Truck Driver Overtime Pay Attorney
Truck drivers are vital to the modern economy, but they often do not receive the same protections as other employees. The Fair Labor Standards Act does not apply to most truck drivers. Although drivers cannot collect overtime pay due to federal legislation, they might have statewide rules that help them receive some benefits. For specific questions on overtime eligibility as a truck driver, contact a truck driver overtime pay attorney for a consultation.
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Recover What’s Yours
The attorneys at Ferraro Vega San Diego Employment Lawyers have worked with clients in a wide variety of industries, including transportation and trucking. They have successfully represented clients in wage and hour claims, overtime pay claims, and more. Although the firm is based in San Diego, CA, they have represented clients in almost every U.S. state, including Texas, Arizona, Florida, Washington State, Colorado, Georgia, California, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and more.
One notable case that the attorneys at Ferraro Vega San Diego Employment Lawyers are working on is Lafarga v. Estes Express Lines. If successful, many employees can recover lost overtime pay and damages from their lack of proper breaks and sick leave. Ferraro Vega San Diego Employment Lawyers would be happy to hear about your truck driver overtime pay case to determine whether overtime pay can be recovered in your specific circumstance.
The FLSA vs. the FMCSA
The Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA, is a piece of legislation that regulates critical areas of employee rights. Currently, the FLSA sets the federal minimum wage at $7.25 per hour. Individual states can set higher minimums, depending on the cost of living, but an employer cannot pay an employee below the federal minimum wage. Non-exempt FLSA employees are also entitled to 1.5 times their typical rate of pay if they work more than 40 hours in a week.
Most truck drivers who drive a truck that weighs more than 10,000 lbs are considered exempt from FLSA laws. Their regulations are defined by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA. According to the FMCSA, truck drivers must follow specific regulations, including:
Consecutive Driving Limits: If a driver is only carrying cargo and not people, they can drive no longer than 11 hours. They can only do this if they have rested for at least 10 hours beforehand. Drivers carrying passengers must only drive 10 hours in a row, with a previous break of 8 hours.
Mandatory Driving Breaks: Drivers have to take at least a 30-minute break after driving for 8 hours. They can spend this break however they choose and do not have to be off duty during this time, meaning that they can do certain administrative tasks or help unload cargo during a rest break.
Weekly Driving Limits: All truck drivers have a 60-hour driving limit for every 7 days of driving or a 70-hour driving limit for every 8 days of driving. After this period, a driver must rest for at least 34 hours before starting another 7- or 8-day work period.
Why Do I Need an Attorney?
Just because most truck drivers are exempt from FLSA laws does not mean that they cannot file claims against their employer. Companies that hire truck drivers can still break FMCSA regulations. Common violations include:
Weight Limits: Most trucks have limits on the amount of weight they can transport. Trucking companies sometimes make their drivers violate these rules to reduce the number of trips necessary and reduce costs, which directly violates government regulations and makes trucks much more dangerous on the road.
Licensing Requirements: It is possible for trucking companies to be negligent and overlook the licensing requirements for their truck drivers. This means that unlicensed and unskilled drivers could be driving without the essential knowledge required.
FMCSA Regulations: If a company encourages their drivers to take fewer or shorter rest breaks than legally required, it can make drivers less attentive on the road. These also apply to drivers who are forced to violate speed limits by their companies.
Truck Maintenance: The maintenance of a commercial vehicle can be the responsibility of the company or the individual driver. Neglecting routine maintenance duties can affect the safety of the driver as well as others on the road.
Drug Testing: Trucking companies are responsible for conducting routine drug tests on their drivers to ensure that they are capable of driving safely. Drivers under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol are more likely to be involved in an accident.
While these laws do not directly affect a truck driver’s compensation, they still affect a driver’s well-being and safety on the road. To file a claim against a trucking company due to FMCSA violations, contact a truck driver employment attorney.
Truck Drivers and the FLSA
Most truck drivers are exempt from FLSA rules, which means that they are not automatically granted a minimum wage or overtime pay. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule:
Small Trucks: The FLSA specifically excludes drivers of trucks with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of over 10,000 lbs. Drivers of small trucks under this weight rating are usually not exempt from the FLSA and should receive overtime compensation.
Colorado Drivers: In 2020, the Colorado legislature passed Overtime and Minimum Pay Standards specific to that state. These standards state that most truck drivers are still exempt from overtime pay, but drivers who only travel within Colorado state lines during one work week are eligible for overtime pay.
New Mexico Drivers: New Mexico has a state-specific Minimum Wage Act that does not directly exempt truck drivers, regardless of their truck’s weight or interstate travel. This means that they might be eligible for overtime pay.
New York Drivers: The New York Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that even employees who are exempt from the FLSA under the Motor Carrier Exemption should earn overtime pay, even if it is at a lesser rate than non-exempt employees. This also includes other employees who work in the industry, like mechanics and salespeople.
Washington State Drivers: Washington State has specific laws that require truck drivers who are regulated by the FMCSA to be paid overtime pay. To achieve this, companies can sometimes pay drivers based in this state on a non-hourly basis and include overtime pay within a driver’s regular pay.
Massachusetts Drivers: Massachusetts defines truck drivers differently than other states. Truck drivers in Massachusetts are exempt from overtime pay if they specifically haul trailers instead of passengers. Drivers of other vehicles, like limousines and buses, carry people and are, therefore, entitled to overtime pay.
The FLSA exemption might also apply to other employees who work for trucking companies but do not directly drive the trucks themselves, including mechanics or those who assist in unloading trucks. To determine whether your position is entitled to overtime pay, contact a labor lawyer.
Truck Driver Overtime Pay FAQs
Q: Why Do Truck Drivers Not Get Overtime?
A: The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 specifically excluded truck drivers from the legislation due to the Motor Carrier Act passed in 1935. This act laid out specific rules for truck drivers, including how many hours they are allowed to work in a given time period. In recent times, there has been an effort to create legislation to allow most truckers to get overtime pay, but no specific law has been passed yet.
Q: What Is the Maximum Amount of Hours That a Truck Driver Can Work?
A: According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), truck drivers can drive up to 11 hours a day and must rest for at least 10 hours after they do this. In addition to this rule, drivers must take at least a 30-minute break after eight hours of driving. In a week, a driver cannot drive more than 60 hours per week, but this does not apply to non-driving activities, like administrative work or unloading cargo from the truck.
Q: What Is the 8/2 Split Rule?
A: Since most truck drivers are not eligible for overtime pay from the FLSA, there are other strict rules that dictate how many breaks they must take while driving. The 8/2 split rule relates to how truck drivers can split their rest breaks if they have a sleeper berth in their truck. If they take multiple breaks in the sleeper berth, they have to add up to eight hours, and each break must last for at least two hours.
Q: Do Truckers Get Free Time?
A: FMCSA rules state that truck drivers have to take off at least 34 hours for every 70 that they work. The 70 hours is typically acquired over eight days. Many trucking companies give their employees an additional two weeks of vacation time on top of this. Some companies give their truckers around a week of break time after being on the road for 3-4 weeks, but this depends on the company.
Learn About Your Options
Truck drivers often operate under different rules than more traditional employees. This means that they are sometimes more susceptible to being taken advantage of by trucking companies. To learn about your rights as a truck driver or evaluate whether you have a valid claim based on your working conditions, schedule a consultation with Ferraro Vega San Diego Employment Lawyers today.