Washington, DC — Larry I. Willis, president of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), issues this statement in response to NHTSA issuing the first-ever exemptions from traditional safety features for driverless cars:
“As our country continues to evaluate the potential uses for driverless vehicles, the federal government must take serious steps to ensure the testing and deployment of this technology is standardized, safe, and well regulated. Sadly, today’s decision by NHTSA to steamroll standard safety features on Nuro vehicles comes without any thoughtful regulatory framework in place, and further demonstrates that this administration is more concerned with prioritizing the interests of tech companies over the safety of the traveling public.
“Until legitimate safety concerns raised by transportation labor and many other key stakeholders are addressed, the exemption of standard safety features on autonomous vehicles is simply a dangerous and completely irresponsible abdication of NHTSA’s duties.
“We are also concerned by the precedent today’s decision establishes and the proverbial green light it gives to tech companies who want to use unproven technology on our streets as a way to cut costs and undermine workers. Rather than making any serious attempt to understand and mitigate the disruptive effects automation could have on our economy, the U.S. Department of Transportation is rushing to embrace technology that could undermine working Americans and further widen the wealth gap in this country.
“We again call on this administration to treat automated vehicle technology with the seriousness it warrants. America’s road users and the millions of men and women who make a living on the frontlines of our transportation system deserve nothing less.”