ARLINGTON, Va. – California will not be able to implement its own state rest break rules, thanks to a Department of Transportation ruling that came before Christmas.
Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao granted a federal petition that pre-empts state rest break rules, asserting the federal government’s role in regulating interstate commerce. The move was applauded by the American Trucking Associations (ATA).
“This is a victory for highway safety, not trial lawyers,” said ATA president and CEO Chris Spear. “The trucking industry supports our nation’s economic growth by safely and efficiently moving goods across state lines, and this decision by the Department of Transportation will save jobs, unburden businesses throughout the supply chain and keep the prices Americans pay for food, clothing and countless other essential items affordable and accessible.”
The ATA hard petitioned the DoT to pre-empt California’s meal and rest break rules, which it said were primarily enforced via private lawsuits against motor carriers.
“We were forced to ask DOT and the Secretary for this important, common sense solution because congressional dysfunction and gridlock prevented Congress from reasserting itself – as it had in 1994 – as the primary arbiter of interstate commerce, despite bipartisan, bicameral support,” Spear said. “We hope today’s ruling will once and for all underscore the importance of a single, national standard for work and safety rules for professional drivers.”