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New York driverless truck ban proposed in senate

New York State Senator Pete Harckham has introduced legislation that would require a trained human operator be physically present in any driverless truck weighing 10,000 pounds or more on New York roads, effectively banning driverless commercial trucks. 

A similar bill was passed last year in California but was vetoed by Governor Gavin Newsom. 

“S. 7758 will impose a premature and permanent ban on autonomous trucks in New York. AVs and truck drivers will work together to support New York’s rising freight demand and the supply chain’s manufacturers, farmers, and small businesses,” said Jeff Farrah, Chief Executive Officer of the Autonomous Vehicle Industry Association (AVIA). “The AV industry strongly opposes S. 7758, and we urge lawmakers to not move forward with this legislation, just like several states already have.”

The Teamsters union has championed bills requiring human operators alongside driverless technologies, seeing the regulations as protecting truck driving jobs. New York alone, the union said, is responsible for 270,000 transportation jobs, including about 58,300 current heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers.

“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.”

New York’s proposed ban comes as a handful of driverless tech developers like Kodiak Robotics and Aurora prepare to remove the driver from the cab. 

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