Driverless Trucks Coming to a Highway Near You
A House Committee on Energy and Commerce bill known as H.R. 3388 that encourages the production “self-driving vehicles” is being considered in Congress.
Also known as the “Safety Ensuring Lives Future Deployment and Research in Vehicle Evolution Act” or SELF DRIVE act, this bill promotes autonomous vehicles for commercial work. A Duke University summary explains that the bill includes a three-year research plan to determine what these vehicles are capable of, and their potential limitations. According to the R Street Institute, there are three primary goals of the plan:
- The federal government establishes safety standards.
- The state governments are involved in licensing, liability, insurance, and registration.
- The federal government determines how autonomous vehicles can integrate with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, and how to incentivize manufacturers.
Transportation Workers Express Growing Concern
James Hoffa, President of The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, suggested that development of these vehicles for commercial use could lead to job losses among drivers, as automation replaces the need for humans. He encouraged Congress to consider the potential loss of livelihood and detriment to the middle class. There are an estimated four million workers who drive buses, taxis, delivery vehicles, and other commercial vehicles who may be at risk. In addition, fuel providers, motels, restaurants, and other retail entities could face negative economic consequences.
Making Autonomous Vehicles a Reality
Automated vehicles may be the future of transportation. Several tech companies that operate outside the auto industry (such as Google) have even been exploring the concept. Although the idea has been promoted for several years now, the feasibility of truly “driverless” vehicles is still questioned. Theoretically, these automated vehicles could reduce accidents and the injuries and deaths that occur, particularly those resulting from human error. But then who’s responsible for malfunctions? To what degree will these vehicles still rely on humans for their operation? Also, could there be problems with “cyber security,” where others could essentially “hack” these systems and assume control of the vehicle?
Until Self-Driving Cars Are Perfect…
Auto accidents will still happen, and maybe even afterward, if some of the concerns are true. If you need information after an accident, contact Car Accident Help at (405) 285-4357.
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