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Denham Amendment defeated in FAA bill BUT it’s not over- ATA sends petition to FMCSA


Denham Amendment defeated in FAA bill but it’s not over- ATA sends petition to DOT

Petition from American Trucking Associations sent to FMCSA Administrator Ray Martinez on Sept. 24, 2018, regarding meal and rest break requirements.

Docket ID: FMCSA-2018-030  Make Comments
California’s Meal and Rest Break Rules; Petition for Determination of Preemption

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration


Since 2015, the American Trucking Associations, and the Western States Trucking Association, along with the 50 ATA-affiliated state trucking associations, the National Private Truck Council, the Truckload Carriers Association and the Truck Renting and Leasing Association , have been lobbying Lawmakers to include the Denham Amendment in major pieces of Legislation and have failed.

These proponents of the Denham Amendment claim Federal Government law should supersede all state laws, including state labor laws which allow for optional paid rest breaks and unpaid meal breaks as well as requiring employers (carriers) to pay drivers for all time worked such as waiting time/detention time.
In other words, the ATA and alike, believe drivers should only legally have to be paid for the miles they drive, no matter how many hours they work.

NOTE:  2015 Truckload drivers paid only miles run. A study in 1998 by
Martin Labbe Assoc commissioned by the Truckload Carriers Assoc. reveals truckload drivers spend about 40 Hrs. per week waiting loading and unloading.

How to Ensure Fair Trucker Wages in the 2015 Transportation Bill

ATTENTION Truckers: Tell Congress to Remove Section 134 of the House T-HUD Appropriations bill in the final spending package

Anti-Trucker wage language in 2 bills to ensure cheap labor and high profits

ATA’s Myths and Facts about Denham Amendment Busted

A legislative package disclosed by Congress this past week to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration bill does not include the Denham Amendment which means that carriers will remain obligated to follow state labor laws, offering drivers optional meal breaks and rest breaks and also requiring them to pay drivers for all time worked.  Since 2015 this is the 6th time the ATA has attempted to have the Denham Amendment added to major legislation. They have failed to do so.

The new bill, H.R. 302 (the Aviation, Transportation Safety, and Disaster Recover Reforms & Reauthorizations), is scheduled for consideration on the House and Senate floors this week.

Proponents of the Denham Amendment base their claims of
“State Preemption Rights” on
the 1994 FAAA ACT.

SEC. 601.

Except as provided in subparagraph (B), a State, political subdivision of a State,or political authority of 2 or more States may not enact or enforce a law, regulation, or other provision having the force and effect of law related to a price, route, or service…  page 38 Sec 601

1994 faa bill

1994 FAA bill

The 1994 FAAA  was NOT meant to preempt state labor laws. It was meant to regulate Transportation of Property. ( Freight)

The purpose of the “anti-trucker”Denham Amendment
1)  Regulate driver wages based on changing the meaning and intention of 1994 FAAA
2) Preempt State Rights-and not have to pay drivers for all time ( including detention time) but rather only miles driven.
3) Preempt state labor laws which require carriers to offer optional 10 minute rest breaks and 30 minute meal breaks.  Read more: “The Truth about Meal and Rest Breaks”

To understand more about the History of the Denham Amendment
STOP New Legislation-Truck Driver Wages at Risk

FAA Reauthorization bill

How it all started?  The U.S. Supreme Court had denied motions filed by trucking companies seeking to overturn  lower court rulings that upheld a California statute requiring carriers to offer  a paid 10-minute rest break every four hours and a 30-minute meal period every five hours for truck drivers. These breaks were optional to employees.  However, even if the trucker waived their 10 minute rest break, the carrier still had to pay them for it.  But what the carriers really didn’t want to do, is to have to pay drivers separately for all time worked, including waiting time, aka detention time.

The carriers took their case to court and lost all the way up to the state Supreme Court. When the U.S. Supreme court refused to hear their case, they then took the next step… LOBBY LAWMAKERS to change law. (Just as the ELD in Map 21.)

