Far too many motorists are killed or severely injured each year because of truck accidents. While self-driving cars may become a reality in the near future, it does not look as though self-driving trucks will quickly follow suit as public safety concerns hold the industry back.
A bill approved in Sept. 2017 by the U.S. House of Representatives allows up to 100,000 autonomous cars on the road annually, and does not permit states to adopt regulations regarding the design or software of such vehicles. However, the bill does not allow autonomous trucks, as it only pertains to vehicles under 10,000 pounds. Big rigs weigh in at approximately 80,000 pounds.
The U.S. Senate is expected to vote on the bill this fall. Autonomous big rig opponents are watching to see if proponents insert truck provisions back into the bill when it is on the floor. Such a move would kill the bipartisan agreement.
Tremendous Job Losses
If autonomous trucks become a reality, millions of commercial truck drivers will lose their livelihood. Labor unions have lobbied Congress heavily to keep autonomous trucks off the road. An estimated 6.2 million drivers would lose their jobs worldwide by 2030 should self-driving vehicles prevail. The economic impact of this working-class job loss would have a major effect on American families.
Truckers make the equivalent of $20 to $40 per hour when they are on the road. The average truck driver has only a high school education, so finding comparable paying work is difficult – especially if millions of truckers lose their jobs within a relatively short timeframe.
Tesla, among other companies, is pushing for the creation of semi-autonomous truck platoons. This involves a lead truck with a human driver, followed by autonomous trucks taking advantage of the wind hole created by the lead truck. All of the trucks share electronic communication, along with the ability to brake at once when necessary.
While autonomous trucks are off the road for now, business pressure to reduce costs and improve efficiency through self-driving trucks is not going to let up. A truck driver takes five days to move cargo from New York to Los Angeles. An autonomous truck, which doesn’t need to stop for food, sleep or bathroom breaks, can make the same trip in 48 hours. That’s with two or three fuel stops factored in.
Delaware County Truck Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC LLC Help Victims of Truck Accidents
If you or a loved one has been harmed in a trucking accident, contact a Delaware County truck accident lawyer at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC LLC. Call 215-569-8488 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. With offices located throughout the tri-state area, we serve clients in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey.