Think about the most frustrating part of your job. The tasks that in the moment, make you wish you chose a different profession. Well, detention is just that for truckers. Frustrating. And no, truck drivers aren’t sitting in a room staring at a chalkboard after they drop off a load. Detention is, however, the least favorite task for truck drivers. Let’s explain:

What is Detention?

“Detention” or “Detention Time” is the amount of time that it takes to load or unload a shipment. For example, if a trucker arrives at a shipper at 12pm and the load isn’t ready until 4pm, these hours are called “detention hours”. However, most truck drivers allow two hours for loading and unloading. Any time added onto those two scheduled hours would be considered detention time.

Why is Detention Time Frustrating?

Truck drivers typically do not get paid for these hours, but they can be on occasion.Truckers do not usually even ask for detention pay because of the fear of hurting their relationship with shippers. Business Insider explains this fear well, “20% of truck drivers who work for smaller companies, which compromise the vast majority of the industry, don’t ask for detention pay ‘to remain competitive and maintain good relationships’ with customers”. Truck drivers are paid by the mile. So, anytime they are not driving are non-billable minuetes. Nobody wants to work for free, so this frustration is definitely valid.

Detention time also pushes back the truck drivers other loads and could interfere with their drive time. A truck driver can only drive a certain amount of hours (usually 11) in a day.

How can Detention Time Vanish?

Shippers need to become more organized. That’s it. Loads need to be ready ahead of time so that when the truck driver arrives, the shipper can load up and the trucker can go, likewise for the receiver. Assuring ahead of time that you (the receiver) is ready to receive the load saves a lot of time.