California Governor Gavin Newsom has vetoed a bill that aimed to prohibit the operation of heavy-duty driverless trucks in the state without a human present. The bill, Assembly Bill 316, passed with overwhelming majorities in the California Senate and Assembly, but faced opposition from the governor.
Governor Newsom’s decision has gone against the wishes of labor union members who rallied and marched to the State Capitol to demand that he sign the bill into law. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters expressed concern that technology should not override middle-class jobs and urged Newsom to prioritize employment over autonomous vehicles.
However, in his letter to lawmakers, Governor Newsom stated that the bill was unnecessary as existing regulations provide sufficient authority to oversee heavy-duty autonomous vehicle technology. He noted that the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is already empowered to regulate the testing and deployment of autonomous vehicles on public roads in California.
Industry sources suggest that the bill was created as the DMV works to develop a regulatory framework that would lift the current ban on driverless trucks weighing over 10,001 pounds. The DMV collaborates with the California Highway Patrol, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and other relevant experts to ensure the safe operation of autonomous vehicles.
While vetoing the bill, Governor Newsom expressed his commitment to supporting career pathways and workforce training associated with autonomous vehicle technology. He directed the Labor and Workforce Development Agency to lead a stakeholder process next year, aimed at reviewing and developing recommendations to mitigate potential employment impacts.
As of now, California lawmakers have the possibility to override the governor’s veto with a two-thirds majority vote, although such an occurrence has not taken place in the state since 1979.
1. Why did Governor Newsom veto the bill banning heavy-duty driverless trucks without human supervision?
Governor Newsom vetoed the bill, stating that existing regulations provide sufficient authority to oversee heavy-duty autonomous vehicle technology in California.
2. What authority does the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) have regarding autonomous vehicles?
The DMV has the authority to regulate the testing and deployment of autonomous vehicles on public roads in California, and they continuously monitor their operations to ensure public safety.
3. Will there be a review of potential employment impacts related to autonomous heavy-duty vehicles?
Yes, Governor Newsom has directed the Labor and Workforce Development Agency to lead a stakeholder process next year to review and develop recommendations to mitigate potential employment impacts associated with testing and deployment of autonomous heavy-duty vehicles.