Trucking News Online

Penske Asks Supreme Court to Review Truck Driver Meal and Rest Law

January 7, 2015 By: Trucking News Staff Tags: News, Regulations

Penske Logistics filed a petition Tuesday that seeks to have the United States Supreme Court review the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in the matter of Dilts et al. v. Penske Logistics and Penske Truck Leasing Co.

At issue is whether a long-standing federal transportation law that promotes lower rates and better service by ensuring that rates and services are determined by competitive market forces rather than a patchwork of varying state laws, preempts California’s state laws requiring mandatory meal and rest breaks.

California’s meal and rest break laws directly impact the routes, services and prices of trucking companies, such as Penske, operating in California. Penske maintains the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994, which prohibits states from enacting laws related to prices, routes or services of a motor carrier, preempts California meal and rest break laws as applied to motor carriers.

In 2011, the U.S. District Court ruled in Penske’s favor on this issue, but the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned this decision last year. Penske argues that the Ninth Circuit’s decision is at odds with Supreme Court decisions in other preemption cases.

Penske is seeking Supreme Court review claiming the case has an impact on how the trucking industry operates and disrupts competitive market forces.

“Safe drivers are a top priority at Penske and we already encourage our drivers to take their necessary safety rest and meal breaks while driving their routes and serving our customers’ delivery needs,” said Michael Duff, senior vice president and general counsel for Penske.

“This case is about federal law preempting state laws that relate to rates, routes and services offered by trucking companies. We’re asking the Supreme Court to resolve this issue for our company and the trucking industry. The Ninth Circuit’s decision significantly impacts the entire transportation industry as well as the flow of commerce and ultimately impacts consumers.”

Penske is being represented in the Supreme Court appeal by Latham & Watkins of Washington, D.C. and Scopelitis, Garvin, Light, Hanson & Feary of Indiana.