The FMCSA is seeking comment on how California’s rest and meal break rules conflict with current transportation industry regulations based on an ATA petition.
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The FMCSA is seeking comment on how California’s rest and meal break rules conflict with current transportation industry regulations based on an ATA petition.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is requesting public comment on a petition filed by the American Trucking Associations that requests a determination be made by the Department of Transportation that California’s meal and rest break rules are preempted by Federal law.

In its filing, ATA contends that the existence of duplicative state rest-break requirements undermine safety and unreasonably burden interstate commerce by interfering with uniform federal regulations.

Among other things, FMCSA is requesting comments on what effect, if any, California’s meal and rest break requirements may have on interstate commerce.

In California, employers are required to provide employees with a 30-minute meal break after five hours if the employee is on duty for more than six hours in a day. If on duty for 10 hours in a day longer that will require more than 12 hours of work, they are required to give an employee a second 30-minute break. With written consent, an employee may waive one of these rest break periods but not both.

California law also requires employers to provide rest breaks during the day, accrued at 10 minutes per four hours of work, and holds that the employee must remain on the clock during that period.

However, in matters of commercial transportation, the Secretary of  Transportation is able to override state laws or regulations provided certain criteria is met. For instance, the Secretary can override a state regulation or law if it is determined that a rule is less stringent than federal regulations or if it is determined that state rules have no safety benefit, are incompatible with the regulation prescribed by the Secretary, or  would cause an unreasonable burden on interstate commerce.

While these determinations can be made at the discretion of the Department of Transportation and are delegated to FMCSA Administrator, Ray Martinez, FMCSA is still seeking public comment on any issues raised by ATA’s petition.

All comments must be received on or before Oct. 29. Submitted comments must be identified by Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) Number FMCSA–2018–0304 and submitted by any of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: www.regulations.gov
  • Mail: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, West Building, Ground Floor, Room W12–140, Washington, DC 20590–0001
  • Hand Delivery or Courier: West Building, Ground Floor, Room W12– 140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. E.T., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays
  •  Fax: 1–202–493–2251
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