Self-contained semi-trucks? The DMV is considering possible new rules

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The California Department of Motor Vehicles is likely preparing a new regulatory framework that will allow autonomous vehicles weighing more than 10,000 pounds to hit the road, triggering a waiver International brotherhood of riders who say it’s a serious safety issue.

The Teamsters are working with the California Federation of Labor and lawmakers to introduce legislation requiring human operators in autonomous vehicles.

Last month, the DMV held a public workshop with the California Highway Patrol, gathering input for potential new rules that would allow unmanned semi-trucks weighing up to 80,000 pounds to drive on the roads.

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, America’s largest and most diverse labor union, is asking them to hit the brakes.

“You don’t create a safer environment when you have a 10,000-pound vehicle without a safety net,” said Lorena Gonzalez, head of the California Federation of Labor.

Banning along with the California Federation of Labor and state lawmakers, the union hopes to get ahead of the problem by introducing Assembly Bill 316which requires the presence of human operators in autonomous vehicles.

While the Autonomous Vehicle Industry Association says autonomous trucks will make the roads safer, experienced drivers say the new technology won’t replace human instinct.

“Every day in the winter, they can’t judge what the roads look like, they can’t judge the curbs coming up, they can’t judge a car that’s going to automatically pull over and hit somebody,” explained Stephen Wolfe, a local truck driver. driver.

Besides the dangers of a 12-ton mass of metal traveling alone on the highway, drivers worry about what will happen to their jobs when the truck no longer needs a driver.

Participating organizations are calling Assembly Bill 316 a win-win for tech and drivers — road safety and job security.

Regulations allowing light autonomous vehicles weighing less than 10,000 pounds were approved in 2019. The latest public workshop held by the DMV is said to help the department determine next steps for heavy-duty autonomous vehicles weighing up to 80,000 pounds.

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