Can I Get Overtime Pay As a Truck Driver Who Crosses State Lines?

Working as an interstate truck driver often means long days on the road. But what happens when the road trip extends beyond the eight-hour workday because of traffic, a mechanical problem, or any other reason? The Carter Law Firm, an employment law firm based in Orange County, California, wants to answer some common questions truckers might have about overtime pay rules for interstate travel. 

Are Truck Drivers Exempt from Overtime? 

Generally, most interstate truck drivers are not entitled to daily overtime pay because of an exemption written into the Fair Labor Standards Act, which outlines overtime rules and regulations. Drivers who cross state lines are exempt from overtime requirements, as are drivers who ship goods that have or will eventually cross state lines. 

The only federal exemption to the law is for employees who drive trucks that weigh under 10,000 pounds, loaded or unloaded. Federal law requires those truck drivers be paid one-and-a-half times their normal rate if they are required to work more than 40 hours in one week.  

Overtime laws for truck drivers traveling within state borders differ depending on the state. 

Are Interstate Truck Drivers Exempt From Meal and Rest Breaks? 

Although many interstate truck drivers are exempt from overtime pay, employers are generally still required to give drivers breaks after certain periods of time. However, those rules are set by the individual states and are not covered by federal law. In California, for example, employers are required to give employees a 30-minute meal break for shifts longer than five hours, and a 10-minute break for every four hours of work. That requirement applies to interstate truck drivers in California, but, like overtime laws for in-state drivers, meal and rest break laws will change depending on the state the driver is in.  

The amount of overtime and break exemptions for truck drivers can be hard to follow. Truck drivers are sometimes illegally misclassified as independent contractors in California, which can further complicate overtime issues they might be having with their employer. If you’re a truck driver who feels you’ve been unfairly kept from receiving overtime pay or breaks, contact the Carter Law Firm. We have more than 50 years of collective experience representing workers, and we can review your situation for free to discuss possible options. To learn more about the Carter Law Firm, contact us here or fill out the contact form below.