Commercial motor carriers play an essential role in the nation’s economy. In 2013, more 2.4 million commercial motor vehicle drivers moved freight valued at approximately $11.4 trillion.
This freight made up 63.6 percent of the total value of goods that consumers, businesses and industries shipped that year. The Bureau of Transportation Statistics estimates that freight volume will have increased by 42 percent by 2040 to 28.5 billion tons compared to 20 billion tons in 2013.
To reduce driver fatigue and fatigue-related crashes, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s current hours of service regulations limit the number of hours a driver can work per day to 14 hours. However, delays at shipping and receiving facilities during cargo loading and unloading may result in travel delays and lost wages for drivers. Truckers who experience delays at these facilities may then drive faster to make deliveries within hours of service limits or operate beyond hours of service limits and improperly log their driving time, thus increasing the risk of crashes and fatalities.
The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act of 2015 directs FMCSA to issue regulations that cover collection of data on loading and unloading delays. The FAST Act also directs OIG to report on the impact of loading and unloading delays in areas such as the economy and efficiency of the transportation system.
Accordingly, we are initiating this audit. Our objectives will be to (1) assess available data on motor carrier loading and unloading delays and (2) provide information on measuring the potential effects of loading and unloading delays.