A new federal ruling requires California truck drivers to take unpaid rest breaks — but a flurry of lawsuits could change that

Unlike most other industries in California, the trucking industry is being shown to have a problematic federal ruling in regards to rest breaks. While a retail worker is granted a 30 minute mandated lunch break for every five hours of work, the trucking industry has come under fire from within the industry walls to change that requirement. According to the American Trucking Associations (ATA), there is a likelihood that truckers are taking 60% more paid rest breaks than they should which is resulting in a massive downturn in productivity for the industry in California. However, according to Miles Locker, attorney for California’s Labor Commissioner, and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra:

(T)he ATA’s arguments concerning lost productivity are speculative and unsupported. In this regard, the TTD states that the ATA’s argument is nothing more than a “‘back of the napkin’ speculation on lost productivity… (that) invokes the specter of damage to interstate shipping without evidence.”

The ATA and Western States Trucking Association have continued to contend that there should be no “paid rest breaks” and have gone as far as contacting the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to plead their case. Under the new Trump administration, there is a chance that doing this may be successful as it was not with previous Obama administration. However, the industry itself must keep an eye on and be mindful of the wellbeing and safety of their most prized assets: the truckers. With the current trucker shortage still looming large over the industry, alienating current and pushing away prospective truckers is not helpful for growth and stability of the industry.

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