FMCSA blocks another state’s rest break laws for truckers

November 17, 2020

FMCSA blocks Washington state’s meal and rest break laws
The U.S. DOT has blocked another state from enforcing state-level laws that require motor carriers to grant truck drivers periodic meal and rest breaks.

The DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, in a notice issued Tuesday morning, granted a petition from the Washington Trucking Association that asked FMCSA to intervene and block Washington from enforcing state labor laws. Washington’s laws required employers to provide meal breaks within every five hours of a worker’s shift and paid rest breaks of at least 10 minutes every four hours.

Those laws mirror laws in California that FMCSA in late 2018 ruled were trumped by federal hours of service regulations. Like California’s mandatory break laws, FMCSA said the breaks cause an undue burden on interstate commerce and are incompatible with federal HOS regs that govern drivers’ schedules. Thus, Washington’s laws are preempted by federal law.