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Commercial Drivers Call On Lawmakers, Rally Against Fully Autonomous Trucks

Commercial drivers parked trucks in front of the Statehouse to protest future autonomous vehicle legislation, Friday, Oct. 4, 2019.

Commercial drivers parked trucks in front of the Statehouse to protest future autonomous vehicle legislation. (Samantha Horton/IPB News)

Truck drivers and company owners rallied at the Statehouse Friday urging lawmakers to rethink autonomous commercial vehicles. Those in attendance want more research done before putting the technology out on the roads.

A study this year from the Government Accountability Office reported that up to nearly 1 million truck drivers could lose their jobs to fully autonomous trucks.

Will Cook organized the Indiana rally and says he’s concerned not only about safety risks, but also about potential employment ripple effects.

“They’re just trying to say it’s gonna to displace us; and it’s not,” says Cook. “It’s gonna trickle into everybody below. All the middle class, the working class, are gonna be affected by this. ‘Cause you displace 900,000 truckers, they gotta go work somewhere.”

Cook says he’s concerned changes to regulations in the industry could cause small trucking companies to go out of business and in turn hurt those who rely on those companies.

Charles Claburn, with the group Truckers and Citizens United, says lawmakers need to listen to the regulation concerns he and other commercial truck drivers have.

“They need to start responding to this industry because without this industry there’s no fuel delivered, there’s no groceries on the store shelves, there’s lumber in the hardware store,” says Claburn.

In addition to Indianapolis, rallies were held across the country including Kentucky, South Dakota and Michigan.

Contact Samantha at shorton@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @SamHorton5.

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

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