Reps. Porter, Schiff, Lee and Mayor Breed Applaud AB 316 for Ensuring Safer Roads, Protecting Good Jobs amid Consideration of Autonomous Trucks in Letters to Bill Co-Author Asm. Aguiar-Curry
SACRAMENTO, Calif., April 13, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — California 2024 Senate candidates Reps. Katie Porter (D-47), Adam Schiff (D-30), and Barbara Lee (D-13) – as well as San Francisco Mayor London Breed – have announced their support for California Assembly Bill 316.
The bipartisan legislation, which would require a trained human operator in autonomous vehicles weighing over 10,000 pounds, is strongly supported by the Teamsters Union and the California Labor Federation. It was first introduced in January and is authored by California Assembly Members Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters), Asm. Laura Friedman (D-Glendale), Asm. Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale), and Asm. Ash Kalra (D-San Jose).
In separate letters to Asm. Aguiar-Curry, Porter, Schiff, Lee, and Breed applauded the bill’s efforts to ensure safety and protect good jobs as California considers allowing autonomous trucks on state roads. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors also unanimously passed a resolution supporting AB 316 this week. The growing elected support for AB 316 follows the bill’s successful passage through the California Assembly Transportation Committee last month, and comes as the Communications and Conveyance Committee will hold a hearing to consider the legislation on April 19.
“As our state continues to lead the way in innovation, AB 316 takes an important step to keep Californians safe,” Porter said in her letter. “[The] legislation is a sensible, common sense measure that protects Californians, while still empowering our state to innovate and succeed economically.”
Autonomous vehicles continue to cause significant alarm among the American electorate due to safety concerns for drivers and pedestrians. This trepidation is rooted, in no small part, by continued reports of crashes and traffic delays as a result of their implementation. According to a 2023 American Automobile Association (AAA) study, in the last year, Americans have become more afraid of driving alongside autonomous vehicles. Just last week, a poll of Texas voters showed that more than 70 percent were uncomfortable sharing the road with driverless trucks.
“While proponents of AV tout that this technology has the potential to create thousands of new jobs, the expansion of AV also has the potential to displace as many as 3 million workers across the transportation industry,” U.S. Rep Adam Schiff (D-CA) said in his letter. “With California so often being the model for the rest of the nation, I want to ensure that the process in our state puts safety and workers at the center. I believe that AB 316 strikes a delicate balance between upholding California’s position as a leader in technological advancements and entrepreneurship, while also prioritizing the safety of its residents, roads, and its transportation workforce.”
“I believe AB 316 would balance technological advancement with the public good and would not require a driver or safety operator to interfere with technology while it is being tested or during the normal course of operation,” U.S. Rep Barbara Lee (D-CA) said in her letter. “AB 316 would allow AV technology to continue to expand in California while protecting public safety and still providing a path to allow California’s transportation workforce to adapt to AV technology.”
As the California legislature considers AB 316, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is considering a regulatory framework that would allow for autonomous vehicles over 10,000 pounds to hit the road, possibly within one year, without consent from the state legislature. It is highly irregular and undemocratic for such a sweeping public policy change to be implemented by the DMV.
“Given the increased safety risk that heavy vehicles pose, heavy-duty autonomous vehicles would benefit from a trained human safety driver that could take over the vehicle should there be issues with the technology,” San Francisco Mayor London Breed said in her letter. “AB 316 strikes the right balance by continuing to allow companies to develop autonomous technology for heavy-duty vehicles while ensuring the safety of road users across the state.”
“I am incredibly proud to be joined by my three U.S. House Colleagues, Reps Lee, Porter, and Schiff, and Mayor Breed in this effort to protect jobs and public safety,” said Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters). “The Legislature has a responsibility to directly weigh in when our state is making such impactful decisions about our constituents’ well-being. AB 316 says California should move forward with the testing and deployment of new transportation technology, but we’ve got to have trained professionals on board until we know the traveling public is safe. Period. Our constituents’ lives and 500,000 jobs, not corporate cost-savings, are my focus.”
“The Teamsters are grateful for the support of AB 316 from Representatives Porter, Schiff, Lee, and Mayor Breed,” said Jason Rabinowitz, Teamsters Joint Council 7 President. “AB 316 is pragmatic legislation that would make our roads safer and protect good California jobs.”
“We’re confident that this bill will continue to gain critical support as it makes its way through the California legislature,” said Randy Cammack, Teamsters Joint Council 42 President. “As our country navigates the future of autonomous vehicles and trucking technology, it’s essential that safety comes first. AB 316 would ensure exactly that.”
About International Brotherhood of Teamsters
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.2 million hardworking people in the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico. Visit teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at facebook.com/teamsters.
About California Labor Federation
The California Labor Federation represents over 1,200 affiliate unions in California that represent over 2.2 million union members in retail, hospitality, and other service sector jobs, janitorial, construction, manufacturing, health care, local and state government, education, arts and entertainment, and other industries.
Matt McQuaid, (202) 624-6877
Sean Nesmith, (678) 467-4306
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SOURCE International Brotherhood of Teamsters