A Missouri lawmaker recently proposed legislation that would require the presence of a qualified, licensed driver inside all autonomous vehicles in the state.
On January 8, Representative Mike Moon introduced HB2059 in the Missouri House.
The bill would outlaw the “automated” operation of an autonomous motor vehicle unless a person who is licensed to drive the vehicle is present.
From the text of the bill:
No automated motor vehicle shall be operated in automatic mode on a highway or street in this state unless a person is present in the vehicle who:
(1) Is licensed to operate a motor vehicle in this country;
(2) Is trained in the operation of the automated motor vehicle; and
(3) Has the ability to monitor the automated motor vehicle’s performance and immediately take control of the vehicle’s movements if necessary.
The operation of an automated motor vehicle on a highway or street in this state shall be subject to the laws and regulations of this state applicable to a conventional human driver and conventional motor vehicle of the same classification.
The fine for violating the terms laid out in the bill would be set at $1000.
Rep. Moon has spoken out against driverless vehicles in the past as a threat to jobs and to highway safety.
Industry group Truckers for Missouri has come out in support of the bill, with group organizer and owner-operator Bill Bogar remarking that “this will be America’s first industry offensive on autonomous technology to protect our citizens and jobs against corporate greed.”
Bogar organized a rally at the Missouri state capitol in Jefferson City in August 2019 to raise awareness about the dangers posed by driverless technology and to show support for Moon as he began work drafting the legislation that would become HB 2059.
During that rally Bogar explained to local news outlet KRCGTV the threats that driverless trucks pose to the men and women of the trucking industry: ““This is my job. I mean, once these things come in, I’m done; I’m out. Most of these people coming in today are literally a week out of being out of business.”