California and Other States Aim to Move to Zero-Emission Trucks

California is leading the charge to enhance public health and move forward more quickly with the transition to cleaner transportation. Along with seven other states, California is committing to develop a plan to put hundreds of thousands of zero-emission trucks and public buses on the road throughout the state.

The California Air Resources Board, in charge of coming up with the action plan, is in the beginning stages of meeting to come up with the particulars of how this can be accomplished. For now, the idea of encouraging cleaner driving opportunities is envisioned through a proposed Advanced Clean Trucks regulation that would establish sales and reporting requirements for zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty vehicles on the road.

It’s not clear whether or not trucking companies and owner-operators who drive traditional emissions trucks in the state will be hit with fines if they don’t fall under regulation. Regardless of this possibility, it’s important for trucking companies to make sure they keep their commercial truck insurance coverage in force and consider pollution insurance as it might relate to their operations.

Trucks are a major contributor to pollution in the country, and since California is a main artery for road-based trade between Mexico, Canada, and the rest of the United States, it’s no wonder something like this is picking up steam. And with the recent passage of the USMCA deal, which is set to enhance more trade between the United States, Mexico, and Canada, using California as a main thoroughfare to move commerce, the chance of cutting down on trucks on the road doesn’t look possible. So, the solution is to come up with ways to cut down on emissions.

States joining California in the regulations and efforts are Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Oregon, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and Vermont. The collaborative effort will also be put in motion and supported by the ZEV Task Force and facilitated by NESCAUM, or the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management. Together, all entities will look to identify and come up with solutions for cost, fueling infrastructure, and other challenges.

California has already invested nearly $1 billion in cap and trade processed into pilot projects to help accelerate the commercialization of zero- and near-zero trucks and buses. Companies like PepsiCo and FedEx are already on board, partnering with stakeholders in the initiatives.

The other states in the effort have offered up incentives for zero-emission freight trucks and transit buses, as well as school buses. Some states have already introduced electric shuttles for public transportation and allocated settlement funds from Volkswagen toward medium- and heavy-duty vehicle electrification.

About Western Truck Insurance Services

Western Truck Insurance Services is a commercial truck insurance agency with roots dating back to 1954. We have evolved into a highly respected, professionally managed, truck and transportation insurance brokerage. The hallmark of our organization is our desire to provide unparalleled service. We go way beyond what you expect to receive from an insurance brokerage. Equipped with state of the art automation, Western Truck Insurance can provide you with lightning fast truck insurance quotes, customer service, Insurance certificates, and coverage changes.

New Jersey Joins California in Targeting Owner-Operators

In recent months, news out of California has focused on new legislation around worker classification and how it’s poised to affect independent contractors, including owner-operators in the trucking industry — an industry that fuels the state’s economy.

Truck drivers and trucking companies are scrambling to propose an alternative solution to the new AB 5 bill, which will re-classify truck drivers as full-time employees instead of contactors, upending the way the industry has handled everything from benefits to hours worked to commercial truck insurance.

Now, one state on the other end of the country is following suit, adding to the battleground for motor carriers that use owner-operators.

Jersey Drivers

The state Senate of New Jersey, a state that sees plenty of freight of its own move along its highways and byways, will take up legislation aimed at limiting what workers can be considered contractors. The Senate’s labor committee recently debated a new bill introduced by Sen. Stephen Sweeney that would make employers use the ABC test to determine whether a driver should be classified as an employee or contractor, just like in California.

The bill takes after California AB 5, a new law that will take effect on January 1, 2020. In New Jersey, the legislation has the potential to raise trucking costs and comes at a time when the demand in the state for trucking operations is growing. Nearly four out of every five containers that moves through the Tri-State area are hauled via truck and two-thirds of them are warehoused in New Jersey.

Limits on independent contractors will add pressure to New Jersey’s minority workers, with two out of every five drivers coming from that demographic, compared to 30 percent across all industries. A move like this is causing many drivers to think about their next career step, like in California where 70,000 independent contractors are doing the same thing.

Cracking Down on Trucking Companies

Apart from the potential new legislation in New Jersey, trucking in the state is possibly facing yet another new piece of legislation that could hurt employers when it comes to wage disputes and the additional costs of providing benefits plans for independent contractors.

What’s more, New Jersey recently enacted a law similar to California that will increase the risk for employee misclassification, holding shippers liable for wage disputes between drivers and motor carriers. However, in New Jersey, the penalties are heavier as employers found liable for not paying wages due to misclassification could face up to a 200-percent increase in damages and other costs.

