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Trucking companies exposed to new liability risk after FMCSA preemption

Jan 09, 2019 at 07:08 AM CST
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Not following California’s meal and rest break laws could leave motor carriers that opt to judiciously observe the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) recent decision open to added liability risk in pending or future civil lawsuits, according to legal experts. Those new risks were triggered by a petition filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in late December by the Teamsters union. The Teamsters want the court to reverse the federal agency’s ruling, claiming that it harms union-represented drivers who work for companies that have been providing paid meal periods and rest breaks under California law. Federal hours of service (HOS) regulations require drivers take a 30-minute rest break after eight hours, and prohibit drivers from operating a truck if a driver feels too tired to drive safely. California’s meal and rest break laws require drivers be given a 30-minute meal break every five hours and an additional 10-minute rest break every four hours.