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Bills would ban driverless semi trucks from Indiana roadways

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Indiana lawmakers are pushing forward bills that would ban driverless semi trucks from Indiana roadways.

Senate Bill 57 and House Bill 1022 have been introduced as part of the 2024 Legislative session in Indiana. The bills were authored by Rep. Cindy Ledbetter, Sen. James TomesSen. Vaneta Becker, and Sen. Mark Messmer

The identical bills forbid the use of self-driving truck technology on Indiana roads unless there is a human driver in the cab of the vehicle.

From the digest of the bills:

Provides that an automated tractor-trailer may not be operated on a highway to transport passengers or goods unless a human operator who meets all state and federal qualifications to operate a tractor-trailer is physically present in the automated tractor-trailer to monitor the performance of the automated tractor-trailer and to take control of all or part of the automated tractor-trailer’s operation if necessary. Provides that an automated tractor-trailer operated in Indiana must meet federal motor vehicle standards and regulations.

Ledbetter said that the bills would protect truck driver jobs. She also suggested that automated truck technology is vulnerable to hackers.

“As the industry gets more connected and more data is shared, cyber threats are a very big possibility, and we wouldn’t want anybody with malicious intent to gain access to these semis,” Ledbetter told WISHTV. 

Similar legislation was introduced in California last year. Despite support from highway safety groups and Teamsters, the bill was vetoed by California Governor Gavin Newsom.

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