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Transportation Labor Unions Applaud Federal Investigations into Waymo and Zoox

By Admin

WASHINGTON – Greg Regan, President of the Transportation Trades Department (TTD) of the AFL-CIO, issued the following statement after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched federal investigations into Waymo and Zoox this week, nearly six months after dozens of transportation labor unions called for a federal investigation of this kind:

“Six months after we urged federal investigations of Waymo and Zoox, we are pleased that NHTSA is responding to our call for action. While we would have preferred immediate action, this is still an important step in ensuring the safety of millions of road users, pedestrians, and workers.

“As robotaxis and similar vehicles have been deployed across the country, workers have faced increasing safety threats on the job. Firefighters and police have been forced to jump out of the path of driverless taxis moving through emergency cordons. Bikeshare workers have been forced to dodge these vehicles abruptly stopping in bike lanes and crosswalks. Transit and sanitation workers have been boxed in, cut off, and trapped inside their vehicles by driverless cars driving erratically. Construction and maintenance workers, who stand in harm’s way every day on our roads, have seen driverless vehicles pull into construction sites. These safety issues are exacerbated by operational chaos as driverless cars are failing to use public roads in safe, predictable ways.

“As the largest transportation labor federation in the country, representing thousands of unionized transportation and public safety workers, we have a vested interest in ensuring the safe and responsible deployment of autonomous vehicles and other related technology. Unfortunately, dozens of incidents involving Waymo and Zoox robotaxis have demonstrated that these vehicles are not road ready. That’s why we led nearly 30 labor unions in demanding a federal industry-wide investigation into Waymo, Zoox, and similar companies after Cruise’s robotaxi meltdown last year.

“We implore regulators to act on our repeated calls for an expansion of federal crash reporting requirements to include any significant performance deviations, rather than just crashes involving driverless vehicles. The current requirements have not been updated in over two years and do not reflect a range of ongoing incidents that endanger workers, pedestrians, and all road users. We also renew our calls for a safety-focused federal automated vehicle framework in place of the state-by-state patchwork of policies that has emerged in the absence of rigorous federal oversight.

“Given the surge in both the number of cities operating driverless vehicles on public streets and the number of accidents involving these vehicles, greater federal leadership is necessary to ensure this technology can be operated safely in the future.”