In Dilts v. Penske Logistics, the Ninth Circuit settled a split in the lower federal courts in California, and held the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994 (“FAAAA”) does not preempt California’s meal and rest break requirements with respect to motor carriers.
A class of delivery drivers and installers sued Penske, an interstate motor carrier, alleging the Company violated California’s meal and rest break laws. Penske argued state meal and rest break laws such as California’s were preempted under the FAAAA because the state laws imposed timing requirements on when and how long a driver must take a break and, therefore, restricted the routes that the motor carrier could select.
The court disagreed and ruled that California’s meal and rest break laws were not preempted because they are not sufficiently related to the prices, routes, or services of an interstate motor carrier.
Based on the decision, interstate motor carriers in California are now required to follow California’s, and potentially other states, meal and rest break laws. All motor carriers should examine their break policies to ensure compliance.