Truck Driver’s Rights

Truck Driver’s Rights

Lots of truck drivers just assume they are exempt from California’s wage and hour laws. But, that’s just not true.

Let’s sort out the fact from fiction.

The Industrial Welfare Commission (“IWC”) orders provide an overtime exemption for drivers whose hours of service are regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation (“DOT”) and the California Highway Patrol (“CHP”).

Under the Motor Carrier Act, the DOT regulates vehicles:

  • With a gross weight of 10,000 pounds or more; AND
  • Are engage in interstate commerce.

This typically covers long-haul trucks.

The CHP regulates:

  • Motor trucks with more than two axles, truck tractors and trailers;
  • Two-axle motor trucks when towing a trailer with a combined length of 40 feet;
  • Buses, school buses, and farm labor vehicles;
  • Two-axle trucks of 26,000 pounds or less, transporting hazardous materials;
  • Two-axle trucks with a gross vehicle weight of 26,001 pounds.

If the truck is regulated by the DOT, then the overtime exemption applies. You need to ask, “Does the gross vehicle weight fall between 10,000-26,000 pounds?” and “Is the truck engaged in interstate commerce?” that is, “Does the truck cross state lines, or have the transported goods crossed state lines”?

If the truck is not subject to the DOT regulations, figure out whether the CHP regulates the hours of service pursuant to the criteria above. If it doesn’t then the truck driver is entitled to overtime. Plus, the exemption does not apply, and overtime may be owed, if the employee does not perform driving duties during the day. If the driver performs non-driving and driving duties, in the same workday, only the non-driving duties are used to calculate any possible overtime.

Either way, California law requires truck drivers, along with most other employees in the state, to take a 30-minute meal break in their first five hours on shift, and another break when five more hours have passed. Employees must also take a paid 10-minute rest break every four hours of working.

If you are truck driver, you may have more rights than you realize.

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