California Moves to Limit Autonomous Trucks

Accord­ing to an arti­cle by Mag­gie Angst in The Bee, “Cal­i­for­nia assem­bly mem­bers on Wednes­day over­whelm­ing­ly vot­ed to pass Assem­bly Bill 316, a pro­pos­al with bipar­ti­san to require a trained indi­vid­ual to sit behind the wheel of semi­trucks and big rigs.”

Angst , “Cur­rent state law, by the DMV, allows test­ing and deploy­ment of dri­ver­less light-duty autonomous vehi­cles that weigh 10,000 pounds or less — stop­ping short of allow­ing the same for long-haul trucks and big rigs with autonomous capa­bil­i­ties.”

The bil­l’s author, Assem­bly­woman Cecil­ia Aguiar-Cur­ry, D‑Winters, said “we need to sure that the roads are safe for the sake of our con­stituents and that jobs are safe for our dri­vers.” The bill is sup­port­ed by truck dri­vers, who fear the loss of jobs to autonomous vehi­cles. “Sup­port­ers say the reg­u­la­tion would help pro­tect peo­ple trav­el­ing on Cal­i­for­nia road­ways and sup­port the liveli­hoods of truck dri­vers across the state.” 

The move was crit­i­cized by indus­try lead­ers, who say the state wait for fed­er­al guid­ance before deploy­ing its own reg­u­la­tions on self- trucks. “Per­mit­ting the test­ing and deploy­ment of autonomous trucks in Cal­i­for­nia would help human errors, such as tex­ting and dri­ving and dis­trac­tion, that con­tribute to traf­fic fatal­i­ties,” said Mufad­dal Ezzy, senior direc­tor of state pub­lic affairs for soft­ware com­pa­ny Auro­ra.

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