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Bipartisan Congressional Letter Regarding California’s Meal and Rest Break Rules

Dear Secretary Chao:

The safe and efficient flow of interstate commerce is critical to our nation's economy, and, to accomplish this goal, it is important that there is a consistent and reliable national framework for the operation of commercial motor vehicles. As such, we support the Department's review of the impact of state meal and rest break requirements for commercial drivers who work in interstate commerce and are therefore subject to the Department's jurisdiction over their hours of service.

Under Section 31141 of Title 49 of the United States Code, the Department of Transportation has the authority to review state laws and regulations on commercial motor vehicle safety and determine they are not enforceable based on statutory criteria set by Congress. Specifically, the Secretary has authority to consider the effect a state law or regulation has on interstate commerce and to review whether it causes an unreasonable burden on interstate commerce, is incompatible with a regulation prescribed by the Secretary, or has no safety benefit. This authority exists to address instances where a state law or regulation may be redundant or overlap with federal regulations. The trucking industry has raised concerns that state meal and rest break laws cause a significant impact on the industry and impair the safe and efficient delivery of goods.

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