Truck drivers in California and around the country may be able to look forward to better working conditions once autonomous trucks become a part of the industry. The American Transportation Research Institute says that autonomous trucks will still require a driver in the cab, so they will not lead to job loss. However, it is hoped that the introduction of the vehicles will cut down on driver fatigue and allow operators to work on other tasks, such as logistics, during the time they would ordinarily be driving.
Drivers' on-duty limits may be more flexible with autonomous trucks. According to the ATRI, regulations such as the 14 hour on-duty limit, the 30-minute rest break, the 11-hour drive-time limit, and weekly limits may be revised. Drivers may also spend less time on the road.
However, a number of changes must be made before autonomous trucks can be fully integrated into the industry. Many of these are infrastructure changes that must be done by the public sector. These include improved signage and highway-to-vehicles communication systems. Other concerns include maintenance and cybersecurity. Regulators also must take crashes and liability into consideration.
Autonomous trucks may reduce the likelihood of accidents caused by human error, but until then, truck driver fatigue, distracted driving and other safety issues will continue to be a problem. The size of trucks means that they may do even more damage than other vehicles, and an occupant of another vehicle involved in a collision may suffer catastrophic injuries. The costs of such an accident might include vehicle repair or replacement, medical expenses and lost wages. people who are injured in a truck accident in which the truck driver is at fault might want to discuss their options with an attorney because the insurance company might offer insufficient compensation.