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Self-Driving Trucks: Their Impact on the Freight Industry and How They Will be Regulated

March 27, 2017

Self-driving trucks promise to be cheaper and safer than human-driven trucks. America has 3.5 million truck drivers and even though the pay is lousy, they are fighting against the rise of the machines that threaten their livelihoods. Driverless trucks were tested as early as 2015 however policy-makers are certain that it will be a while before the trucks start hauling goods across the country on their own. A spokesperson from the American Trucking Association stated that self-driving trucks will still have drivers behind the wheel until the technology is proven to be completely safe.

The technology is available however all that stands in the way of widespread adoption is legislation. The federal government is not yet certain that these trucks are safe and they’re making self-driving car-makers jump through hoops to make it clear even though driver error is the main cause of accidents involving 18-wheeler trucks. The federal government may not be ready to let self-driving trucks go solo just yet however automatic braking and blind-spot sensors are sure to make trucking much safer in the short-run.

Self-driving car makers were operating in a uncertainty over how their cars will be regulated however the federal government stepped up to make a few rules. They released their rulebook on how every self-driving car maker from Tesla to Google must operate. The standout point in this new regulation is that manufacturers must submit large amounts of data about their cars but the makers are resisting.

On top of that, manufacturers must ensure that their cars satisfy a 15-point risk assessment which details how their cars will behave in the case of accidents on the road. This is the only way for the government to be sure that the public will not be put at risk. Little is mentioned in the new legislation about how they will deal with drivers losing their jobs.

Higher ups in the freight transportation industry are understandably more excited than the drivers. If driverless trucks are a success then they expect to make cost savings to the tune of $163 billion every year. $70 billion of that is from labor, $35 billion from increased fuel efficiency, $36 bullion thanks to fewer accidents and $27 billion from increased levels of productivity.

For now at least, self-driving cars seem to be perfectly capable of keeping themselves out of accidents however weather is proving to be one of the hardest challenges facing manufacturers. Snow, for example, makes it so that the cars can’t see the pavement lines and rain messes with the radar. Majority of the self-driving cars were tested in sunny climates such as California therefore they should do well in Florida. For more information on how to file a claim for an accident involving self-driving trucks, check in with a personal injury attorney in Melbourne, FL.

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