Bill Mandating Humans behind the Wheel of Driverless Trucks Heads to Newsom’s Desk
The California Senate passed a bill on Monday mandating human drivers behind the wheel of autonomous trucks on state highways for at least the next five years. The Legislature says it’s concerned about safety. The governor’s office says it’s concerned about innovation.
It’s now up to Newsom to veto the bill or sign it. All indications point to veto. Go-Biz, the governor’s California business development office, wrote a letter to the bill’s sponsor that argues passage of the bill would hamper the state’s competitiveness, limit supply chain innovation and undermine existing oversight.
The legislation, Assembly Bill 316, passed the Senate on a 36-2 vote. In essence, it would require driverless trucks, weighing from 10,000 pounds to 80,000 pounds, to have a human safety driver on board. The requirement would remain in place for at least five years, but proponents say the Legislature could remove that requirement earlier if it’s reasonably confident about vehicle safety.