(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) – California Senate Bill 915 (SB 915), a Teamsters-supported bill that will allow the state’s local governments to regulate autonomous vehicles (AVs), passed overwhelmingly today in the State Senate Local Government Committee.

“The Teamsters commend the Senators on the Local Government Committee who supported this bill to protect public safety and good union jobs,” said Chris Griswold, Teamsters International Vice President At-Large and President of Teamsters Joint Council 42“Right now, local communities have zero control over the dangerous autonomous vehicles on their roads. SB 915 will help fix this broken system and keep our communities safe by giving municipalities a voice in the deployment of AVs.”

SB 915 was first introduced in January by State Senator Dave Cortese (D – San Jose). Under SB 915, municipalities can opt out of allowing AVs on their roads, but if they choose to allow AVs, the bill gives local governments the power to create a regulatory roadmap, outline the number of AVs allowed on public roads, and implement standards on data transparency requirements, ADA accessibility, safety and health inspections and more. The San Francisco City Council, Oakland City Council, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, and San Mateo County Board of Supervisors all passed resolutions in favor of SB 915 earlier this year.

Growing support for AV regulation comes amid ongoing AV safety incidents. This year alone, robotaxis in California came within seconds of colliding with children and crashed into a cyclist. In February, Waymo announced a recall of its robotaxi software in response to two of its robotaxis crashing into the same truck minutes apart in Phoenix, Ariz., in December 2023.

“Under current California law, state agencies are the only regulatory bodies with any regulatory authority over AV operations. Instead of supporting common sense regulation, the agencies support Big Tech,” said Peter Finn, Teamsters Western Region International Vice President and President of Teamsters Joint Council 7. “This isn’t just dangerous, it’s widely unpopular and concerning to voters. The Teamsters are calling on all elected leaders to join the Senate Committee, protect Californians, and pass SB 915.”

See original article here from the IBT: https://teamster.org/2024/04/teamsters-advocacy-leads-to-passage-of-av-bill-in-california-senate-committee/

new study from the American Automobile Association shows more than 91 percent of U.S. drivers have expressed either fear or uncertainty about fully self-driving vehicles. Despite this, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and the Department of Motor Vehicles have refused to implement significant AV safety measures. Instead, the CPUC approved the expansion of Waymo robotaxis in Los Angeles and San Francisco earlier this year.

“Until California implements responsible guardrails for AVs, Big Tech will influence the deployment of autonomous vehicles on our roads more than voters. This puts pedestrians, first responders, and the general public in danger,” said Lindsay Dougherty, Teamsters Western Region International Vice President and Motion Picture and Theatrical Trades Division Director. “The Teamsters applaud the Senate Local Government Committee for ensuring residents throughout the state get to have a say regarding whether they want AVs rolling through their neighborhoods.”

SB 915 is part of the CARS legislative package on autonomous vehicles the Teamsters are advocating for in Sacramento to protect good jobs and public safety. The other two Teamsters-supported bills in the CARS legislative package, Assembly Bill 2286 and AB 3061, passed out of the Assembly Transportation Committee with overwhelming support on Monday and will head to the Assembly Communications and Conveyance Committee for a vote on April 23.