AMSA Urges Federal Preemption of California Meal & Rest Break Rules


October 29, 2018

ALEXANDRIA, VA — AMSA today submitted a public comment in response to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) request for input on a petition submitted by the American Trucking Associations that opposes California’s meal and rest break rules. The current California law requires drivers to take breaks at arbitrary times rather than when drivers need them, which exacerbates the demand for limited parking at rest stops and along highways. It also makes trucking less efficient and encourage states to develop similar regulations of their own that preempt federal hours-of-service regulations. The California meal and rest breaks significantly hamper interstate commerce. The American Moving & Storage Association therefore supports the American Trucking Associations’ petition for federal preemption of the California rules.

In addition, the moving and storage industry faces unique challenges if these laws are allowed to continue to preempt federal regulations. Household goods drivers run highly variable routes and must pack and load without the benefit of motorized fork lifts. As such, a majority of the driver’s on-duty time is not spent behind the wheel. According to industry data, the typical short-haul driver spends less than 30 percent of his or her daily duty-time behind the wheel. Additional and onerous rest break requirements force drivers to operate their vehicles during times of high traffic congestion. Single-day jobs are becoming multi-day projects due to California’s rigorous meal and rest break laws. This dramatically increases fuel and labor costs while providing no benefit to the public at large.

“We agree with the American Trucking Associations that the California meal and rest break rules are incompatible with federal law, which holds that state regulations that have no safety benefits or cause an unreasonable burden on interstate commerce are unenforceable,” said Vice President of Government Affairs Paul Milotte. “These regulations make it tougher for moving companies to operate in the state of California while providing little to no safety benefit, which is their stated intent. We urge the FMCSA to hold these regulations unenforceable under the federal statute.”

“The American Moving and Storage Association supports reasonable regulations that ensure public safety while promoting economic growth. California’s meal and rest break rules, however, harm public safety while hurting the ability of moving companies to operate within the state,” said President and CEO Scott Michael. “Federal interstate regulations are more than adequate to ensure that truck and van drivers take the meal and rest breaks they need. California’s meal and rest break rules should be struck down without delay.”

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The American Moving & Storage Association, home of the ProMover certification program, is the national trade association representing the nation’s moving and storage companies, which provide household goods moving services, specialized transportation for sensitive freight such as computers and trade show exhibits, and warehouse storage services. The association has approximately 3,500 members, including domestic and international companies and industry suppliers, and supports programs and activities that promote consumer protection, professional development, safety, and operational efficiency. Find out more at and