California Moves to Keep Its Own Rules for Trucker Hours

The latest court clash between California and the Trump administration will focus on truck drivers, as the state moved Thursday to overturn a federal decision allowing the industry to ignore the Golden State’s meal and rest breaks laws.

Since 2008, companies with truck drivers working in California have been required to follow the state’s rest and meal break laws after President George W. Bush’s administration decided California’s labor laws were not pre-empted by federal hours-of-service laws. The decision was a dose of relief for interstate truck drivers who were accustomed to driving long stretches without breaks on California’s highways.

At the urging of the trucking industry, the Trump administration wiped out the exemption in December 2018, finding that California’s rule was needlessly stricter than the federal standard. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration sided with trucking firms that didn’t like California forcing their drivers to pull over to rest and were tired of fighting class action lawsuits filed in the Golden State.