Governor Gavin Newsom rejected a Teamsters proposal to restrict self-driving trucks in the state of California.
The regulation and oversight of heavy-duty autonomous vehicle technology in California does not require Assembly Bill 316. Governor Newsom stated that the existing law already has enough authority to establish the necessary regulatory framework. He communicated this to the California Assembly, expressing his decision not to sign the bill.
Nothing changes because of the veto. Trucks with a gross weight of more than 10,000 pounds must always have a human safety driver on board. If Newsom had signed the bill, safety checks would have been done all the time.
Newsom wrote that the Department of Motor Vehicles continuously monitors the testing and operation of autonomous vehicles on California roads. The department also has the authority to suspend or revoke permits as necessary to protect the public’s safety.
Overwhelming legislative support for the ban
A sizable majority of lawmakers in both houses voted to pass AB 316. It was first suggested in January after preliminary talks between the California Highway Patrol and the Department of Motor Vehicles about a legal framework for heavy-duty driverless trucks. In this area, it is allowed to drive cars with a gross weight of up to 10,000 pounds. This includes most ride-hailing passenger cars.
Since 1979, the state assembly has never overturned a governor’s veto.
The Teamsters union held a protest in front of Newsom’s office in Sacramento on Tuesday. This was part of their ongoing pressure campaign, which also includes political threats. Newsom used to be the mayor of San Francisco, and he has a lot of ties to the IT industry. The labor movement is his second-biggest group of supporters.
I have a message for Gov. Newsom: if you want to veto this bill, you will be taking on 1.2 million Teamsters in this country. “Please put your helmet on and buckle in your chinstrap,” stated Teamsters General President Sean O’Brien.
Lawmakers and unions both said that AB 316 was needed to keep people from losing their lives and jobs because of the growing number of self-driving cars. A poll by the Teamsters shows that more than seven out of ten people in California want to ban self-driving cars.
Newsom hinted at a veto through his business office in August
Newsom said things that made it seem like he might kill the bill. His Office of Business and Economic Development told the people who wrote AB 316 on August 15 that they didn’t like the bill.
Newsom’s veto letter seemed to end on a note of making peace.
The administration is open to collaborating with stakeholders to find the appropriate approach for safely testing and deploying this advancing technology in California. Additionally, we aim to address and minimize any potential impacts on jobs.
Newsom has ordered the state’s Labor and Workforce Development Agency to hold a partner process in 2024 so that the testing and use of self-driving heavy-duty trucks won’t hurt employment as much as it could. This is to make sure that the testing and use of self-driving heavy-duty trucks don’t hurt employment.
Bill opponents celebrate Newsom’s veto
The Autonomous Vehicle Industry Association (AVIA) was against the move, and they are already happy that it was turned down.
Jeff Farrah, AVIA executive director, stated that California’s safety experts can continue evaluating autonomous vehicle technology and considering appropriate regulatory action. We are excited about the opportunity to maintain our collaboration with the California DMV, California Highway Patrol, Labor and Workforce Development Agency, and other state regulators.
Don Burnette, co-founder and CEO of Mountain View-based Kodiak Robotics, expressed gratitude to Governor Newsom for his principled decision to veto AB 316. This decision allows California’s safety experts, rather than its politicians, to regulate the autonomous vehicle industry.
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