Trucking lobbies plan to ban state-level rules on driver pay with old amendment

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Dive Brief:

  • The Denham Amendment — a legislative piece seeking to bar state level involvement in driver pay and break time — may soon reach Congress again, CCJ Digital reported Tuesday. If the amendment gets attached to a bill this year, it would be at least the third time in the same number of years trucking lobbies attempt to pass the legislation.
  • Proponents such as the American Trucking Association point to various cases where corporations are forced to deliver back pay to drivers for time on forced breaks, although the breaks are legally required and often used for sleep.
  • Opponents include the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, which believe the battle is in part a way of keeping wages low.   

Dive Insight:

Penalized for obeying the law? Both sides seem to feel the heat.

At issue is state control over driver welfare, as well as an alleged lack of proof that the safety rules and forced breaks enacted during the Obama administration could be directly traced to reduced accident rates.

Also at issue are the lawsuits that resulted from pay disputes regarding mandatory rest breaks. Simply put, transport companies large and small don’t want to reimburse drivers for time off the road, while drivers argue that if they have to stop driving by law, they shouldn’t be penalized. Transport companies fear lawsuits, while drivers fear reduced wages. 

Though the Amendment failed at last presentation, plans to reintroduce it to the new Republican-controlled Congress are certain as transportation lobbies join to ensure their interests are represented in an anti-regulation legislative environment. 

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Filed Under: Logistics
Top image credit: Sam Butler via Flickr

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