About Western Truck Insurance Services

Western Truck Insurance Services is a commercial truck insurance agency with roots dating back to 1954. We have evolved into a highly respected, professionally managed, truck and transportation insurance brokerage. The hallmark of our organization is our desire to provide unparalleled service. We go way beyond what you expect to receive from an insurance brokerage. Equipped with state of the art automation, Western Truck Insurance can provide you with lightning fast truck insurance quotes, customer service, Insurance certificates, and coverage changes.

California Trucking Association (CTA) Files Legal Complaint Against AB 5

In California, the state’s governor Gavin Newsom spearheaded a complete upheaval of the labor market. Through a slew of new bills passed this fall, California is redefining what it means to be a contract worker and a full-time employee, while simultaneously changing everything from how people get benefits and find the right kind of insurance.

Taking effect on January 1, 2020, California businesses — especially those that rely on contract workers and hired hands, like transportation and creative services — will have to retool their hiring practices and worker classification. One major bill getting the spotlight is AB 5, which is being described as a piece of legislation that could completely disrupt the gig economy in California, a state that relies heavily on contract workers.

One part of that sector that is feeling the pressure is the trucking industry, which fuels the state’s economy through its massive freight operations throughout the state. However, those in the industry are putting up a fight, hoping to find a better solution for workers.

Taking The Case to Court

In a legal complaint filed on November 12, the California Trucking Association (CTA), along with two owner-operators, argues that AB 5 and Dynamex are preempted by federal law and looks to enjoin application of those regulations to the trucking industry as a whole.

The case (California Trucking Association v. Becerra et al.) is currently pending in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. In it, the CTA and the owner-operators on file allege that the new law would make it impossible for CTA’s motor-carrier members to have the same impact in their trucking services due to how it would change the way companies classify truck drivers.

With the current owner-operator model, which hires out drivers as contractors instead of full-time, permanent employees as the new bill would make mandatory, the benefit is that it provides motor-carriers and contractors the flexibility to meet the fluctuating needs of the shipping market.

Testing The Market

The main part of the new bill that has come under scrutiny is the ABC test, which categorizes drivers as employees of a company rather than independent contractors. Under the new test, an individual is classified as an employee, full-time, unless the employer can prove that:

  • A. the worker is free from the company’s control
  • B. the worker performs work that isn’t central to the company’s business
  • C. the worker has an independent business, trade or occupation in the industry

The CTA alleges that the test will prohibit the traditional owner-operator model the trucking industry has relied on. This, the CTA says, will bring economic hardship to not only truck drivers and trucking companies but the businesses they work with in trucking commodities, such as perishables, throughout the state.

The CTA is trying to address the long-term effects that the new bill would have on the industry and the individuals within it before the January 1 effective date. AB 5’s complete overturn of the trucking industry requires more time and planning from trucking companies to raise the capital to hire drivers and purchase trucks and tools, not to mention take care of benefits and truck insurance.

Right now, the plan is to move forward with ABC testing and classification in a state that relies heavily on independent contractors. The reality is that hundreds of thousands of independent contractors in the state will turn into employees overnight under the bill. Beyond trucking professionals, everyone from dancers to writers to bartenders will be impacted in some way.

About Western Truck Insurance Services

Western Truck Insurance Services is a commercial truck insurance agency with roots dating back to 1954. We have evolved into a highly respected, professionally managed, truck and transportation insurance brokerage. The hallmark of our organization is our desire to provide unparalleled service. We go way beyond what you expect to receive from an insurance brokerage. Equipped with state of the art automation, Western Truck Insurance can provide you with lightning fast truck insurance quotes, customer service, Insurance certificates, and coverage changes.

California Truckers Protested AB 5 Last Month

Earlier this year, the state of California set into motion a new piece of legislation aimed at redefining independent contractors, a rising professional landscape in a state where freight, trucking, and the gig economy are growing. Known as the “gig worker bill,” this puts truck drivers in a bad spot because under a new worker classification test (ABC Test), a worker is presumed to be an employee, putting the burden on the company that hires them out.

This has upset everything from commercial truck insurance policies, such as truck liability, to Uber drivers to the future status of trucking commodities across the state. More specifically, it’s caused truck drivers to speak out in protest due to its limiting of independent contractors.

In fact, truck drivers took to the streets in November, protesting the new legislation and how it’s affected their hauls from Oakland to Los Angeles to the ports of San Francisco and Long Beach. Truck horns and chants could be heard at all these locations last month, as dozens of truck owner-operators gathered together to protect the gig-work law, which could take away their independent contractor status and, in turn, hurt their potential to be their own boss and earn higher wages.

