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Washington state latest object of petition to preempt trucker meal, rest break rules

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Washington — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is seeking public comment as it considers a trucking industry petition to preempt Washington state’s meal and rest break rules for commercial motor vehicle drivers, less than a year after granting a similar request in California.

According to a notice published in the Oct. 9 Federal Register, Washington’s rules – as the preempted California regulations did – call for at least 30 minutes of off-duty mealtime for every five hours of work and a 10-minute rest period for every four hours of work.

The Washington Trucking Associations filed the petition April 8, nearly four months after FMCSA granted a preemption request from the American Trucking Associations and the Specialized Carriers and Rigging Association regarding California’s rules under 49 USC 31141.

“Given the similarity between Washington and California meal and rest break rules, the agency’s analysis of California’s rules in its recent preemption order applies equally to Washington’s,” the petition states.

 

Similar to the California petition, the Washington petition states that the rules “have no safety benefit beyond those provided by FMCSA’s rules, are incompatible with the federal [hours-of-service] regulations and impose an unreasonable burden on interstate commerce.”

In a statement issued in December opposing the preemption of the California rules, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters called the claim “ludicrous” and “a giveaway to the trucking industry,” adding that “the idea that providing a 10-minute rest break after four hours and a 30-minute meal after five hours somehow makes the roads less safe is beyond comprehension.”

The deadline to comment on the Washington state petition is Nov. 8.

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