The most recent attempt in major legislation to include the Denham Amendment was passed by the House in the  FAA reauthorization bill, H.R.4.,April 2918. The Senate had not included Denham language in their version of the bill.
Read more Truckers claim small victory for Denham Amendment House vote as they continue their fight on to the Senate.

Now, according to the preview, the chances of the Denham Amendment in the most recent multi-year FAA bill ( H.R.302) are almost zero, with the bill hailed as a last-minute effort by lawmakers in the Senate and the House to “get it done” before the Sept 30th deadline.

An earlier version of the FAA reauthorization bill ( Hr.R. 4), which was passed by the House in May, included the Denham Amendment.

So is the war on Trucker wages over?  According to the ATA CEO manning…NO! The ATA believes that offering meal and rest breaks to drivers is an issue that impacts PUBLIC SAFETY.

The ATA’s next move is a direct appeal to the Department of Transportation.

“We think this is a public safety issue because it’s documented that truck parking is very difficult to find,” Manning said. “In fact it’s very unsafe where trucks are required to park.”

American Trucking Associations (ATA) has petitioned FMCSA administrator  in an attempt to preempt States Rights which protect drivers.

Petition from American Trucking Associations sent to FMCSA Administrator Ray Martinez on Sept. 24, 2018, regarding meal and rest break requirements.

The ATA is trying to preempt state labor laws (overriding with Federal law, to limit trucker wages). These state laws protect employees ( truckers) and require employers ( Carriers) to pay drivers for all time worked, including detention time. They also allow for truckers to take a 10 minute paid rest break and 30 minute non paid meal break, which the drivers can waive.  The ATA is hiding behind the words “safety” and “meal & rest break”, which we have written about on AskTheTruker since 2015.

ATA California Meal Rest Break Preemption Petition

SUMMARY: FMCSA requests comments on a petition submitted by the American Trucking Associations, Inc. (ATA) requesting a determination that the State of California’s meal and rest break rules are preempted by Federal law. Among other things, FMCSA requests comments on what effect, if any, California’s meal and rest break requirements may have on interstate commerce.

Comment Docket ID
FMCSA-2018-0304 Agency: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Parent Agency: Department of Transportation (DOT)Summary:  California’s Meal and Rest Break Rules; Petition for Determination of Preemption











ATA convinces House and Transportation Leaders that preempting states’ labor laws is in the name of safety and is burdensome to the trucking industry’s economy. 

In a letter to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao obtained by Transport Topics ( The ATA), a bipartisan group of House and Senate transportation leaders expressed support for a review by U.S. DOT on the impact state meal-and-rest-break requirements could have on the trucking industry.

This is the letter sent to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao on Sept. 25, 2018 in support of American Trucking Associations’ petition regarding the meal and rest break rules.

So the War on Trucker Wages is not over drivers.
Read the PDF thoroughly and then make your comment

© 2018, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.

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By: Allen Smith

Allen Smith is a 37 year veteran who started at an early age in a household goods family moving business. He began driving straight trucks in 1977 and moved to the big rigs in 1982. His experience within the industry includes; owner operator, company driver, operations manager, and owner of a long distance HHG moving business, taking many of the long haul moves himself when needed. Allen Smith, a truck driver advocate who is driven by the desire to help others succeed within an industry where injustice, unrewarded sacrifice, and lack of respect and recognition exists. Allen and his wife Donna are hosts of Truth About Trucking ”Live” on Blog Talk Radio. Other websites include AskTheTrucker, TruckingSocialMedia, NorthAmericanTruckingALerts, TruthAboutTrucking, and many Social Media websites. In 2011 Allen and Donna hosted the first Truck Driver Social Media Convention, designed to create unity and solutions for the trucking industry. This is now being extended through the North American Trucking Alerts network as those within the industry join forces for the betterment of the industry. Allen strongly supports other industry advocates who are also stepping up to the plate to help those who share honesty, guidance and direction. He believes that all those involved in trucking need to be accountable for their part within the industry, including drivers, carriers, brokers, shippers, receivers, etc… The list of supporters and likeminded people grow daily, networking together and sharing thoughts and ideas for the betterment of trucking. He has coined the popular phrase "Raising the standards of the trucking industry"

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