11/30/2023 | News release | Distributed by Public on 11/30/2023 18:34
The Labor Groups believe that autonomous vehicles ("AVs") are creating serious safety concerns across the country, citing recent reported incidents where emergency responders were disrupted by an AV, near misses between AVs and pedestrians, and "operational chaos" caused by AVs failing to navigate public roads predictably. They join a growing contingent of vocal opponents to AV expansion, including San Francisco City Attorney David Chiu and community organizations such as Safe Street Rebel, who have used the recent incidents to validate and amplify their messages.
The letter requests three (3) specific actions by the Secretary of Transportation and NHTSA:
The Labor Groups' letter may attract the attention of DOT and NHTSA officials who may respond with greater oversight of AV technology companies to appease the Labor Groups' concerns. It is unclear whether the specific investigations requested by the Labor Groups will occur. Recent developments, however, suggest that the federal government may, going forward, increase its scrutiny of AV technology to address the types of safety concerns highlighted by the letter.
AV technology manufacturers, operators, and suppliers should self-assess-with the assistance of experienced counsel and technical advisors-their safety policies and procedures to determine their preparedness for potentially more aggressive federal and state government safety investigations. This is especially true for AV companies that currently, or intend to, deploy fully driverless technology on public roads. It may also be prudent for AV companies to increase their engagement with federal regulators and legislative bodies to have more insight and contribution over any new federal AV standards and regulations that may develop. We encourage you to reach out if you have any questions, concerns, or would like our assistance with any of the issues described in this article.