California Governor Gavin Newsom has vetoed a bill that would have prevented autonomous trucks weighing over 10,000 pounds from operating on open public roads without human drivers.
“The existing regulatory framework presently and sufficiently governs this particular technology,” he said when rejecting Assembly Bill 316 that had been supported by 90% of the state’s legislature.
Newsom pointed out that 2012 legislation provided the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles with the authority to oversee and regulate the testing and deployment of autonomous vehicles.
The Autonomous Vehicle Industry Association (AVIA) commended the governor for his decision, noting the bill would have caused California to fall behind other states on autonomous trucking innovation.
Teamsters U.S., however, supported the bill, citing safety concerns and potential job losses.
“If Gov. Newsom chooses to not do the right thing, he is sending a message to California and every state in this country that technology should overrule middle-class jobs,” Teamsters general president Sean M. O’Brien said.
Newsom said concerns about the technology and its impact on California’s workforce led in 2019 to the Future of Work Task Force, created with various labor leaders.
Next year, the governor is directing the Labor and Workforce Development Agency to review and develop recommendations to mitigate the potential employment impact of testing and deploying autonomous heavy-duty vehicles.
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