Set to take effect on January 1, 2020, the AB5 bill creates more challenges for classifying someone as a contractor unless they are free from a company’s control and have their own independent enterprise doing the same kind of work. Protests were coordinated throughout the state by many trucking professionals who feel they are being mistreated by the state. The effort has no affiliation with a specific association, but has picked up steam throughout the state.

Currently, there are more than 70,000 drivers who choose to work as independent operators in the state because of the freedom given to them through the work-model that has been in place for decades. These workers are campaigning for an amendment to the AB5 bill, allowing them to work as independent contractors and set their own hours and earn more compensation.

The state is currently in a shortfall of employee drivers and barring the use of independent operators can only hurt the situation, some say. Some companies are considering separating their brokerage operations from their trucking business. This would make carriers responsible for handling operations with owner-operators through the broker.

About Western Truck Insurance Services

Western Truck Insurance Services is a commercial truck insurance agency with roots dating back to 1954. We have evolved into a highly respected, professionally managed, truck and transportation insurance brokerage. The hallmark of our organization is our desire to provide unparalleled service. We go way beyond what you expect to receive from an insurance brokerage. Equipped with state of the art automation, Western Truck Insurance can provide you with lightning fast truck insurance quotes, customer service, Insurance certificates, and coverage changes.

Federal Independent Contractor Model Up for Further Debate in Congress

With the air of the recently passed AB5 hanging over California like a smog, and with executives from ride-sharing tech giants Uber and Lyft failing to appear at a Congressional hearing over lax safety oversight, lawmakers are turning their focus to independent contractor classification in the country.

Debates in Congress have been spurred on by regulations out west in California where legislation was passed by the State Assembly in May and the state Senate in September, outlining a way to determine the work status of independent contractors, such as truck drivers or ride-sharing drivers.

The hearing, which was overseen by the Highways and Transit subcommittee of the House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee in October, honed in on the need for driver background checks for transportation network companies. This has all happened in the wake of homicides and assaults committed by people posing as ride-sharing drivers.

“It’s hard to imagine that Uber and Lyft didn’t actually show up here today – it’s really disrespectful to the committee and a bad play on their part,” said Thomas Suozzi (D-New York).

The Democrat from New York and his Republican colleague from New Jersey, Chris Smith, threw their support of laws requiring enhanced vehicle identification to make it more difficult to impersonate an actual ride-sharing driver.

Beyond addressing public safety issues surrounding independent contractors, whether in ride-sharing or trucking, Congressional members also debated the topic of worker classification, a big issue coming out of California, as mentioned above. The law will go into effect on January 1, 2020, and will lower the threshold in California for classifying a worker as an employee. This is projected to have major cost implications for everyone from ride-sharing companies to freight companies who hire truck drivers on a daily basis.

Certain Congressional members have shown support for the AB5 legislation, detailing its goal of identifying the difference between independent and permanent employees. This will surely have freight companies rethink the way they hire employees and classify them in their truck insurance options. This issue is gaining attention for its effects on Uber and Lyft in a state where ride-sharing arguably got its start or at least its growth.

The debate around whether or not to elevate stricter tests on independent contractor status outside of California, using the state as a jumping-off point, was also brought up with Republicans on the Hill shooting it down and Democrats wanting to push it along.

“I don’t necessarily think that this committee should blindly follow the state of California,” said Pete Stauber (R-Minnesota). My state is much different than the state of California. It’s much more rural, and I think we have to have a broader look at this issue the transportation network companies, and how we can serve not only urban but rural communities.”

About Western Truck Insurance Services

Western Truck Insurance Services is a commercial truck insurance agency with roots dating back to 1954. We have evolved into a highly respected, professionally managed, truck and transportation insurance brokerage. The hallmark of our organization is our desire to provide unparalleled service. We go way beyond what you expect to receive from an insurance brokerage. Equipped with state of the art automation, Western Truck Insurance can provide you with lightning fast truck insurance quotes, customer service, Insurance certificates, and coverage changes.

Layoffs are Part of a Troubling Trend in Trucking

The trucking industry has been going through major reformation in recent years with the push to go more tech-savvy. Autonomous trucking operations are starting to take over the highways and byways in America with companies like Uber Freight and TuSimple planning more available freight deliveries in the coming months.

This push to go autonomous has some trucking companies and trucking professionals worried that the need for drivers will start to go away. But the entire trucking industry has started to see a major slowdown as a whole, adding to the doubts around truck driver job security.

