Teamsters Sue to Reverse FMCSA’s California Rest-Break Exemption

January 03, 2019 by Alan Adler, @AlanAdler

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters has asked a federal appeals court to reverse a ruling exempting truckers from California’s mandatory meal and rest break rule.

The Teamsters asked the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco on Dec. 27 to throw out the ruling or provide “relief as the Court deems proper.” The 9th Circuit said in 2014 the California-required break applied to truckers.

The Teamsters called the Dec. 21, 2018, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration ruling a “corporate giveaway.”

State vs. federal law

At issue is whether California can require heavy-duty truck drivers to follow a rule requiring a 30-minute meal break after five hours of work. Federal hours-of-service rules require a break after eight hours of driving.

The American Trucking Associations asked the FMCSA to exempt truckers from the state rule for safety reasons.

The FMCSA said California’s rule had no safety benefit and was a burden on interstate commerce.

Trucking companies have paid hundreds of millions of dollars to settle driver claims that they were not paid for meal and rest breaks while driving in California.

‘Victory for highway safety’

The FMCSA ruling was “a victory for highway safety, not trial lawyers,” said Chris Spear, ATA’s chief executive.

In its September 2018 petition, the ATA cited a lack of safe parking places for truckers forced to comply with California’s rule. In 2015, the FMCSA exempted the Specialized Carrier & Rigging Association from the federal rest break rule using a similar rationale.

“FMCSA’s suggestion that rest break rules negatively impact highway safety is ludicrous,” the Teamsters said in a statement.

The California Department of Industrial Relations’ Labor Commissioner’s Office is reviewing its options, a spokeswoman said in an email to

Thousands of trucking companies in California remain subject to the state rule, said Joe Rajkovacz, director of governmental affairs at the Western States Trucking Association.

Read Next: FMCSA Exempts Truckers From California Meal and Rest Break Rule

11 Responses

  1. Sean

    Seriously? Are the Teamsters really that stupid? The FMCSA has not done away with the rest rule- They overruled Californias ridiculous 30 minute break every 5 hours, FMCSA made it like everywhere else- every 8 hours. Its ridiculous to require drivers to stop every 5 hours for a rest/meal break besides the obvious issue of forcing drivers to potentially put themselves in a dangerous situation with no safe space to park at…

  2. Robert Jennings

    You have the Hours of Service rules a little off. Drivers are required to take a break after being on duty, not driving or driving for eight hours. That includes a combination of the 2. But a driver came take this break at any time before 8 hrs has lapsed. Once 30 minutes off duty has been achieved then that clock resets to 8 hrs before another 30 minute break has to be taken.

  3. William Miller

    California is out of control. They have no understand – in of the concept of uniformity interms of the present Federal regulations, and how disruptive their interference is. Until the industry enables compensation for all activities performed in relation to the 14 hour clock the additional breaks they require reduce my income. It takes away an additional hour perday, that’s 50-60 hours per week. This at my average earnings perhour is at a minimum a 5,000-6,000 loss in revenue. The hourly revenue is basess on my average earnings as an independent contractor leased to a carrier.

  4. Mark Hyden

    The half hour break is a joke makes me more tired and extends my day everyday I’ve been driving since 1978 The trucking Industry has gotten worse These schools and so called trainers that have 3 / 6 months experience does not train the new driver coming in the correct way because they don’t know what they’re doing I’ve seen nothing but the worst since they went to CDL

  5. Brooks N Rash

    Just remember that by alowing California to set its own rules we end up with more government regulations we would not have all the emissions regulations and stricter emissions standards if it was not for carb ( California Air Resource Board) the government let California do what it wanted to do then now they realize they have created a mess in the first time that FMCSA stand up against California and hold their ground not allowing a state one state to regulate what happens in the entire country people get butt hurt

  6. Robert J BENOIT

    California sucks. They make these stupid laws. Two rest breaks in a 11 hour shift is a load of crap. I follow my e-logs not California law. Panzi truckers arguing for a second break. We don’t need laws to tell us when to rest. Take a break if you need it. I think it’s because it’s not a paid break that’s why they arguing the issue. We are truck drivers some stuff is unpaid. Put on your big boy pants and deal with it or get a 9-5 job.

  7. Marvin

    Why should drivers in California get paid for something that no other driver gets? In fact any and every job I have ever had I was never paid for the lunch hour. So unless everyone in the nation gets paid for it then no one should. That would show undue favoritism.

  8. James

    Yeah teamsters, one of the only groups that are even less trustworthy than a politician.

  9. Debra mcnabb

    I am a firm believer of all these people sitting behind a desk trying to make laws for us driver .Trying to make our rules for us drivers. They need to get out here and live with one of us drivers on the road in the dead Middle other winter and all the bad conditions and all the crap we got to put up with and see all the customer crap we deal with hours of waiting to get unloaded hurry up to the next get reloaded I think they should stay with us in the truck live our life then go back and sit behind that desk and try to make a rule on us drivers we deserve much much more all the sacrifices we make yes we’re not taking gunshots yes we’re not in a different country we are here so we sacrifice just as much time away from our families and the struggles we put up with to provide for everybody else’s families takes a special person to be a driver and it takes a special person to be a long time truck driver I’m 27 years in I love my job I enjoy my job the only thing I dislike about my job is these lawmakers sitting behind the desk that have no damn idea what’s going on out here in this real world.


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