At Class A Drivers, we’ve covered the dangerous and potentially catastrophic reality of autonomous driving technology. Maybe this technology will be ready in a couple hundred years, but “self-driving” vehicles are a farcical joke at best and a life-threatening hazard at worst.
The idea of replacing skilled truck drivers with this fatal and ridiculous technology should never be considered. So for reasons of both labor and safety, Calfiornia Democrats proposed a bill that would require all “self-driving” trucks that weigh over 10,000 pounds to have a safety operator in charge of the vehicle.
At least in this situation, a truck driver can take control and act as a pilot of sorts for an autonomous route.
But money talks in politics, and Governor Gavin Newsom has taken a strong opposition to the bill, despite it being sponsored by his own party. Newsom has stated that due to California’s status as an innovative economic powerhouse, the state needs to be open to the continuing march of progress.
Of course, Newsom’s California is known for its housing and affordability crises which belies the boasting of being the “fifth largest economy in the world”.
By opposing AB 316, the bill requiring safety operators, Newsom once again thumbs his nose at labor and safety in exchange for the perpetual onward march of economic growth.
The bill is sponsored by Democratic Assemblywoman Cecilia Aguiar-Curry and is supported by the Teamsters Union, the California Federation of Labor, and such elected officials as Rep. Katie Porter, Adam Schiff, and Barbara Lee (all future candidates for Senate when nonagenarian Dianne Feinstein vacates her seat).
Newsom argues that the bill takes away power from regulatory agencies such as the California DMV and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. But the legislature, in proposing such a bill, represents the democratic process.
Jason Rabinowitz, president of Teamsters Joint Council 7, argues that Newsom’s objection is “undemocratic and dangerous”. He says, “”We’ve already seen dozens of AV-related safety incidents and it’s time we stopped treating the public like crash test dummies.”
Autonomous trucking is not ready for prime-time. Truck drivers need to be behind the wheel of trucks. That remains the position of Class A Drivers.