California autonomous vehicles restrictions suffer veto

The governor of California has vetoed a bill which would ban autonomous heavy goods vehicles from the state’s Roads.

Gavin Newsom (pic) issued his veto to the California State Assembly saying Assembly Bill 316 was “unnecessary”.

“I am returning Assembly Bill 316 without my signature,” he wrote. “Among its provisions, this bill would ban driverless testing and operations of heavy-duty autonomous vehicles.

“Assembly Bill 316 is unnecessary for the regulation and oversight of heavy-duty autonomous vehicle technology in California, as existing law provides sufficient authority to create the appropriate regulatory framework.”

He highlighted in 2012, the California Legislature provided the Department of Motor Vehicles (OMV) with the authority to regulate the testing and deployment of autonomous vehicles on public roads in California.

“As part of its oversight and regulatory responsibilities, OMV consults with the California Highway Patrol, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and others with relevant expertise to determine the regulations necessary for the safe operation of autonomous vehicles on public roads,” Newsom explained. “OMV continuously monitors the testing and operations of autonomous vehicles on California roads and has the authority to suspend or revoke permits as necessary to protect the public’s safety.

“Autonomous vehicle technology is evolving and OMV remains committed to keeping our rules up to date to reflect its continued development in California.”

The veto explained the DMV held public workshops with interested stakeholders earlier this year to inform the development of future rulemakings for both light-duty and heavy[1]duty autonomous vehicles.

“This rulemaking will be a transparent, public process where subject matter experts and other stakeholders will have the opportunity  to shape the regulations related to the safe operations of autonomous vehicles in California,” he said.

The draft regulations are expected to be released for public comment in the coming months.

“In addition to safety, my Administration has long been concerned with the impact of technology on the future of work – so much so that in 2019 we convened, with participation from a variety of organized labour leaders including the Teamsters, UFCW, and SEIU, a robust Future of Work Task Force. That effort led to the publication of a report that guides our work on issues of emerging technology and its impacts on California’s workforce.”

Newsom continued: “But our efforts don’t end there. I am committed to incentivising career pathways and training for the necessary workforce specifically associated with this technology. As such, I am directing the Labour and Workforce Development Agency to lead a stakeholder process next year to review and develop recommendations to mitigate the potential employment impact of testing and deployment of autonomous heavy-duty vehicles.

“Considering the longstanding commitment of my administration to addressing the present and future challenges for work and workers in California, and the existing regulatory framework that presently and sufficiently governs this particular technology, this bill is not needed at this time.”.