The Washington Trucking Associations, Inc. has petitioned for a ruling to preempt our state’s longstanding employment law as it pertains to meal and rest break rules for commercial motor vehicle drivers.
The purpose behind the rule is to protect the public, as well as truck drivers. The petition is an attack on Washington state’s employment law and state rights generally.
We oppose the petition, because we see safety as the most important aspect of trucking and the transport of goods by commercial drivers.
It is well-known that truck driver fatigue contributes to the unsafe operation of commercial vehicles on Washington state’s roads.
It is undisputed that physical and mental fatigue impairs performance. The Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS) reported that 13 percent of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers were considered to have been fatigued at the time of their crash.
The risks associate with driver fatigue is simply not worth any potential gains from reducing the requirements that commercial drivers have certain meal and rest breaks.
A number of health and safety organizations have signed a letter in opposition to the Washington Trucking Associations request; see Group Letter to FMCSA Opposing WA Trucking Petition.
States have long had the power to regulate the employment relationship and to protect worker health and safety. Washington exercised its traditional power when enacting the meal and rest provision in its administrative code.
The WTA petition, which asks for an FMCSA ruling covering one class of workers in one state, is an egregious attack on one state’s employment law and states’ rights generally.
We join them in opposing this request.
Attorney Kevin Coluccio, Coluccio Law
For more on Washington trucking law, check out the TruckingWatchdog blog.