Federal agencies Hours of service Trucking Transportation

FMCSA preempts Washington state’s meal and rest break rules for truck drivers

Photo: GarysFRP/iStockphoto

Washington — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has granted a petition to preempt Washington state’s rules on meals and rest breaks for commercial truck drivers, determining that federal hours-of-service regulations supersede the state’s rules.

FMCSA granted a similar request for preemption on California’s meal and rest break rules in December 2018, stating that the rules are incompatible with current federal HOS regulations and cause “a disruption in interstate commerce.”

Both states’ rules called 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 for drivers transporting property.

According to a notice published in the Nov. 17 Federal Register, the Washington Trucking Associations filed its petition with FMCSA in April 2019. Federal law allows for the preemption of state laws in regard to CMV safety that “are additional to or more stringent than federal regulations” under at least one of the following three conditions:

  • The state laws have “no safety benefit”
  • They’re incompatible with federal regulations
  • They would “cause an unreasonable burden on interstate commerce”

All three applied in this case, according to FMCSA.


“FMCSA determines that Washington’s MRB rules do not provide a safety benefit not already provided by the federal regulations for property-carrying CMV drivers,” the notice states.

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