FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 7, 2020
The TWU Urges Administration to Put Public Safety Before Autonomous Vehicle Companies
Washington, DC – Transport Workers Union President John Samuelsen issued this statement in response to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration’s decision to grant an autonomous vehicle company an exemption from federal safety regulations for the first time:
“The Trump Administration’s transportation safety regulators today abdicated their duty to keep the public safe by waiving federal safety rules and opening the floodgates to potentially unsafe, poorly regulated autonomous vehicles (AV).
“The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave Nuro the right to place 5,000 driverless delivery vehicles on our streets for two years without first developing and enforcing the strongest federal AV safety standards. This dangerous gift to the autonomous vehicle lobby is an affront to public safety.
“The Administration is sending a chilling message to the traveling public and communities that it is open for business to any company in the multi-billion-dollar AV industry that seeks similar exemptions from federal safety rules.
“Our government has a duty to safeguard the public. It is premature to hand out exemptions at this scale. There’s at least one crash a week in the U.S. involving a driverless vehicle. It is time for our government to put the public interest above the financial interests of technology corporations and Wall Street.
“The blatant disregard for public safety exhibited by the federal government underscores the importance of trade unions, one of the few buffers protecting workers and our communities from the many risks posed by efforts to automate not just transportation but our economy as a whole. Now, more than ever, it is vital that workers collectively organize into unions.”
The Transport Workers Union of America, AFL-CIO, represents more than 150,000 workers in the airline, railroad, transit, universities, utilities and services sectors