Overdrive Magazine

June 2019

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June 2019 | Overdrive | 17 A federal court in California has dismissed a lawsuit brought by a group of drivers against U.S. Xpress concerning the state's meal and rest break laws, signaling a potential tide change in the lingering legal issue. Precedent set by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in the 2014 case of Dilts v. Penske had tilted court rul- ings against carriers over the past five years. California employers must provide a 30-minute meal break for every five hours of work and a paid 15-minute rest break for every four hours of work. Since the Dilts decision that determined that fleets should comply with the break laws, carriers of all sizes – including those with as few as 15 trucks – have been hit with lawsuits from drivers seeking back payment for not being provided the state-required breaks. However, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in December rebuked the 2014 Dilts ruling and exempted carriers from having to provide the California- required breaks. FMCSA said the California laws conflict with federal hours of service regulations and that those regulations pre-empt the state's labor code. In the U.S. Xpress case, U.S. District Judge George H. Wu on May 2 granted a motion by the Chattanooga, Tennessee-based fleet seeking to dismiss the lawsuit. The decision "says that California meal and rest break rules cannot be enforced against motor carriers and their property-carrying commercial motor vehicle drivers who are oper- ating in the state," said attorney Jim Hansen, whose firm defended U.S. Xpress in the case. Hansen cautioned carriers to remain compliant with the California laws pending challenges to FMCSA's stand against the break laws. He said a decision in those cases, which have been brought by the Teamsters Union and the California Labor Commission, could take about two more years to resolve. "Don't change what you're doing if you're already allowing meal and rest breaks," he said. Hansen said he expects the 9th Circuit Court to uphold FMCSA's decision. — James Jaillet A federal judge granted a motion by Chattanooga, Tennessee-based U.S. Xpress seeking to dismiss the lawsuit. Court dismisses California breaks lawsuit RYDER SYSTEM opened a new mainte- nance facility in Norton, Massachusetts, off I-495, that replaces a smaller facility in West Bridgewater, Massachusetts. TRAVELCENTERS OF AMERICA opened a TA Truck Service center at its Fairburn, Georgia, location on Interstate 85, Exit 61. The facil- ity offers 24-hour maintenance and repair services with four service bays, two pit lanes, RoadSquad emergency breakdown assistance and TechOn-Site mobile maintenance service. JULY 14-20 will be the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance's annual Operation Safe Driver Week. This year's focus will be on speeding, but officers also will be looking for distracted driving, improper lane changes and other unsafe driver behaviors. ALABAMA LAWMAKERS passed a bill May 15 that lowers the age for intrastate truck drivers to 18. Truckers under 21 still will be restricted from hauling hazmat and/or oversized loads that require permitting. Alabama had been one of only two states, the other being Hawaii, to require drivers to be 21 to obtain a commer- cial driver's license to drive intrastate. AN EMERGENC Y DECLARATION was extended until July 2 for 16 states in the nation's mid-section due to historic flood- ing. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's declaration suspends hours of service regulations for truckers helping with relief efforts in Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, West Virginia and Wisconsin. PACCAR RECALLED about 1,830 model- year 2018-20 Kenworth T680 and T880 tandem-axle trucks equipped with parking brakes on a single axle and certain models of automated manual transmissions. Contact customer service at 918-259-3258 with recall number 19KWB.

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