Trucking’s exemption from Calif. break laws upheld

Court upholds trucking’s exemption to Calif. break laws
A high-level federal court has sided with the U.S. DOT in exempting trucking companies from California state laws that required motor carriers to provide paid rest breaks and regular meal breaks to truck operators. The regs had since 2014 been the source of litigation against trucking companies operating in the state who had not provided those breaks to drivers. 

However, in December 2018, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration intervened, granting a petition filed by the American Trucking Associations asking for a waiver from the regs for interstate carriers. ATA argued that the California laws interfered with federal hours of service regulations and thus were superseded by federal regs, according to the 1996 Federal Aviation Administration Act. FMCSA pointed to the 1996 FAAAA as its justification for the waiver. 

The Teamsters sued FMCSA in February 2019, hoping to invalidate its decision. 

Last week, however, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed that FMCSA had the discretion to issue a waiver from California regs for interstate carriers under the FAAAA statute. 

The only court above the 9th Circuit is the U.S. Supreme Court. It’s unclear whether the Teamsters will appeal to the nation’s high court on the issue.

Canadian ELD mandate: No enforcement delay as yet despite growing calls
As reported in Overdrive in December, the Canadian electronic logging device mandate’s ELD-certification procedures have been slow to get off the ground. With the mandate’s enforcement deadline looming June 12 this year, fewer than five months hence, some in the Canadian trucking community continue to emphasize the short time window that carriers have to ensure compliance with a certified device.

As of Jan. 19, said Mike Millian, president of the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada, still zero devices had been certified by a single third-party certification body, itself approved only late last year. Millian, speaking attendant to a webinar hosted by his group, added that, given time estimates of four-six weeks for certification procedures, if a device were submitted for certification “this week, the earliest we’ll see a certified device is the middle of March. That gives you three months to comply with a regulation. … If we’re being honest, I don’t think anybody can say that’s reasonable.”

Millian and his group, joined by other associations as time continues to tick down to the mandate, he said, are calling for a deferment of enforcement in some ways analogous to what U.S. authorities offered after the first December 2017 enforcement deadline for the U.S. mandate.

The deferment would give more time to carriers on both sides of the border to adequately determine whether their chosen devices, or those they’ve yet to adopt, were going to be compliant with the rule. 

“A six-to-twelve-month, announced enforcement deferral will allow industry time to prepare,” Millian said, time to get the devices in and do what they need to do.”