FMCSA Grants Meal & Rest Break Preemption
On November 17, 2020, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published in the Federal Register an order; grant of petition for determination of preemption. The Agency announced that it is granting the petition submitted by the Washington Trucking Association (WTA) requesting a determination that the State of Washington’s meal and rest break rules (MRB) are preempted as applied to property-carrying commercial motor vehicle drivers subject to FMCSA’s hours of service (HOS) regulations.
Federal law provides for preemption of State laws on commercial motor vehicle safety that are additional to or more stringent than Federal regulations if they (1) have no safety benefit; (2) are incompatible with Federal regulations; or (3) would cause an unreasonable burden on interstate commerce. FMCSA has determined that Washington’s MRB rules are laws on commercial motor vehicle (CMV) safety, that they are more stringent than the Agency’s HOS regulations, that they have no safety benefits that extend beyond those that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) already provide, that they are incompatible with the Federal HOS regulations, and that they cause an unreasonable burden on interstate commerce. The Washington MRB rules, therefore, are preempted.
This is a huge win for the trucking industry and follows the successful petition granted earlier from the Agency regarding a petition filed by the California Trucking Association (CTA), dealing with California State law. Trucking companies have been brought into litigation over the years dealing directly with State meal and rest break laws. These preemption requests will help reduce some frivolous lawsuits in the States of California and Washington.