The International Brotherhood of Teamsters today commended Indiana State Senator Jim Tomes (R-Wadesville) for introducing legislation, Senate Bill 57 (SB 57), that would require a trained human operator to be physically present in any commercial vehicle transporting passengers or delivering goods on Indiana roads. SB 57 already has significant bipartisan support in the state Senate, with backing from Sen. Vaneta Becker (R), Sen. Mike Bohacek (R), Sen. Gary Byrne (R), Sen. Shelli Yoder (D), and Sen Mark Messmer (R), as support for AV safety measures continues to grow across the state.
Given the critical importance of this issue, the Teamsters Union is calling on Senator Michael Crider, chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, to commit to holding a legislative hearing on SB 57 during this legislative session.
“The Teamsters applaud Senator Tomes for introducing legislation that will help keep Indiana roads safe,” said Chuck Whobrey, President of Teamsters Local 215 and Vice President of Teamsters Joint Council 94. “Based on what we have seen over the past year in other states, we know that driverless vehicles are dangerous and do not belong on public roads. This bill sends a clear message to Big Tech that Hoosiers will not be their test subjects and that public safety is our priority. We are thankful to State Senator Tomes for putting forth this important bill and call on the Senate Transportation Committee to hold a legislative hearing on SB 57 in the coming year.”
The legislation comes as driverless vehicles have wreaked havoc on public roads across the country, causing accidents, blocking traffic, and interfering with first responders. A woman in San Francisco was seriously injured by a Cruise robotaxi after the vehicle struck and dragged her for 20 feet.
“Thousands of professional drivers in Indiana are responsible for safely transporting goods and keeping our economy moving. Their skills and training make them the best at what they do,” said Bob Warnock, President of Teamsters Local 364 and President of Teamsters Joint Council 69. “Deadly automated vehicles could kill their jobs and make it difficult for workers to support their families. With these vehicles on the road, the public is in danger. SB 57 will save lives and protect livelihoods, and the Teamsters urge the Transportation Committee to consider this commonsense legislation promptly.”
Hoosiers are understandably concerned about the dangers of driverless vehicles. In a poll conducted last year, more than 60 percent of Indiana residents said they would not be comfortable sharing the road with a small, driverless car; 75 percent would not be comfortable sharing the road with a driverless truck; and 83 percent would not be comfortable sharing the road with a semi-truck.
According to the poll, the presence of a human operator in a vehicle made Indiana residents feel significantly safer on the road.
“Hoosiers do not want to share the road with driverless vehicles because they know that the technology is not ready for prime time,” said Harvey Jackson, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 142. “Given what we have seen around the country, it would be madness to put dangerous driverless vehicles on our streets and put our safety in jeopardy. We are grateful to Senator Tomes for proposing this commonsense measure that will keep human beings behind the wheel in Indiana.”