(WASHINGTON) – The following is a statement from Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa in response to today’s passage of S. 1885, the AV Start Act, out of the Senate Commerce Committee.
“The Teamsters continue to follow the development of autonomous driving technology closely, tracking the potential impact on both hundreds of thousands of Teamster members as well as on the broader motoring public. This technology holds the potential to impact the daily livelihoods of millions of American workers for better, or for worse. The direction that this technology takes our nation will be dictated in no small part by the actions that lawmakers and regulators take in the coming years as they examine this ever-changing landscape. We appreciate the Senate Commerce Committee recognizing that they play an important role in this process, and taking one step in trying to shape how this technology will eventually unfold.
“It is worth noting the committee wisely followed the lead of the bipartisan effort in the House and excluded heavy commercial motor vehicles from consideration in this bill. Despite the attempts from industry to white-wash the issues facing 80,000 pound trucks as somehow identical to those of tiny passenger cars, anyone working in this industry knows this not even remotely close to the case.
“The issues facing a safe development of advanced heavy trucking technology must encapsulate the life and death issues that are specific to that industry, not consider such consequences as an inconvenient after-thought. It must also take into account the livelihoods of the millions of American workers who work in, or around these vehicles. Workers and all motorists are counting on their elected representatives to get this issue right. Today’s decision to pass a bill excluding these heavy vehicles was a significant step in that direction.”
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.