times greater

    for temperature controlled freight carriers than for dry bulk carriers, and liquid bulk/tank freight carriers,


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