Truckers warn government about autonomous trucks and lack of maker transparency

2021-04-08 | Press Release – OOIDA

Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association

1 OOIDA Drive, Grain Valley, MO 64029
Web Site: www.ooida.com
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Contact: Norita Taylor, norita_taylor@ooida.com
Headquarters: (816) 229-5791

For Immediate Release


Truckers warn government about autonomous trucks and lack of maker transparency

Allowing AV manufacturers to choose what data is shared publicly is marketing and propaganda, not safety driven

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association filed comments warning federal transportation agencies that a lack of transparency not only violates their own mission statements but is also dangerous for all of the motoring public when it comes to efforts to integrate autonomous or Automated Driving Systems into trucking.

“The potential introduction of AVs on the nation’s highways invites more questions than answers. As autonomous technology develops, such as with companies like TuSimple, we are concerned that federal regulators will push for more technology as the solution to the industry’s safety and workforce issues without considering the negative impacts of these technologies,” said Todd Spencer, president of OOIDA.

In March, OOIDA told the U.S. Department of Transportation that it’s AV Comprehensive plan does not adequately ensure an open safety reporting environment and that prolonged reliance on voluntary safety reporting from AV manufacturers will not effectively build public trust, acceptance, and confidence in the testing and deployment of these vehicles.

This past week, OOIDA made similar but more extensive comments to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regarding it’s Framework for Automated Driving System Safety.

OOIDA contends that given the fact that there have already been a number of crashes involving ADS failures on the nation’s roads, NHTSA and U.S. DOT must employ standards that are based on verified research and testing data.

“The use of unproven automated technologies on our highways poses a significant threat to small-business truckers and we urge you to take action to protect all road users with greater transparency and oversight of their development,” said Spencer.

For example, OOIDA points out that NHTSA has particularly failed to exercise sufficient oversight of Tesla’s Full Self-Driving system. The Association says Tesla has only offered vague, incomplete, and misleading information about the reliability of its automated technologies and this information gives no indication whether they are safe or being used according to their design. Without comprehensive reporting requirements, it is difficult to know how many or what types of accidents, crashes, and injuries this technology causes.

Comments go on to say that professional drivers will be among the first to experience the technology’s shortcomings or deficiencies outside of controlled testing scenarios, potentially creating serious safety concerns for our members and the motoring public. OOIDA members and millions more working in other segments of trucking face a particularly uncertain future as technology might first diminish the quality of their jobs and then threaten to displace them completely.

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