California Ruling Provides Support to SC&RA’s Position on Trucker Rest Breaks

- A federal court in California has dismissed a lawsuit brought by a group of drivers against U.S. Xpress concerning the state’s meal and rest break laws, signaling a possible change in the lingering legal issue.

Last December, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced that it had granted a petition determining that the State of California’s laws requiring minimum meal and rest breaks for truckers operating in the State of California are preempted by federal hours-of-service laws (49 U.S.C. § 31141 ). The determination by FMCSA came in response to widespread apprehension from drivers, concerned citizens and industry stakeholders, as well as critical petitions filed by SC&RA, petitions that were heavily weighted within FMCSA and on Capitol Hill. In particular, SC&RA’s argument on federal primacy over motor carrier safety was viewed within FMCSA as “key and essential” in granting this much-needed exemption.  

SC&RA believes the dismissed lawsuit is a positive sign for the organization’s position on this issue. Carriers should remain compliant with the California laws pending challenges to FMCSA’s December decision to exempt carriers from the state’s regulations. A decision in those cases, which have been brought by the Teamsters Union and the California Labor Commission, could take about two more years to resolve.

“SC&RA is preparing an amicus brief to support FMCSA’s original decision,” said SC&RA CEO Joel Dandrea. “We fully anticipate filing the brief this summer and will continue to advocate on behalf of our members for a safe and fair trucking environment that is not unnecessarily burdened by California or any other state.” For more information, contact Dandrea.

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