07.28.2022 | Newsletters

Truck Drivers: The Never-Ending Twists and Turns on Federal Regulation and Its Impact on State Law

Two recent decisions affected questions of the applicability of federal regulation of truck drivers on state laws. First, in Garcia v. Superior Court (2022) 2022 WL 2205608, a California appellate court found that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (“FMCSA”) December 28, 2018, opinion on preemption of California meal and rest break rules applies only prospectively.

The FMCSA’s December 28, 2018, opinion concluded that California’s meal and rest break rules are laws “on commercial motor vehicle safety” and are, therefore, preempted by the Motor Carrier Safety Act, reversing its prior position. Under the 2018 determination, California may no longer apply its meal and rest break rules to drivers who are subject to the FMCSA rules.

Based on the language of the FMCSA’s preemption determination, the court in Garcia found that employee claims based on conduct prior to December 28, 2018, were not barred by the preemption decision, which governed only conduct after that date.

Second, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition for certiorari in California Trucking Ass’n., Inc. v. Bonta (2022) 2022 WL 2347627, leaving in place the Ninth Circuit’s ruling that application of California’s independent contractor law, as codified in AB5, is not preempted by the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act. As such, the propriety of classifying owner-operators providing trucking services will continue to be analyzed under AB5.

Related practice team: Labor and Employment

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