Detention Time Exemption for Natural Gas and Oil Drivers of Transportation Services Is Denied

As many professionals in the trucking industry are aware, there was an exemption request that would have allowed natural gas and oil truck drivers to exclude loading time at their appropriate well sites. Unfortunately, this request was denied by federal transportation authorities in late March. But what does this action mean for transportation services in Aurora, CO, and why was the exemption denied?

  • Excluded time: In essence, the request would have allowed drivers to exclude the time spent at oil and gas wells from their allotted 14 daily on-duty hours. However, officials at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) ruled against the request lodged by the American Trucking Associations (ATA).
  • Detention time defined: Detention time refers to the time in which a truck is being loaded or unloaded or is waiting for approval by the proper party. It’s time that a driver is not able to drive the truck. Generally, truck drivers consider this time a loss, as it is not part of billable mileage.
  • Federal officials argue essential safety: According to a report by Overdrive Online, the lobby group ATA said drivers had the opportunity to “rest while waiting at such sites,” but federal officials deemed the request would not meet or exceed current safety requirements.
  • Dangers taken into account: Because of the inherent dangers involved in transporting natural gas and petroleum products, drivers of these types of hauls are held to more stringent requirements than other truckers in the industry, and this was a factor in the decision making process. For this reason, the hours in which a truck is being loaded cannot be excluded from on-duty hours.
  • The time aspect: If a driver is held up for two to three hours while a trailer gets filled but doesn’t sleep or rest, then a full 14 hours of driving would still be ahead of them and would equate to more like a 16 to 17 hour day. When pulling potentially dangerous materials, officials opted to keep the limitations in place for the industry.

Four classifications of driver time

To fully understand the FMCSA’s ruling, it’s also important to be clear on the different ways in which drivers’ time is classified:

  • On-duty time: This time is classified as the hours in which drivers are on the road, doing paperwork, hauling cargo and logging miles. These hours are understandably limited each day and each week by the FMCSA for safety reasons.
  • Off-duty time: This time is, as its name suggests, any time in which the driver is not on the road or sleeping.
  • Detention time: “Detention time” is the common term given to the time spent waiting for freight to be loaded or unloaded. Truckers often consider this to be “lost time” because it is not spent logging billable miles.
  • Sleeping time: Just like it sounds, sleeping time refers to the time drivers are sleeping in the cabs of their rigs, parked or in other accommodations.

For friendly and reliable transportation services in Aurora, CO—and well-rested, responsible drivers—look no further than Osage Specialized Transport. Not only do we provide services to mining and construction industries, but we are also trained to work with oversized hauls to ensure your specialized machinery and heavy equipment or products arrive safely and on time.