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Hands Raised in Concern over Autonomous Vehicles

by Anna Mischke | Aug 03, 2017

Driver News 080417A study by the Center for Global Policy Solutions estimates that introducing autonomous vehicles too rapidly could result in a loss of 4 million jobs in the United States. Truck, taxi, and bus drivers would be the groups most impacted.

As legislations fast track toward self-driving vehicles being allowed on the road, labor leaders are advising against their rapid movement - urging lawmakers to keep in mind the potential negative effect on many union jobs and the mass unemployment it would cause for some industries. Additionally, worker safety is at the forefront of their concerns as driverless vehicles hit the road. 

James P. Hoffa, general president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters- which touts 1.4 million members - stated “If anyone needs to be at the table for a discussion on self-driving technology, it’s the package car driver, the long-haul truck driver and the taxi driver.”

Larry Willis, President of the AFL-CIO’s Transportation Trades Division, an alliance of 32 unions, believes “While the committee has tried to improve this bill, more needs to be done to make sure we adopt the right regulatory and labor policies governing the introduction of autonomous vehicles into the economy” and that autonomous vehicles “are likely to cause massive job dislocation and impact worker safety.”

As unions successfully lobbied a bill to include a 10,000-pound weight limit that precludes autonomous semi-trucks and commercial vehicles from being dispatched in the same way as passenger vehicles, many are concerned about the stage driverless passenger cars set for commercial transportation. Willis explained that “once you set the precedent in this bill, I think it’s very likely that you are going to see the same type of regulation migrate to commercial vehicles more broadly.”

While officials in the auto industry expect that it will be decades before autonomous vehicles are widely used, many companies have begun planning for deployment. 

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  1. Jeff Townsend | Aug 08, 2017
    The concern in the Truckload area is real due to the fact they do not unload the freight where the driver is required to provide the labor. The Less Than Truckload and the package area is alomost totalally releant on driver providing the labor. In both cases the cost of labor will be reduced and so will driver income. 

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