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Teamsters Commend N.Y. State Sen. Harckham for Introducing Human Operator Legislation


Teamsters Urge N.Y. Lawmakers Support Bill to Keep Roads Safe, Protect Good Jobs

Press Contact: Matt McQuaid Phone: (202) 624-6877 Email:

(NEW YORK) – The International Brotherhood of Teamsters today commended New York State Senator Pete Harckham (D-40) for introducing legislation, S.7758, that would require a trained human operator to be physically present in any autonomous vehicle weighing 10,000 pounds or more on New York roads. If passed, S.7758 would ensure public safety and protect hundreds of thousands of good jobs in New York State.

The bill comes as driverless vehicles have wreaked havoc on public roads across the country over the past year, causing accidents, blocking traffic, and interfering with first responders. A woman in San Francisco was seriously injured by a Cruise robotaxi after the vehicle struck and dragged her for 20 feet.

“The Teamsters applaud Senator Harckham for introducing legislation that will keep New York roads safe,” said Louis A. Picani, President of Teamsters Local 456. “Last year, we saw the damage that small robotaxis can cause to the public, from sending pedestrians to the hospital to preventing emergency responders from doing their jobs. To allow AVs weighing 10 times more than robotaxis onto New York roads without a trained human operator behind the wheel would be lethal. The New York legislature needs to put safety first and join Senator Harckham in passing S.7758 into state law. This bill will save lives.”

In addition to prioritizing safety, S.7758 will also protect the livelihoods of truckers and other workers supported by the New York trucking industry, which is responsible for 270,000 jobs in the state, including about 58,300 current heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers.

“S.7758 isn’t just about protecting lives, it’s about protecting livelihoods. This bill would ensure that good jobs stay in New York, with the people that keep our state up and running. We’re grateful to Senator Harckham for introducing this legislation and putting New Yorkers before Big Tech,” said Tom Gesualdi, President of Teamsters Local 282 and Teamsters Joint Council 16. “Safety and good jobs are issues that everyone can get behind, and that’s why electeds on both sides of the aisle have stood up in support of commonsense AVs safety measures across the country. The Teamsters urge New York State lawmakers to do the same and pass S.7758.”

“The integral role of the trucking industry in our lives means we have to be proactive and vigilant about public safety and job security when it comes to technological innovations like autonomous operating vehicles. My bill requires autonomous vehicles weighing 10,000 pounds or more traveling on New York roads have a licensed driver behind the wheel,” said Sen. Harckham. “This common-sense measure will ensure greater protection for residents and property while providing job security for over 270,000 New Yorkers. I am thankful to Louis Picani and Teamsters everywhere for supporting this legislation.”

Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.3 million hardworking people in the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico. Visit for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at