Three lawmakers are sponsoring an amendment to an aviation reauthorizing bill aimed at ensuring nationwide uniformity for meal-and-rest break rules for truckers.
Reps. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.), Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), and Jim Costa (D-Calif.) are seeking consideration on the House floor for an amendment that would clarify regulations related to motor carriers in a 1994 aviation policy law.
The House Committee on Rules is scheduled to meet April 24 to outline the debate parameters for a bill that would reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration. The committee also is expected to decide which amendments to make in order during floor debate. Senate consideration would follow soon after.
The House legislation sponsored by Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) would reauthorize the FAA through fiscal 2023, and would seek to improve how federal agencies plan for the mitigation of natural disasters. The FAA’s authorization expires Sept. 30.
“This bill provides many important reforms that will help U.S. manufacturers and job creators lead in a very competitive global marketplace,” said Shuster on April 13. “This legislation ensures long-term investment and stability in aviation infrastructure for America’s large, small and rural communities, and it addresses issues to help maintain the safety of our system.”
An aviation reauthorizing measure in the Senate does include a meal-and-rest-break provision that would ensure nationwide uniformity of rules for truckers.
American Trucking Associations has expressed support for such a provision, which the group said would clarify a requirement in a 1994 aviation law to block a 2011 law in California. That state’s law requires employers to provide a “duty-free” 30-minute meal break for employees who work more than five hours a day as well as a second “duty-free” 30-minute meal break for people who work more than 10 hours a day.
“ATA continues to work on behalf of an industry that is being victimized by unscrupulous trial lawyers and their political allies. We believe there should be a single set of clear and effective rules governing driver safety and wellness from coast to coast,” Bill Sullivan, ATA executive vice president of advocacy, told Transport Topics on April 19. “Having 48 states follow California’s lead in redrafting these rules to benefit the plaintiffs’ bar would have disastrous impacts on highway safety and on the efficiency of our supply chain. We will continue to press Congress to reassert the federal government’s right to oversee interstate commerce in accordance with the 1994 FAA authorization and preempt California’s attempt to rewrite our nation’s laws.”
Opposition for the provision has stemmed primarily from the Teamsters, whose leadership has argued its adoption would hinder safety.