Will California Require Truck Drivers to Take Unpaid Rest Breaks?

In December of 2018, a ruling from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) stated that California trucking companies, while still requiring their employees to take rest breaks, are exempt from providing truck drivers paid rest. The ruling has been controversial to say the least and has already been set up to be challenged in court. Teamsters have already sued over the decision and petitions have been signed to reverse the ruling.

According to the FMCSA, there have been more crashes involving trucks in the northern California area, heading into Oregon. This has been due, in part, to a decline in parking. If a trucking professional can’t park and take a break, they simply keep on driving. This is a reason why it’s important for commercial truck insurance to be in place to protect drivers, their trucks and their companies.

The FMCSA holds the position that paid rest breaks reduce productivity, so not paying for them will motivate drivers to be more efficient in their work. Teamsters unions, on the other hand, are arguing that federal laws can’t overrule California’s state labor laws. Another argument from teamsters is that not having breaks covered will actually motivate drivers to forgo taking the right amount of rest while they are behind the wheel, causing them to decline in health, focus and safety.

Currently, the American Trucking Association has stated that it wants to do away with rest breaks altogether, promoting the idea that rest breaks would be bad for corporations. But attorneys for those who are suing say that the ATA’s arguments related to loss of productivity are not really supported.

In California, state labor laws stipulate specify that workers should get a 30-minute meal break for shifts longer than five hours and also that transportation workers rest for 10 minutes every four hours. The U.S. Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit in California ruled that carriers in the state must make sure that truck drivers get the right amount of rest and meal breaks.

The ATA has appealed to Congress before when it comes to these rulings, pleading over and over that rest breaks are bad for business. They’ve even gone as far as looking for support from the Trump Administration. The only question now is how will this all play out in court? Will it be a long, drawn-out fight?

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.

Navigating CA CARB Regulations- 6 Essential Resources

If you drive a tractor-trailer in California, you’ve likely heard about the new regulations from the California Air Resources Board (CARB). The new environmental regulations have been slowly taking effect over the last several years and are now starting to impact small fleets and solo drivers. If you aren’t yet impacted by CARB regulations, you soon will be.

These regulations are complex and varied. The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of your vehicle, the size of your fleet, the type of trailer you haul, and even where you drive (like ports and intermodel rail yards) impact which regulations apply to you and when they start applying.

To help you wade through the confusion, we’ve prepared a list of helpful resources to help you better understand the CA CARB rules. Keep checking back on our blog as well. We’ve got posts in the works to help you understand the changes so you can… Travel with Care.

·         Which Regulations Apply to You?– Are you confused about which regulations apply to you? This helpful questionnaire from the CA Air Resources Board will prepare an easy list of regulations based on your answers to 3 simple questions. If you have 5 minutes, you can quickly check out which regulations apply to you.

·         Take a Class– If you learn better in person, take a class. There are several classroom training courses available. Many of the courses (all of the ARB Compliance Training Courses) are free to take. Some are offered as webinars; if you have a computer and internet, you can attend wherever your next load takes you and you can even find archived webinar recordings for some of the courses. Checkout the complete list of available courses (click on the course title to see dates, times, and other registration information).

·         Watch a Video– While you’re waiting for that next load (provided you’re in a safe location of course), take a few minutes out to watch a short video on the CARB regulations. You’ll find a variety of informative videos on the ARB TruckStop official YouTube page.

·         Read a Summary– One of the best summaries of the regulations can be found here. It doesn’t cover everything, but it’s a great place to start.

·         Learn the Penalties– Do these new rules really matter? Check out the list of penalties if you don’t comply.

·         Get Help– Sometimes you just can’t find all the answers you need online. If you need personalized assistance, complete the Diesel Assistance Form and you can receive a reply by phone or email. You can also call in yourself at 1-866-6Diesel. Calls are answered between 8 and 5 Pacific Time Monday-Friday and a 24 hour voicemail system is available.

The CA CARB rules are confusing, but if you drive in California, you do need to learn them. Take a few minutes today and start looking at these resources so you can be in compliance.