California Independent Truckers Get Brief Reprieve from AB-5

By Karen Robes Meeks

California’s independent truckers scored a win last week when US Southern District Court Judge Roger T. Benitez granted a preliminary injunction to halt the state’s enforcement of a new employment classification test against motor carriers until a final judgment is rendered, the California Trucking Association (CTA) announced.

“This ruling is a significant win for California’s more than 70,000 independent owner-operators and CTA members who have worked as independent truckers for decades, and who have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to own their own vehicle and comply with California’s strict environmental guidelines and regulations over the years,” said CTA CEO Shawn Yadon.

The association filed the preliminary injunction motion as part of its lawsuit challenging Assembly Bill 5, which was to take effect Jan. 1.

In his 23-page Jan. 16 decision, Benitez said “There is little question that the state of California has encroached on Congress’ territory by eliminating motor carriers’ choice to use independent contractor drivers, a choice at the very heart of interstate trucking. In so doing, California disregards Congress’ intent to deregulate interstate trucking, instead adopting a law that produces the patchwork of state regulations Congress sought to prevent. With AB-5, California runs off the road and into the preemption ditch of the FAAAA (Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994).”

For more on the decision, visit

By Sarah Spangler