In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the trucking industry saw more than 10,000 truckers lose jobs between July and September. The layoffs are a result of a major slowdown in manufacturing related to the US-China trade dispute that’s currently ongoing, marking a major indication of an entire economic recession in the U.S.

Long Time Coming?

Analysts have been showing concern around the slowdown in the economy for some time, pointing out the role that trucking is playing. Job growth overall has slowed down in recent months across a number of sectors with payrolls averaging about 161,000 per month compared to 223,000 the same timeframe last year. This has caused a stir among trucking companies who need to find ways to do everything from completing their current orders and budget for layoffs. Things like truck insurance and ordering new vehicles may have to be put on hold even though they may be pertinent to an everyday operation.

Trucking has historically been known for hiring and firing thousands of people at once, bringing in loads of people or cutting whole swaths at a moment’s notice. For instance, in the summer of 2018, the industry saw a boost of 37,000 jobs after loads of new trucks were ordered to keep up with the surge in everything from e-commerce to international trade. But with standstills at the U.S.-Mexico border for trucking freight and another standstill with China over trade tariffs, the trucking industry has been caught in the middle.

Recent layoffs also mirror an overall shift in the services offered through trucking, such as same-day or next-day delivery in the e-commerce space. There are still areas where the trucking industry is hiring regularly, such as courier and messaging service companies, which are seeing solid bumps in opportunity due to more activity on sites like Amazon and eBay.

National networks like UPS and FedEx, can provide the dedicated capacity to large-sized customers to make sure there are no gaps in freight service, but for smaller and mid-sized companies that lack scale, this trend could be dire in the long run, maybe even leading to the demise of a number of companies.

About Western Truck Insurance Services

Western Truck Insurance Services is a commercial truck insurance agency with roots dating back to 1954. We have evolved into a highly respected, professionally managed, truck and transportation insurance brokerage. The hallmark of our organization is our desire to provide unparalleled service. We go way beyond what you expect to receive from an insurance brokerage. Equipped with state of the art automation, Western Truck Insurance can provide you with lightning fast truck insurance quotes, customer service, Insurance certificates, and coverage changes.

Recent Bills Create Trouble for California Truckers

California Governor Gavin Newsom has been busy this year with deploying new state government bills surrounding truckers and other contract workers in the state. This fall, Newsom signed three bills into law that add more to the state’s hold on the trucking industry, adding more regulatory costs and compliance burdens on companies of all sizes, and possibly causing smaller companies to have to shudder.

Senate Bill 210, for example, creates a new emissions inspection program for commercial trucks. The law requires that a new Heavy Duty Vehicle Inspection and Maintenance Program for trucks and other heavy vehicles be implemented by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). CARB will also move forward with creating licensing standards for the inspection and repair shops throughout the state and oversee a new compliance certificate that truck drivers will have to keep with them in the vehicle. Additional fees will be put forth toward the new Truck Emissions Check Fund.

Clearing the Air

California air regulators have already put in motion that the trucking industry makes more efforts to be more energy-efficient and boast cleaner engines, cutting down on the smog. The Statewide Truck and Bus Rule set back in 2008 requires all heavy-duty trucks have new or retrofitted engines in order to operate on California roads. This major expense didn’t get a lot of legislative support, which is why the revised SB 210 bill was put in place to acknowledge the investments made by the trucking industry as a whole to upgrade the fleets on the road.

Trucking companies may now have to buy new equipment under another new bill, SB 44. The bill directs CARB to update its 2016 mobile source strategy to include a “comprehensive strategy for the deployment of medium-duty and heavy-duty vehicles.” The California senate wrote out an analysis of the bill, stating that CARB will be making its own new regulations to uphold and support more commercialization efforts of medium- and heavy-duty trucks that help to reduce greenhouse gases. A goal that has been speculated is that this will prompt manufacturers to produce more electric or hydrogen-based trucks.

Jeopardy on the Road

The bill that’s been getting the majority of the attention in the industry, however, is the recently passed AB 5, which will essentially end the practice of truckers working as independent contractors. Trucking firms will now have to hire drivers as employees instead of contract workers, making them responsible for everything from payroll taxes to workers’ compensation insurance, commercial truck insurance, and paid sick days, among other regular job perks.

Smaller companies are already starting to see the squeeze the bill is having on the industry, with some having to close up shop or lay off the majority of their drivers due to the new fees. The cost of trucking is built into the price of everything that is trucked throughout the state.

