Self-Driving Vehicle Bill Leaves Out Larger Trucks?
Driverless vehicles are going to change the freight industry in a big way, so it’s no wonder carriers are concerned about getting the regulatory hurdles down early.
A recent bill mandated some of the framework involving driverless cars on the road, but heavier vehicles like commercial trucks were left out.
Chris Spear, President of the American Trucking Associations spoke about the disappointment, saying: “(This) 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 agreement for legislation was reached by the chair of the Commerce Committee, Republican senator John Thune, and Democratic senator Gary Peters. Voting will take place on October 4.
Driverless vehicles will be reliant on good infrastructure, on using the right technologies, and on capitalizing on the best solutions the industry offers. If a bill would block regulatory hindrances to advanced self-driving cars, it stands to reason that the freight industry would like the same treatment for commercial vehicles.
Companies like General Motors, Alphabet Inc, and Ford Motors have all lobbied to speed up the deployment of self-driving cars by allowing federal regulators to make the final call regarding safety.
The bill was determined not to include vehicles over 10,000 pounds. This change was made late Wednesday, after Democrats and several organized labor leaders said heavy trucks shouldn’t be included.
He same fate was had for a bill that passed the House of Representatives in a sweeping motion earlier this month. States will be able to set rules on registration, liability, inspections, insurance, and licensing under this proposal. However, they’d be barred from setting the performance standards on self-driving cars.
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, an automaker trade organization, spoke favorably about the bill and its ability to help advance self-driving technologies.
ATA officials and many others in the trucking industry are still frustrated that heavier vehicles have been left out. If things like self-driving kits are approved for standard vehicles, members of the freight industry would appreciate the same courtesy for heavier vehicles.
Some have said the regulations were too loose, and it is likely new developments will arise on this issue in the future.