Federal Transportation Officials Halt California Meal and Rest Break Rules For Interstate Drivers
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently approved a petition filed by the American Trucking Associations (ATA) asking FMCSA to prevent the application of the state of California’s controversial rest and meal break rules (RMB rules) to interstate trucking operations. FMCSA’s order agreed with ATA’s claim that the RMB rules are more stringent than FMCSA’s federal hours of service rules (HOS), hold no safety benefit, “are incompatible with the Federal hours of service regulations, and that they cause an unreasonable burden on interstate commerce." FMCSA Administrator Ray Martinez stated, “Safety is FMCSA’s top priority and having uniform rules is a key component to increasing safety for our truck drivers.”
Moving forward, the RMB rules will not be applied to interstate trucking operations; however, it is still yet to be seen how California will apply FMCSA’s order as it relates to intrastate operations. Furthermore, there may be potential implications for how the order may impact numerous other states that have similar rules to California's RMB rules. Following FMCSA’s order, the Teamsters Local 2785 and a truck driver named Everardo Luna challenged the order in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The court is expected to hear arguments in the case later this spring.