About Western Truck Insurance Services

Western Truck Insurance Services is a commercial truck insurance agency with roots dating back to 1954. We have evolved into a highly respected, professionally managed, truck and transportation insurance brokerage. The hallmark of our organization is our desire to provide unparalleled service. We go way beyond what you expect to receive from an insurance brokerage. Equipped with state of the art automation, Western Truck Insurance can provide you with lightning fast truck insurance quotes, customer service, Insurance certificates, and coverage changes.

FMCSA Proposes New Rule to Increase Service Hours Flexibility for Drivers

In August, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published a long-awaited proposal for changes to hours of service rules that would help add more flexibility for truck drivers on the road.

These hours of service rules, first adopted in 1937, specify the permitted operating hours of commercial truck drivers and have gone through multiple revisions. The newer mandate requiring electronic logging of hours that took effect in December 2017 featured some of the shortcomings in how these rules are applied in the everyday driving habits of truckers.

The FMCSA, through an advanced notice period of proposed rulemaking, asked for comments from the public on how to help add flexibility in realistic ways to the industry. Based on those responses, the regulatory body came up with a new rule to increase service hours flexibility.

What to Know

The FMCSA came up with five components to the rule change, helping to keep safety in the spotlight. Trucking companies can face claims from truck drivers if they feel overworked, leading to accidents or injuries on the road. Commercial trucking companies can take out commercial truck insurance plans to make sure they are covered in the event of a professional claim, especially with something like workers’ compensation insurance.

And while protecting against claims is a must for trucking companies, it’s good to know what changes were made to the hours of service. They include the following:

  • Changing the 30-minute break requirement to require a break after eight hours of uninterrupted driving time, not on-duty time, and allowing the break to be satisfied by a driver using on-duty/not driving status, rather than off-duty status. If a driver has to take a break to add fuel to their truck or use the restroom or grab a quick bite, that can count as their required break.
  • Allow drivers to split their required 10 hours off-duty into two period. This can include one period of at least seven consecutive hours in the sleeper berth and the other period of not less than two consecutive hours, either off-duty or in the sleeper berth. This would allow for a 7/3 or 8/2 split. Neither period would count against the driver’s 14-hour driving window.
  • Allow one off-duty break of at least 30 minutes, but no more than three hours, that would pause a truck driver’s 14-hour on-duty window, provided the driver takes 10 consecutive hours off-duty at the end of the work shift. This would alot drivers to take up to a three-hour break to bypass rush hour, without affecting their on-duty time.
  • Modify the adverse driving conditions exception, adding two hours to the maximum window during which driving is allowed. The current rule allows for that extra time but it still has to be within the maximum 14-hour workday. The proposal would allow that workday to be lengthened to as much as 16 hours in instances where things like extreme weather or major traffic congestion become a factor.
  • Change the short-haul exception available to certain commercial drivers by extending the drivers’ maximum on-duty period from 12 to 14 hours and lengthening the distance limit within which the driver may operate the wheel from 100 air miles to 150 air miles.

The FMCSA expressed, through a press release, that the proposed rule wouldn’t increase driving time and instead would continue to prevent trucking professionals from driving more than eight consecutive hours without at least a 30-minute change in duty status. What’s more, the FMCSA says the proposed changes are estimated to provide $274 million in savings for the economy in the United States as well as American consumers.

About Western Truck Insurance Services

Western Truck Insurance Services is a commercial truck insurance agency with roots dating back to 1954. We have evolved into a highly respected, professionally managed, truck and transportation insurance brokerage. The hallmark of our organization is our desire to provide unparalleled service. We go way beyond what you expect to receive from an insurance brokerage. Equipped with state of the art automation, Western Truck Insurance can provide you with lightning fast truck insurance quotes, customer service, Insurance certificates, and coverage changes.

Intentional Pairing: An Operations Change That Could Lead to Lowered Trucking Costs

Trucking companies have been operating with drop-and-hook operations for some time hoping to maximize efficiency. But while many trucking companies stick with this method, there’s little focus when it comes to matching tractors. In a new report from the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE), it’s pointed out that a change in operations to allow for more intentional pairing as it’s known could lower overall trucking costs and have more room for needful assets such as hiring and truck insurance.

But while it’s projected to help with efficiency and cut costs, some leaders in the industry argue against pairing, saying that while it’s a good idea, it’s not really feasible. Even with a net improvement of five to 10 percent, as stated by the NACFE, the case to change things up may not be compelling enough.

