ATA Disappointed Self-Driving Truck Legislation Not Passed

Democrats and Labor Unions Lobbied Heavily for the Bill to Exclude Large Trucks

The ATA said it was disappointed that a bill to advance self-driving cars and eliminate regulatory roadblocks will not include larger vehicles.

ATA President Chris Spear said “is not the end of the road for this issue. If more automated cars and trucks are to share the roads, they should also share the same framework.”

The legislation will be voted on by the congressional Commerce Committee on Oct. 4.

Driverless trucks are on the horizon

GM, Google, Ford and others have lobbied for the legislation to speed up deployment of self-driving cars by allowing federal regulators to approve their use if they deem them safe. They also want to ban states from blocking autonomous vehicles.

Democrats and labor leaders lobbied heavily to reject the bill for larger trucks. Senators confirmed Thursday that the bill would not include vehicles larger than 10,000 pounds.

A bill that unanimously passed the U.S. House earlier this month also excluded bigger vehicles. Under that proposal, states could still set rules on registration, licensing, liability, insurance and safety inspections, but would be barred from setting self-driving car performance standards.

The House bill allows car manufacturers to get approval to sell up to 25,000 vehicles year one, increasing to 100,000 by year three... assuming they can demonstrate the vehicles are AT LEAST as safe as current vehicles with human controls.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers praised the bill and said it will “help advance self-driving technologies and help keep the United States at the forefront of these innovations.”

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters union -- which consists of 1.4 million members -- put forth a considerable effort to convince Congress to leave self-driving trucks out of the bill, warning they could lead to the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs and reduce road safety.

Labor leaders have said 3,000,000 trucking-related jobs will be at risk if self-driving vehicles replace human drivers. 


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