MIL-OSI USA: Indiana Teamsters Testify on Autonomous Vehicles, Call on Lawmakers to Take Action

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Source: US Teamsters Union

Senate Bill 57 and House Bill 1022 Critical for Good Jobs and Motorist Safety

Press Contact: Matt McQuaid Phone: (617) 894-0669 Email: mmcquaid@teamster.org

(INDIANAPOLIS) – Teamsters recently testified in the Indiana General Assembly’s Roads and Transportation Committee in favor of House Bill 1022, legislation requiring human operators in driverless trucks. HB 1022 and its companion bill in the upper chamber, Senate Bill 57, will protect middle-class jobs and motorist safety throughout the state.

“We’d like to thank Representative Cindy Ledbetter, for authoring this bill, the committee chair Representative Jim Pressel for holding a hearing on this bill, and our Teamster brother Senator Jim Tomes for authoring the companion legislation in the Senate,” said Chuck Whobrey, President of Teamsters Local 215 and Vice President of Teamsters Joint Council 94. “We’re now calling for a vote on HB 1022 and reiterating our demand that Homeland Security and Transportation Chairman Mike Cryder hold a hearing on SB 57.”

“HB 1022 is critical legislation that has the support of Teamsters, law enforcement, firefighters, paramedics, other public safety professionals, and the general public,” said Harvey Jackson, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 142. “Polling shows voters from both parties are uncomfortable sharing the road with autonomous vehicles and driverless trucks. We want a human operator behind the wheel.”

“Total wages for the trucking industry exceeded $11 billion in 2021. That money went toward state and local taxes, small businesses, charities, and household income throughout Indiana,” said Michael Kuntz, a Local 135 member. “Job loss due to automation wouldn’t just be bad for professional drivers. It would have a ripple effect throughout the economy, negatively affecting the finances of both private and public sector entities in Indiana.”

Local 135 member William Honey made headlines in 2019 when he saved the lives of his co-workers by using his truck to block a driver in a high-speed police chase. Honey called on the assembly to vote in favor of HB 1022 because of how unsafe driverless trucks are.

“There were no fatalities that night, but if there wasn’t a human operator in that dump truck, there could’ve been a devastating tragedy,” Honey said. “There are millions of possible scenarios that you might face as a truck driver, none of which a driverless vehicle is capable of dealing with. Automated systems do not have the ability to adapt to real-time situations like inclement weather or unexpected obstacles on the road.”

Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.3 million hardworking people in the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico. Visit Teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at Facebook.com/teamsters.

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