California: FMSCA Preempts State Meal and Rest Rules for Short-Haul Drivers


All Employers with Short-Haul Driver Employees in CA


January 19, 2022


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In Espinoza v. Hepta Run, Inc., the California Court of Appeal stated that federal law preempts California meal and rest rules for short-haul truck drivers. On December 28, 2018, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a preemption order stating that California’s meal and rest break laws do not apply to drivers of commercial motor vehicles who are subject to the federal hours of service (HOS) requirements. Other litigation has addressed this issue for long-haul drivers (drivers that generally complete trips outside of a 150-mile radius from their work location), but the issue was unclear for short-haul drivers (drivers that generally drive within a 150-mile radius from their work location).

Under the HOS regulations, property-carrying commercial truck drivers are subject to daily and weekly limits on driving time and on-duty time and are mandated to have 10 consecutive hours off duty between shifts. In addition, long haul truck drivers are required to take a 30-minute rest break for every eight hours worked; short haul drivers are exempted from the 30-minute rest break requirement. (49 C.F.R. § 395.3(a)(ii).) The employee claimed that because short-haul drivers are exempt from the HOS rest break requirement, that they were not subject to the FMCSA order. However, the court noted that short-haul drivers were not specifically exempted from the FMCSA order and are still covered by other HOS regulations. By its language, short-haul drivers are generally covered by the FMCSA order.


Action Items

  1. Review federal and state wage and hour requirements with legal counsel to confirm obligations.
  2. Have meal and rest policies updated where applicable.

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Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser.

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