Collage of Local 853 members

Teamsters turn out in Sacramento to support bill mandating drivers on Autonomous Vehicles

Local 853 members joined Teamsters from Joint Council 7 and across California at the California Capitol on January 30 to state loudly and clearly that there MUST be a human operator (driver) on autonomous vehicles (AVs) weighing more than 10,000 pounds. Legislators Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters) and Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale) just introduced AB316, which, if passed, will mandate a driver in automated trucks. Passage of this bill is a high priority for Teamsters and for the California Labor Federation, not only ensuring road safety for our driver members but for all members of the driving public. The bill also supports good union truck driver jobs into the future.

Truck drivers from several locals testified that they are the first responders of the road, stopping and helping when there’s an accident or a vehicle in trouble, and autonomous vehicles would never be able to do that. They also shared their experience of how AVs lock the brakes if they sense an imminent hazard that drivers cannot currently override, even if that might not be the best response. Assemblymember Lackey stated that airplanes may be fully autonomous but still have a pilot and co-pilot on board, and the same should be true for trucks carrying up to 40 tons of weight down the road. “Trucks will never have the ‘instinct’ that a trained and experienced driver has,” said Local 2785 member Mike Fry.

The event generated significant media coverage. Here are just a few of the articles and TV reports:

Some California Lawmakers and Unions Want to Ban Autonomous Trucking – Jalopnik, Andy Kalmowitz

Self-driving semis focus of California rules, legislation – Associated Press, Adam Beam

Self-driving semi-trucks? DMV looking into potential new rules – KSBY-SLO, Taylor Hillo

Author: Local 853

Stay Connected!

Sign up for email messages and text alerts.

Share Post: