June 5, 2023
California Takes a Stand Against Self-Driving Trucks
In an unusual turn of events, the US government has made a decision that could potentially safeguard the lives of hardworking Americans, and it’s related to the contentious issue of self-driving vehicles, or autonomous vehicles (AVs). Over the past year or two, there has been a significant push from companies like Tesla and Uber to integrate self-driving vehicles into the regular flow of human-operated traffic. However, the results have not always been ideal. Uber, for instance, withdrew from the autonomous vehicle scene in 2020 after a fatal accident involving one of their self-driving cars in Tempe, Arizona. This incident led to a lawsuit and a settlement with the victim’s family.
Then there’s Tesla, which has had its fair share of issues with autonomous vehicles. There have been 33 deaths worldwide directly linked to malfunctions or miscalculations by Tesla’s self-driving features since 2016. These incidents have given rise to concerns about the safety of Tesla’s vehicles. As a response to these concerns, the California State Assembly voted overwhelmingly in favor (54-3) of prohibiting self-driving trucks on their highways. The law, part of Assembly Bill 316, bans trucks weighing over 10,000 pounds from operating without a human driver.
This decision reflects the ongoing debate around the safety and reliability of autonomous vehicles, particularly in contexts involving large, heavy vehicles like trucks. While self-driving technology holds promise for the future, the California State Assembly has taken a cautious approach to ensure public safety on its roadways.
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