Today during ABA's Bus Industry Safety Council winter meeting, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Acting Administrator Jim Mullen announced that FMCSA has granted ABA's petition stating that California's Meal and Rest Break rules are preempted under 49 U.S.C. 31141 as applied to passenger-carrying commercial motor vehicle drivers subject to FMCSA's hours of service regulations.
"This is the right thing to do," said Peter Pantuso, president and CEO of ABA. "We need uniform regulatory scheme, which is what FMCSA issues and enforces. This rule did not provide any safety benefit, only a burden for businesses."
The FMCSA agreed with ABA that federal law provides for preemption of state laws on commercial motor vehicle safety that are additional to or more stringent than federal regulations if they (1) have no safety benefit; (2) are incompatible with federal regulations; or (3) would cause an unreasonable burden on interstate commerce.
According to its announcement, the FMCSA stated it has determined that California's MRB rules are laws on commercial motor vehicle safety, that they are more stringent than the agency's hours of service regulations, that they have no safety benefits that extend beyond those already provided by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, that they are incompatible with the federal hours of service regulations, and that they cause unreasonable burden on interstate commerce.
The California MRB rules, therefore, are preempted under 49 U.S.C. 31141(c).
ABA member Terry Fischer of Transportation Charter Services in Orange, Calif., said this announcement is a huge relief to his business, as well as others, because this was a burden that they didn't know they could survive.
"Given what we faced with the MRB it has been difficult for our business," said Fischer. "This is such great news. This announcemnt, given the negative affects we have been feeling from the MRB, I just want to say thank you to ABA and GAP team for all of their support they have provided helping us navigate our way through this."