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Updates to laws and programs for drivers in different states.

Washington and California: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration seeks waiver requests on rest rules decision.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced last August that it is actively seeking to receive requests for exemptions from its previous decision to rescind break rules in California and Washington. Requests will be considered only until November 13.

The states of California and Washington have meal and rest break laws, which stipulate that employers are required to offer employees of freight transportation companies a 30-minute break for every five hours worked and a 10-minute break for every four hours worked.

Some trucking groups argue that the rules cause disruptions to interstate commerce because they are “incompatible” with federal rest laws and put drivers at risk by having to make continuous stops on the road.

In 2018, the American Trucking Associations and the Specialized Carriers and Rigging Association petitioned the FMCSA to make the necessary adjustments, and the association granted the request. In 2020, the agency accepted a similar request from the Washington Trucking Associations.

At the time, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration concluded that state standards were stricter than federal standards and did not provide additional safety benefits. Currently, the FMCSA has established that it is open to receiving requests for exemption from its old decision.

It states that petitions for California and Washington’s break rules must include not only the argument that the FMCSA erred in its previous decision, but that the agency encourages petitioners to include stronger arguments that do not rely solely on of its conclusion. You will be receiving these requests until November 13, 2023.       

Colorado: The Mountain Rules, campaign for truck safety.

The Colorado Department of Transportation presented “The Mountain Rules” campaign, in which the main theme is trucker safety when traveling on the state’s characteristic roads and rocky terrain. In conjunction with the Colorado State Patrol, the Colorado Motor Carriers Association, and the PrePass and Drivewyze Safety Alliance, the campaign will take place in the coming months.

This is a comprehensive safety program to educate and inform both transportation companies and drivers themselves about the difficulties of traveling through Colorado’s mountainous terrain. This campaign seeks to prevent and avoid dangers, as well as offer resources and improvements in road infrastructure.

Among what the campaign promises is updating information on brake check locations for truckers on eastbound Interstate 70, and at all eastbound stations of the Eisenhower/Johnson tunnels.

It also plans to convert the Genesee Park exit ramp into a defined short-term parking area, allowing drivers a place to perform equipment checks before the final descent to the Golden, Colorado area.

Lastly, this campaign will gather information on the feasibility of a new ramp or other measures that will work to mitigate potential runaway trucks on the Mount Vernon Canyon ramp.

California: AB5 law and the reclassification of independent contractors.

The law AB5 (California’s Assembly Bill 5) was enacted in 2019 with the objective of eliminating cases of workers who were actually employees classified as independent contractors.

On October 27, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, OOIDA, stated that this law is intervening against the state’s worker classification law, resulting in genuine independent contractors being unnecessarily reclassified as employees.

According to OOIDA statements, AB5 destroys the independent contractor model in the trucking industry rather than simply eliminating cases of misclassification.

The state of California defends the law, with the support of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. A hearing is scheduled for November 13, which will provide a solution to the current conflict.

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