SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom has vetoed a bill that would require human drivers aboard self-driving trucks, a measure that union leaders and truck drivers say would save hundreds of thousands of jobs in the state.
The bill, which was vetoed Friday evening, would have banned self-driving trucks weighing more than 10,000 pounds (4,536 kilograms) — from UPS delivery trucks to giant utility trucks — from operating on public roads unless a human driver would be on board.
California Labor Federation President Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher said driverless trucks are dangerous and called Newsom’s veto shocking. She estimates cutting drivers would cost a quarter of a million jobs in the state.
“We will not stand by as bureaucrats on the side of tech companies, trading our security and jobs for higher corporate profits. “We will continue to fight to ensure that robots do not replace human drivers and that technology is not used to destroy good jobs,” Fletcher said in a statement late Friday.
In a statement announcing he would not sign the bill, the Democratic governor said additional regulation of autonomous trucks was unnecessary because existing laws were sufficient.
Newsom pointed to 2012 legislation that allows the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles to work with the California Highway Patrol, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration “and others with relevant expertise to establish the regulations necessary for the safe operation of autonomous vehicles.” public roads are required”.
Opponents of the bill argued that self-driving cars already on the roads have not caused many serious accidents compared to cars driven by humans. Companies say self-driving trucks will help them transport products more efficiently.
Union leaders and drivers said the bill would have helped address concerns about safety and truck driving job losses due to automation in the future.
The bill passed the legislature, with only a few MPs voting against it. It’s part of ongoing debates about the potential risks of self-driving vehicles and how workforces are adapting to a new era when companies use technology to do jobs traditionally done by humans.
Newsom, who normally enjoys strong support from labor, faced some pressure within his administration not to sign the agreement. His administration’s Office of Business and Economic Development says it would push companies that make self-driving technology to leave their state.
The veto comes at a time when the debate over the future of autonomous vehicles is heating up. In San Francisco last month, two robotaxi companies received approval from state regulators to operate around the clock in the city.
Last Tuesday in Sacramento, hundreds of truck drivers, union leaders and other supporters of the bill gathered in front of the state Capitol. As semi-trucks lined a street in front of the Capitol, motorists chanted “Sign this bill.” According to Teamsters officials, there are about 200,000 commercial truck drivers in California.
Source : apnews.com