What Are California’s Rest Period Laws for Truckers?

a trucker sleeping

Federal and state regulations mandate the number of hours that truckers may drive before they must take a break. These hours-of-service regulations vary between the federal government and many state governments, particularly California’s government.

There has been a history of conflict between California’s hours-of-service regulations and the regulations set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Learn the outcome of this legal battle and the rules that truckers in California must follow.

What Was the Decision in IBT v. FMCSA?

California and the federal government had different rules related to the number of hours truckers may drive without a break. Under California law, truckers must take a 30-minute off-duty rest break for every five hours worked and a 10-minute off-duty break for every four-hour period.

Federal law, on the other hand, required fewer breaks, less often. In the court case IBT v. FMCSA, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the FMCSA’s decision to preempt California’s meal and rest break rules. The court upheld that interstate drivers are exempt from California’s meal and rest break rules because they are “incompatible” with federal regulations.

Barring an unexpected reversal by the U.S. Supreme Court, truckers in California will satisfy their meal and break obligations under federal regulations without the need to abide by California’s laws in this matter.

Specifically, these federal rules mandate a break of at least 30 consecutive minutes after 8 cumulative hours of driving time.

Injured in a Truck Accident? We’re Here to Help

Sometimes, the federal mandates for rest breaks are not sufficient to prevent drowsy truckers from driving. Additionally, some truckers choose to violate federal regulations. If you or someone you love has been injured in a crash caused by a drowsy trucker, our Los Angeles trial attorneys can protect your rights and help you recover the compensation you deserve.

Call Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP at (866) 634-4525 to schedule a free consultation.

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