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California Governor Veto Autonomous Truck Driver Requirement

California Governor Veto Autonomous Truck Driver Requirement. Governor Gavin Newsom recently rejected a bill mandating a human driver in autonomous trucks weighing over 10,000 lbs. on the state’s highways. This move is being perceived as a win for the autonomous vehicle industry, primarily located in California, and a setback for the Teamsters union, which had advocated for the bill, organizing a trucker convoy and rally at the state capitol in its support.

Governor Newsom, in his veto message, stated that Assembly Bill 316 was unnecessary for regulating heavy-duty autonomous vehicle technology in California, as existing laws already provided ample authority to create appropriate regulatory frameworks. The state’s Department of Motor Vehicles has the authority to oversee and regulate the testing and deployment of autonomous vehicles, with the power to suspend or revoke permits for testing.

Self-driving truck navigating the highway
Embracing Autonomy: A self-driving truck showcasing the future of transportation

Many saw AB 316 as a measure to safeguard truck driver jobs and enhance highway safety. In response to concerns about potential job impacts due to the testing and deployment of autonomous heavy-duty vehicles, Newsom mentioned that he had instructed the Labor and Workforce Development Agency to conduct a stakeholder process in the following year to assess and propose solutions to mitigate employment-related issues.

The Autonomous Vehicle Industry Association applauded California Governor Veto Autonomous Truck Driver Requirement, contending that AB 316 would have placed a permanent ban on autonomous vehicle trucks in California. They look forward to collaborating with California’s regulatory bodies to evaluate and consider appropriate actions regarding the future of autonomous trucking technology in the state.

During the rally supporting AB 316, Teamsters members and others voiced their disagreement with the bill, urging Newsom to sign it. They also cautioned about the potential consequences of a veto, emphasizing the importance of prioritizing middle-class jobs over technology.