Conflicts between state and federal law have long been a problem for employers. This is more than a mere inconvenience: at times, it can remove safety rules which protect workers and prevent employers from incurring liability. A new law moving through Congress would remove safety protects in the most dangerous industry for American workers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, truck drivers recorded more fatal injuries in 2015 than any other occupation.
The Mercury News reports that the bill was written by Representative Jeff Denham, and would prevent states from setting their own rules for truck drivers’ work hours. Thus California would be prohibited from enforcing its own transportation safety laws, which require a thirty-minute meal break after five hours of work, and a ten-minute rest break after four hours of work. Instead, truck drivers driving through California would be subject to federal trucking regulations, which only require a thirty-minute meal break after eight hours of driving. Lobbyists claim that, while at least twenty states have set their own rest break laws, the bill is largely aimed at curbing the influence of California law in the trucking industry. It is also worth noting that Representative Denham’s campaigns have received more than $193,000 from the trucking industry since he first ran for Congress in 2010. Continue reading