FMCSA fielding comments on Calif., Wash. meal and rest break preemption waivers

Trucking news and briefs for Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2023:

FMCSA wants comment on meal and rest break petitions

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is requesting comments on petitions requesting waivers from the agency’s previous decisions to preempt meal and rest break (MRB) laws in California and Washington state.

Waiver petitions were filed by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters; the Truck Safety Coalition, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways and Parents Against Tired Truckers; William B. Trescott; and the state of California.

FMCSA said it will place each petition for waiver in the “Documents” section of the appropriate docket. FMCSA seeks comments on any issues raised in the above referenced petitions for waiver or otherwise relevant. The agency also asks that commenters address whether and to what extent enforcement of MRB rules have impacted the health and safety of drivers; whether enforcement of state MRB rules will exacerbate truck parking shortages; whether a state’s MRB rules would dissuade a company from operating in the state; and whether MRB enforcement will weaken or impact the resiliency of the supply chain.

[Related: FMCSA opens door for California, Washington to challenge its Trump-era meal-and-rest-break preemptions]

Comments can be filed at www.regulations.gov by searching Docket Nos. FMCSA-2018-0304 (California) and FMCSA-2019-0128 (Washington). Comments will be accepted for 60 days beginning Tuesday, Dec. 26.

FMCSA announced in August it was going to consider petitions for waivers from the preemptions.

On Dec. 21, 2018, FMCSA granted petitions filed by the American Trucking Associations and the Specialized Carriers and Rigging Association, and determined that California’s MRB rules are preempted by federal hours of service rules. On Nov. 27, 2020, FMCSA granted a petition filed by the Washington Trucking Association, determining that Washington’s MRB rules are also preempted by federal regulations. In granting these petitions, FMCSA said it determined the states’ MRB rules are more stringent than federal regulations and that they meet the three potential criteria for preemption under U.S. code.

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[Related: A small fleet v. the Teamsters]

Retail used-truck prices fall below $60K

ACT Research November Class 8 used truck salesRetail used truck prices fell to the lowest point since April 2021 in November.ACT ResearchUsed truck prices were down 6% in November to $59,300 at retail from October, marking the first month of a sub-$60,000 price since April 2021. That’s according to the latest “State of the Industry: U.S. Classes 3-8 Used Trucks” report by ACT Research.

That also marks a 27% year-over-year decrease in retail used-truck prices.

The number of units sold (same dealer sales) was also down 5% month-over-month in November, with average miles and age up 1% each. Sales are still up 33% year-over-year, with average miles down 5% and average age down 6%.

ACT Research Vice President Steve Tam said the firm’s “expectations are unchanged, with lower prices through the end of 2023 and a return to month-over-month growth toward the end of 2024.”

[Related: Used truck market back in buyers' favor, but money tight as ever]

TCA launches public voting for Highway Angels of the Year

The Truckload Carriers Association last week opened public voting for its TCA Highway Angels of the Year award. The annual awards program will take place at TCA’s March 2024 Annual Convention and will recognize three professional truck drivers who have demonstrated exceptional courage and courtesy on the nation's roadways.

This year, six finalists have been selected, and the public is invited to cast their votes to determine the top three drivers who will be crowned TCA Highway Angels of the Year. 

This will be the first year that three winners will be recognized, expanding from just one in years’ past. The six finalists are:

Voting and the six finalists stories are available here. Voting is open through Jan. 10.