Warning of severe consequences to safety, working people, and transportation access and equity if driverless vehicles are not properly regulated, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), today announced a legislative framework for the testing, deployment and regulation of autonomous vehicles (AVs).

The two organizations, which collectively represent the interests of millions of frontline transportation workers, are together calling on lawmakers to use five key policies, which promote safety, equity, and the integrity of jobs and wages, as the foundation of any legislation designed to regulate AVs and corresponding technology.

Transportation labor’s principles for AV legislation include:

  1. Prioritizing safety by abiding by the framework developed in the Joint AV Tenets introduced by Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.
  2. Appropriately defining the scope of AV technologies, including continuing the carve-out for vehicles over 10,000 pounds, requiring vehicles under 10,000 pounds to have a human driver or operator, and including the regulation of delivery bots and other alternative-design small vehicles being used for commercial purposes in comprehensive AV legislation.
  3. Creating a robust workforce training and job-loss mitigation plan, and a commitment to move this plan in conjunction with any AV bill.
  4. Ensuring consumer rights, equity, and accessibility are key components of any framework
  5. Calling for the assurance that any federal employment policies and procurement plans that include the development and use of AVs will lead to good middle-class U.S. manufacturing jobs.

Labor leaders warn that if lawmakers fail to adopt these protections, and AV technologies operate unregulated – as has been the case in recent years – the U.S. will face significant economic, safety and mobility challenges.

Reports estimate that as many as 3 million workers could have their jobs replaced or fundamentally altered by automation. Meanwhile, a deluge of recent accidents involving Waymo, Tesla, Uber and other AVs have resulted in serious injuries and even death. And serious questions have surfaced about the extent to which AVs will truly increase equity, transportation access and environmental outcomes.

The policies come ahead of a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing that will examine the promise and perils of automobile technologies.