Teamsters Call Out Waymo’s Poor Safety Record Outside Google Headquarters
LOS ANGELES, Oct. 24, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The Teamsters, labor leaders, public safety officials, and concerned citizens today held a rally outside of Google’s Southern California HQ to condemn the recent expansion of Google-owned Waymo self-driving cars in Los Angeles and highlight ongoing safety concerns with robotaxis. The rally took place in advance of the Q3 earnings report for Alphabet, Google’s parent company.
Safety problems with Waymo autonomous vehicles are well documented. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that in 2021 Waymo had the most automated driving system crashes of any self-driving vehicle company. In spite of this, Alphabet continues to spend billions of dollars on Waymo in its desperate drive for profit, including millions of dollars lobbying in California.
“Robotaxi safety incidents, which include crashes and congestion, are becoming the norm across the country. It’s happened in San Francisco, Austin, Nashville, Houston and now we have it here in Los Angeles. Waymo’s parent company Alphabet tries to portray itself as being one of the good guys but we know all too well that Big Tech has a hard time being good to public safety and working people,” said Lindsay Dougherty, Teamsters Western Region International Vice President and Secretary-Treasurer of Local 399. “Anybody who knows Los Angeles, knows that the freeways are not the place to bring these wreckless robotaxis.”
Speakers at today’s rally voiced their strong opposition to autonomous vehicles, noting that they routinely cause traffic jams and accidents in other cities across the United States. In San Francisco, Cruise robotaxis have collided with fire trucks and were implicated in the death of a pedestrian after blocking an ambulance that was transporting a patient to the hospital. Earlier this year, a self-driving Waymo car killed a small dog in San Francisco. In Austin, complaints continue to mount as residents report dangerous encounters with self-driving vehicles.
“We’re saying hell no to driverless vehicles on our streets,” said Yvonne Wheeler, President of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. “Autonomous vehicles, like the ones that Waymo wants to unleash in our communities, have been wreaking havoc wherever they go. From blocking fire trucks on call, to emergencies, to crashes into buses, running over animals, running through construction sites and ruining freshly poured concrete, it’s clear this technology is not ready to be introduced into our roads and our city.”
“We have seen how much of a disaster these driverless cars are in San Francisco,” said Jeff Shaffer, President of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1277. “They threaten public safety, increase congestion, and – in spite of what these companies claim – do far more harm than good when it comes to urban transportation infrastructure. The last thing we need is robotaxis in LA.”
“These machines won’t just put millions of good-paying, union jobs at risk – they pose a serious threat to pedestrian safety,” said Los Angeles City Councilmember Hugo Soto-Martinez. “We need actual regulations on robot taxis, and we should not be putting lives at risk by allowing our city to be a test subject for the tech industry.”
Last week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched a safety investigation into Cruise after numerous incidents involving the company’s self-driving cars. The incidents under investigation include two recent accidents that left victims with injuries requiring care at a hospital.
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 to learn more. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at Facebook.com/teamsters.
Matt McQuaid, (202) 624-6877
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SOURCE International Brotherhood of Teamsters