Last week the U.S. Department of Transportation approved the American Trucking Association’s (ATA) petition seeking preemption of California’s redundant meal and rest break requirements for interstate motor carriers. USDOT’s approval is an enormous victory for the trucking industry. Since 1994, Congress has prohibited states from any regulation relating to motor carrier prices, routes, or services. However, in recent years some California courts have stated that interstate motor carriers must follow the state’s meal and rest break laws, which is in direct conflict with Congress’ prohibition. ATA argued that the hours of service of interstate commercial drivers, including meal and rest break requirements, are within the exclusive jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Transportation as documented in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.
ATA argued that a patchwork of state-by-state rules disrupt the flow of commerce, are impossible for the interstate trucking industry to comply with, and threaten the safety of the motoring public. The successful outcome ensures that, as least as it applies to meal and rest breaks, the trucking industry will be able to continue to operate with a uniform system of rules. For more details review the FMCSA’s petition. If you need assistance regarding transportation safety related issues, contact ISRI’s Transportation Safety Director, Commodor Hall.