Should Drivers be Paid for Detention Time?

Driver waitingThe U.S. Department of Transportation’s proposed four-year, $302 billion transportation bill includes a new rule that drivers be paid for the time they’re detained at shipper’s and receiver’s facilities.

The Grow America Act, released by the White House on April 29, states that the Secretary of Transportation may require motor carrier employers to:

Track the on-duty (not driving) time of an employee whose base compensation is calculated in a manner other than an hourly wage, and separately compensate the employee for any on-duty, not-driving period at an hourly rate not less than the federal minimum wage.

In a separate analysis of the bill, the DOT explains that drivers are frequently detained for extended periods at shipper or receiver facilities and are on duty but not compensated. According to the analysis:

This situation often results in pressure for drivers to drive beyond the federal hours of services limit as a matter of economic necessity, risking driver fatigue and jeopardizing highway safety. FMCSA believes that safety could be significantly increased if drivers were compensated for these waiting periods.

What do you think? Should drivers be compensated for time they’re detained? And, just as importantly, who should foot the bill? The current proposal states that drivers should be paid by the motor carrier employer, but says nothing about charging the shipper or receiver who may have caused the delay.

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