Teamsters Local 350, representing San Francisco’s sanitation workers, is pressing autonomous vehicle (AV) enterprise Cruise to proactively address rising concerns regarding their vehicles in the city. This comes after multiple incidents were reported, with Cruise AVs obstructing waste and recycling trucks, particularly highlighting an event at Van Ness Avenue and Hayes Street.
Why It Matters
As cities welcome advancements like autonomous vehicles, ensuring public safety becomes paramount. Cruise’s vehicles have been responsible for several hindrances recently, not just for the sanitation workers but also for the general public. From vehicles becoming mired in wet cement to causing a significant traffic bottleneck outside a music event, and even a collision with a fire truck, the rise in these events poses concerns.
- Cruise AVs incidents: Cruise vehicles have frequently blocked waste and recycling trucks, with the most notable incident at Van Ness Avenue and Hayes Street.
- Reaction to California Dept. of Motor Vehicles: Despite reservations about the department’s involvement in regulating AVs, Teamsters were receptive to its suggestion for Cruise to halve its San Francisco fleet.
- Recent issues with Cruise: Since the California Public Utilities Commission’s decision allowing unlimited expansion for AVs, there has been a spike in Cruise vehicle-related problems.
- Feedback from Sanitation Workers:
- Israel Enriquez, who captured the Hayes Street incident on film, commented on the difficulties of AVs navigating tricky intersections, unlike their human counterparts.
- Quentin Booker, a waste truck driver from Local 350, emphasized the regular hindrance AVs pose, forcing drivers to be extra cautious, impacting their vital community roles.
While technological advancements, especially in transportation, are pivotal for urban development, they should not compromise public safety. Teamsters Local 350’s plea to Cruise reiterates the necessity for thorough assessment and deployment of such technologies, ensuring both efficacy and safety. The union stresses the importance of either integrating human operators or halting operations in San Francisco until a guarantee against future incidents is established.