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California trucking at a crossroads: AB 5, $7 diesel and a special truck show in the offing

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Updated Jul 11, 2022


Small fleet car-haul owner-operator C.G. Soza of California's Central Valley has quite a lot on his plate these days, not the least of which is the $7-plus diesel sign he saw early this week in Madera, California, a first for the owner. He's also keeping a close eye on the Supreme Court, which is set to conference June 23 and possibly make its decision as to whether it will take up federal pre-emption questions in the California Trucking Association's appeal of its case against the AB 5 state contractor law's application to trucking.

[Related: California Trucking Association tears down Solicitor General's AB 5 argument

If the Supreme Court doesn’t take up the case, June 23 could be quite eventful for Soza and scads of other small fleet owners who, like his Soza Trucking business, contract with leased owner-operators -- and plenty California-based leased owner-operators themselves, of course. The AB 5 law puts longtime federally recognized carrier-to-leased owner-operator relationships, as traditionally structured, in jeopardy.  

As if owner-ops in California didn’t already have enough to contend with when it comes to business difficulties in the now extremely-high-fuel state.

[Related: California AB 5: Wait-and-see mode, unanswered questions prevail among small fleets, owner-ops]

June 23 also happens to be a set-up day for Soza's A.J. Soza Memorial Truck Show, kicking off the following day at the Merced County Fairgrounds and featuring an old-school truck rodeo, likely well upward of 100 rigs showing out, and much more, as you'll hear in this edition of Overdrive Radio: 

Also in the podcast: Overdrive News Editor Matt Cole sets the scene at the Shell Rotella SuperRigs event ongoing at a unique location in Branson, Missouri, and lays out recent AB 5 developments he's reported on this week.

Read more about the A.J. Soza Memorial Truck Show, benefiting a foundation C.G. Soza has established for dyslexic youth in his area. Soza also lays out the history behind it in the podcast. 

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