Studying The Road

In the study, titled “The Feasibility of Intentional Pairing,” the NACFE portrays pairing as a dream for engineers, allowing for the design of an integrated tractor-trailer combination to be operated in a cost-cutting way. The report, which spans 86 pages, outlines everything needed to change for a complete overhaul of how things get done on the road through pairing. Through a survey of 50 fleets, including big names in the industry like Werner, UPS, and PepsiCo, NACFE found that the majority of fleets operate in drop-and-hook with the focus on keeping the trailer in motion as much as possible.

The benefits of pairing would be on a sliding scale according to the NACFE’s findings. Fleet annual net MPGs would improve and intentionally pairing by model type would provide the best opportunity for gains on the road.

The ability to pull this kind of move off is still questionable as many variables are involved and would require a whole new way to go about moving freight around. From time to pricing to asset location, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution to an issue.

According to the NACFE, a growing number of GPS tracking systems and more data does present a new opportunity for a more efficient asset optimization in certain applications of freight, such as shipping beverages around. These commodities already operate in a certain manner as fleets pair weight-reduced tractors with weight-reduced trailers to maximize payload.

Altogether, NACFE, concluded that intentional pairing, while a great idea, and something to look forward to in the future, is not a full-fledged reality at this point. But the new technology does offer up opportunities through asset tracking and asset management. With data available around these entities, including driver information, tractor characteristics, asset status, locads, weather, and routes, better operational decisions can be made.

By combining this with the vehicle data, it could allow fleets to match trucks to certain shipping situations. Lightweight tractors could be paired up with lightweight trailers in order to maximize payload potential, even if it’s resulted in a shorter lifespan for those assets. Tractors with down-sped transmissions could be used for routes where technology can best be of benefit.

About Western Truck Insurance Services

Western Truck Insurance Services is a commercial truck insurance agency with roots dating back to 1954. We have evolved into a highly respected, professionally managed, truck and transportation insurance brokerage. The hallmark of our organization is our desire to provide unparalleled service. We go way beyond what you expect to receive from an insurance brokerage. Equipped with state of the art automation, Western Truck Insurance can provide you with lightning fast truck insurance quotes, customer service, Insurance certificates, and coverage changes.

FMCSA Update: California Yields to Preemption Determination

Following the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s determination in December of last year that federal law preempts California’s meal and rest break rules, many trucking companies are trying to determine how this is going to affect them with the California courts.  Los Angeles Superior Court became the first state court in California to apply the determination to armored truck driver claims for meal and break rules in the state; decided in favor of the Federal Rules.

Let’s take a closer look at what the preemption determination is and how trucking companies should proceed.

How to Proceed with This Ruling

 The recent court orders are good news for trucking businesses with drivers subject to federal rules, but these companies should still be concerned about the state objectives on enforcing the meal and break rules. Trucking companies can still be hit with claims from drivers, and their opportunistic attorneys when it comes to rest and meal breaks. Having a knowledgeable commercial truck insurance broker to consult with is an added avenue of defense.

Preemption Determination

The FMCSA decided in December of 2018 that federal transportation law preempts (takes priority over) California’s meal and rest break rules when a driver is subject to federal hours-of-service requirements. Essentially, what this means is that California’s laws were looked at as incompatible with the federal regulations, which is causing a burden on interstate commerce.

Applying the FMCSA’s Rules

In May of this year, a district court in California ruled on the issue and dismissed a claim made for truck drivers meal and rest breaks. The court made it known that it doesn’t have the authority to enforce the regulations around meal and rest breaks. Following that ruling, the Los Angeles Superior Court, as mentioned above, made its decision surrounding armored truck drivers’ meal and rest break claims, determining that federal rules governing the hours of service for both long- and short-haul drivers preempt (take priority over) the state rules in California.

The court ruled that it was “obligated to recognize the supremacy of federal law under the United States Constitution and the oath of judicial office”. The court also determined that it has no choice “but to respect and enforce the FMCSA Administration’s preemption determination without trying to second-guess its legal or policy correctness.”

This issue will be continually evolving. Keep an eye out for future blogs with updates on this ruling.

About Western Truck Insurance Services

Western Truck Insurance Services is a commercial truck insurance agency with roots dating back to 1954. We have evolved into a highly respected, professionally managed, truck and transportation insurance brokerage. The hallmark of our organization is our desire to provide unparalleled service. We go way beyond what you expect to receive from an insurance brokerage. Equipped with state of the art automation, Western Truck Insurance can provide you with lightning fast truck insurance quotes, customer service, Insurance certificates, and coverage changes.