A provision tacked on to a proposed aviation bill would prevent states from requiring truckers to take longer rest brakes than federal law requires.
Currently, 22 states require truck drivers to take more or longer rest breaks than the FMCSA requirement for a half hour break following 8 hours of work.
Teamster president James Hoffa opposes the bill, claiming that the lawmakers are being pushed by the ATA. Hoffa says the ATA’s goal is to keep truckers behind the wheel as much as possible.
Hoffa also warns that the provision could have widespread impact on how truck drivers are paid: “In fact, the provision would also limit how a truck driver could be paid and not even compensate them for safety procedures like performing pre-trip inspections. In addition to robbing drivers of pay, the language could prevent drivers from collecting workers compensation and sick leave benefits, among other worker benefits. In short, it overrules the fundamental principle that all workers should be paid for the time they work.”
Safety groups fear that if the bill passes, it will be used to pressure truckers to keep driving even if they are fatigued.
The bulk of the bill introduced by Rep. Bill Shuster is designed to overhaul the Federal Aviation Administration.