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The crux of the case is whether a long-standing federal transportation law that seeks to promote 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.
The state's 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 later overturned this decision in 2014. Penske argues that the Ninth Circuit’s decision is at odds with Supreme Court decisions in other preemption cases.
“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.”
Source: Penske Logistics
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