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Court: Federal Law Pre-Empts Calif. Break Rules for Interstate Drivers

January 26, 2021


In one of the year’s most anticipated court decisions for the trucking industry, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 2785, et al. v. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, No. 19-70413 (Jan. 15, 2021), the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) ruling that federal rest break regulations pre-empted California’s meal and rest break rules, as applied to drivers of property-carrying commercial motor vehicles.

Title 49, Section 31141(c) of the United States Code gives the FMCSA the authority to review whether its rules and regulations pre-empt state laws “on commercial motor vehicle safety.” In 2018, the FMCSA reviewed California’s meal and rest break rules and determined that they were pre-empted by the agency’s own break requirements. This determination was challenged and ultimately brought before the 9th Circuit.

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