Teamsters Autonomous Vehicle Federal Policy Principles

For the first time in our history, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters is releasing an “Autonomous Vehicle Federal Policy Principles” framework, a guiding document for federal policymakers as they continue to address issues surrounding autonomous vehicles (AVs).
As a union that represents hundreds of thousands of workers who turn a key for a living, and the only union substantially representing commercial truck drivers, the Teamsters have a deep interest in the outcome of federal AV regulation and legislation. This includes consideration of safety and workforce impacts to our members, the millions of other Americans who operate a vehicle for their livelihoods, and the public, who are increasingly asked to share the road with AVs.
Federal laws and regulations that do not meaningfully address the operations and effects of AVs will result in catastrophic impacts on American workers and risk increasing preventable roadside fatalities. The Teamsters are committed to working with Congress and federal regulators on a path forward that prioritizes both workers and safety. On behalf of our members and the American people, we strongly urge the adoption of the proposals contained within the International Brotherhood of Teamsters’ “Autonomous Vehicle Federal Policy Principles.”  

Regulating the Vehicle

The Federal government has authority over vehicle manufacturing and performance standards and must apply these authorities to AVs. Legislation should mandate:

Regulating the Operator

FMCSA regulates the driver of commercial vehicles, and the circumstances and safety conditions in which they operate. In this regard, Congress should require that:

Regulating Operations

The DOT and FMCSA possess numerous regulatory authorities related to both the safe operations of vehicles and the ability of carriers to receive authority to begin and continue operations. Existing regulation does not differentiate between traditional and autonomous vehicles in this regard, and must therefore be amended to provide meaningful insight into the safety of new autonomous operations, including requiring that:

Interaction with Other Laws

Congress must consider issues that may arise from the relationship between existing law and the efforts to legislate and regulate AVs.

Workforce Impacts

Congress cannot entertain any legislative package dealing with AVs that does not directly and forcefully address issues related to the workforce, and any changing operational or economic conditions that occur as the result of AV commercialization. This should include: