SACRAMENTO, Calif. — September 23 update:
California Governor Gavin Newsom announced Friday evening that he vetoed the bill.
In his veto statement, Newsom says, "Considering the longstanding commitment of my Administration to addressing the present and future challenges for work and workers in California, and the existing regulatory framework that presently and sufficiently governs this particular technology, this bill is not needed at this time."
Story from September 19:
A bill that would essentially ban self-driving semi-trucks from operating in California is one signature away from becoming law. Assembly Bill 316 was sent to Gov. Gavin Newsom for a final decision after passage in the Senate last week.
The bill would prohibit autonomous, or self-driving, vehicles weighing over 10,000 pounds from operating on public roads without a 'human safety operator' on board.
The bill has support from the Teamsters Union, which represents truck drivers.
Drivers and advocates marched through Sacramento Tuesday demanding Newsom sign the bill into law. They argue it would protect their jobs and ensure safety on the roads.
"Especially when you're on the road, you need a human aspect in making those judgement calls," said truck driver Susana Perez.
Self-driving trucks have already taken to the roadways in other states, including Texas and Arizona.
Kodiak Robotics is one company using autonomous technology in semi-trucks. The company is based in California with a hub outside of Dallas.
Kodiak CEO Don Burnette said the driverless trucks can improve efficiency and lower costs.
"We all want our deliveries yesterday and the fact of the matter is that there just aren't enough drivers to meet that demand," Burnette said in an interview with WFAA, ABC10's sister station in Dallas.
Kodiak is part of the Autonomous Vehicle Industry Association.
AVIA is urging Newsom to veto AB 316. In a statement, Executive Director Jeff Farrah said the bill will "lock in the unacceptable safety status quo on the state’s roads and cause California to miss out on the supply chain benefits of autonomous trucking."
Autonomous vehicle supporters argue the trucks will remove human errors, including distracted or drowsy driving, and help deal with a shortage of truck drivers.
Newsom has until Oct. 14 to sign the bill into law or veto it.
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