California Advances Autonomous Vehicle Safety Bills

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The California Senate Transportation Committee has passed two bills, Assembly Bill 2286 (AB 2286) and Assembly Bill 3061 (AB 3061), aimed at regulating autonomous vehicles (AVs) in the state. These bills, part of the CARS legislative package, focus on protecting union jobs and enhancing public safety.

Key Highlights:

  • AB 2286: Introduced by Assembly Majority Leader Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, this bill mandates a trained human operator to be present in self-driving trucks weighing over 10,000 pounds. This measure is designed to preserve trucking jobs and ensure road safety.
  • AB 3061: Proposed by Assemblymember Matt Haney, this bill requires AV companies to report any vehicle collisions, traffic violations, disengagements, assaults, or harassment incidents to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This step is critical for public transparency and accountability.

Rising Concerns and Legislative Support: The push for these bills has intensified amid increasing scrutiny of AV technology. Recently, Waymo recalled nearly 700 driverless cars following a collision with a telephone pole. Additionally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched investigations into safety incidents involving Waymo and Amazon’s Zoox. Earlier this year, Cruise faced scrutiny after a fatal pedestrian accident. Local community members, including school crossing guards, have also raised concerns about AV safety.

“Keeping roads safe and protecting our livelihoods are issues that everyone can get behind,” stated Peter Finn, Teamsters Western Region International Vice President and President of Teamsters Joint Council 7. “It’s time to start passing these commonsense AV regulations instead of letting Big Tech call the shots.”

Federal Investigations and Public Sentiment: Federal investigations underscore the urgency of regulating AVs. Chris Griswold, Teamsters International Vice President At-Large and President of Teamsters Joint Council 42, emphasized the need for accountability: “The ongoing federal investigations into the largest autonomous vehicle companies are another proof point that autonomous vehicles are disasters waiting to happen.”

Despite a new study revealing that over 91 percent of U.S. drivers express fear or uncertainty about AVs, California regulatory bodies, including the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and DMV, have approved the expansion of robotaxis. This has sparked criticism for prioritizing technology over safety and jobs.

The passage of AB 2286 and AB 3061 marks a significant step towards establishing a safer and more accountable framework for autonomous vehicles in California, addressing both employment and public safety concerns head-on.

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Self Drive News
Self Drive News

Self Drive News is a premier B2B digital resource meticulously curated for industry professionals, stakeholders, and enthusiasts in the rapidly accelerating world of autonomous vehicles. Rooted in innovation and forward-thinking, we deliver insightful, reliable, and up-to-the-minute news, connecting the diverse and dynamic strands of the autonomous vehicle industry under one interactive platform.