Trucking sector leaders are applauding a court ruling that allows federal regulators to dictate looser restrictions on drivers’ hours of service (HoS) caps than a California law requiring additional meal and rest break (MRB) rules.
The decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)’s position that the state’s MRB rules were “additional to or more stringent” than federal regulations addressing breaks, and that they “cause an unreasonable burden on interstate commerce,” according to an analysis by transportation law firm Scopelitis, Garvin, Light, Hanson & Feary.
Industry group American Trucking Associations (ATA) hailed the decision as a “victory for common sense” and said it hoped that the news would send a strong message to other states that they are not allowed to impose additional regulatory burdens, ATA President and CEO Chris Spear said in a release.
“When the Department of Transportation preempted California’s rules, it was a victory for highway safety, ensuring that there is one uniform standard for trucking regulations,” Spear said. “By upholding DOT’s authority to be the sole regulator of interstate trucking, the Ninth Circuit is preventing states and trial lawyers from creating a costly and inefficient patchwork of competing rules.”
According to ATA, it had petitioned the Department of Transportation to preempt California’s meal and rest break rule in 2018, after bipartisan efforts to enact a legislative fix failed. ATA argued that the state rule should not be enforced against interstate truck drivers, saying that it would force those drivers to comply with two competing sets of hours-of-service rules.
The unanimous decision from the 9th Circuit affirms the federal government’s role as the sole regulator of interstate commerce, preventing states and plaintiffs attorneys from creating a patchwork of competing and conflicting rules across the U.S.https://t.co/K485zIc0Qf https://t.co/Ja2pIqHdze— American Trucking (@TRUCKINGdotORG) January 15, 2021