The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has mentioned in a notice on Friday that they will start to consider waiver requests for December 21st, 2018’s ruling regarding California Meal and Rest Break (MRB) rules, as well as a similar ruling for Washington State’s MRB rules, enacted in a ruling made on November 17th, 2020. Either ruling had been made throughout the Trump administration.
The notice they sent out state the following: While petitions for waiver may be submitted at any time, FMCSA requests that any petitions… be submitted by November 13, 2023. FMCSA will publish any petitions for waiver that it receives and will provide an opportunity for public comment with respect to the petitions.”
All over California and Washington State, there has been a reliance to follow more stringent MRB rules than what the federal government may actually ask for. Even in the state of California, truckers and other employees have to take a 30-minute meal break given the circumstances of working beyond five hours within a day, while drivers going through a shift of ten hours and beyond deserve to have a second 30-minute meal break. Every one of the employees themselves are entitled to a 10-minute rest period for about four hours that they work even in a day. Washington follows the same rule structure.
Federal hours-of-service rules are asking for drivers to be given a 30-minute break after the eight hours of driving time and an allowance for not driving period to service properly as the required break.
Recently the FMCSA’s California preemption determination was challenged by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. This was over the issue that the Teamsters took with Washington Trucking Association’s insistence that the State’s MRB rules would make sure that the shortage of safe truck parking where the drivers would spend more time looking for parking that it would come to when needing rest.
The union themselves state that the bigger problem is how they aren’t quite as encouraged to take rest breaks, as is allowed under the technicalities of federal law, given that there’s a very real fear of punishment from employers, given that pay could be docked if it’s not completed on time.
The Teamsters haven’t quite responded towards whether or not they’ll ask to petition FMCSA for a waiver.
The American Trucking Associations have made their beginning request to FMCSA for a preemption determination notes how the FMCSA is damaging interstate freight movement, which in itself could cost too much for carriers.