Letter to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on Trucking Petition

October 29, 2018 

Administrator Ray Martinez 

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration 

1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590-0001 

Re: Over The Road Drivers Urge Rejection of Petition FMCSA-2018-0304 to Preempt California Meal and Rest Break Rules 

Dear Administrator Martinez: 

The American Trucking Association (ATA) has petitioned the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to preempt California’s longstanding meal and rest break laws. We are Over The Road Drivers that drive in California. We strongly urge you to reject this petition. 

Right now it is imperative that the ATA’s most recent and aggressive advancement towards their war on Trucker Safety and wages is rejected. 

Since the ATA lost their 3-year fight to include the #DenhamAmendment into Major Legislation, (which was their #1 priority against truckers, also referred to as the F4A preemption)... ATA once again is going to the FMCSA to reach the same goals that the #DenhamAmendment would have. 

Their present petition with the FMCSA is misleading to drivers, Deliberately!! It addresses "California’s Meal and Rest Break Rules; Petition for Determination of Preemption" https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=FMCSA-2018-0304 

This Petition is a direct and insulting attack on driver safety and wages for drivers in every state. 

The ATA lost their fight in Congress with the Denham Amendment - that tried to stop driver meal and rest breaks and not requiring trucking companies to pay for all time worked, including detention pay. 

The ATA is trying to circle back to the FMCSA, which rejected this same Petition in 2008. Time and again the ATA has proven that they don’t care about public safety and safety and wage rights of drivers. And that includes Over The Road drivers. 

The ATA wants to Preempt all of CA state labor laws (just like the Denham Amendment would have), by using the smoke screen “Meal and Rest Break” preempting state laws with OPTIONAL rest breaks and unpaid meal breaks. 

ATA argument for preemption includes untruths and scare tactics to drivers, claiming that they will be “forced” to stop and pull over every few hours and try to find parking in order to take these breaks. 

There is nothing farther from the truth. These Meal and Rest Breaks are required to be offered to drivers to ensure they may take them if needed. 

Another ATA argument untruth is their statement that the Federal HOS rules address driver fatigue better than California, as drivers are allowed to stop and rest anytime in Federal Law, but California only allows them to stop every few hours to rest. WRONG! 

There is NOTHING in CA law which prevents drivers from stopping as many times as they feel the need. These rest breaks laws ensure that breaks will be made available to drivers, specifically to those carriers who are pushing their drivers and frown upon taking too many breaks to rest. 

Make no mistake, if the ATA is successful at Preempting a States Labor laws which protect employees from optional safety Meal and Rest Breaks, it would also open the door to Preempting ALL of California labor laws, including their law that requires carriers to pay drivers for all time working, including Detention Time. 

Drivers have not had a significant wage increase in decades and yet the cost of living continually increases. The few cents per mile increase hardly makes a dent for the hours that they spend at loading docks waiting without pay, eating up their 14-hour clock. Drivers are paid by the mile and regulated by a clock. Truth is, drivers are kept waiting and waiting. How can getting less rests and breaks help drivers in light of all this? Of course, it can not and will not.

In the face of this, the ATA wants to decrease driver safety and the public safety with this Petition. This Petition is all about increasing trucking company profits at the expense of driver safety, driver wages and the publics safety. No one should be fooled by the ATA’s rhetoric to the contrary.

The ATA arguments in their current Petition are the same tired arguments that have been rejected before because they reduce driver safety, reduce driver wages and reduce public safety. 

As Over The Road drivers that drive in California, we respectfully urge the FMCSA to reject the ATA’s Petition to Preempt California law that protects drivers and protect the public. 

Very sincerely,

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