As they say, all bad ideas come from California… or maybe I just say that. But either way, it continues to be true.
One recent example stems from a new bill, AB 316, the state is poised to pass that—if replicated—could wreak havoc and stall the progress rapidly being made towards autonomous vehicles. Per usual, the bill comes at the behest of corrupt labor unions that are becoming increasingly desperate to mandate their existence via government edict as their popularity plummets across the country.
The legislation would mandate a teamster union member be present in all self-driving trucks in the state—which kind of defeats the purpose of a self-driving car, lol. In fact, I’d argue this is a de facto ban on autonomous trucking.
Naturally, the people pushing this bill (the teamsters, as it happens), claim this is all about safety—the oh-so-played-out mantra of all regulation lobbyists.
More than 35,000 people die due to car accidents every year in the US alone. As someone who lost their cousin to this swift, gut-punching, every day reality at the age of 16, I’ve eagerly awaited the implementation of autonomous vehicles for some time. The simple reality is most deaths on US roadways are due to human error. Computers are simply smarter than humans, and they don’t drink and drive, text, fall asleep, or get road rage. The emergence of this technology on the marketplace stands to save countless lives.
It is absurd to argue that having a union-government-leech in the front seat of a vehicle makes anyone safer. Rather, this kind of regulation simply makes innovation much more costly and would stagnate the development of a groundbreaking technology.
This is typical of most regulations. While industry insiders and lobbyists fearmonger the American people and claim to be acting in their best interest, the only interest they’re actually concerned with is that of their own bottom line. Regulations more often prevent competition, force industries to run more slowly and become more expensive for consumers, and involve kickbacks for those working for their existence.
This idea is in keeping with all of that.
As of right now, self-driving cars are within reach of the average American consumer within our lifetime. That’s an astounding feat that not only stands to make us all actually safer, but also increases our quality of life. Imagine what you could do with the time during your commute if you weren’t having to drive. Answer emails, read a book, catch up on sleep, teach your kids something new, everyone could gain back precious hours of their life that are currently wasted fighting traffic.
Not only that, but automating the trucking industry would be a major boom for our economy. Trucks that don’t have to stop for drivers to sleep means a supply chain that is drastically sped up, lower costs for deliveries, and therefore, faster and cheaper products for all Americans.
Unions want to prevent you from accessing all of that thanks to their own greed and incompetence at actually creating value in the world. They are a dying entity sucking out the lifeblood from the economy.
Foreign countries will not entertain this kind of madness, meaning these kinds of asinine ideas would also force the US to be more dependent on foreign nations and allow them to get the economic boom from autonomous cars instead of us. This kind of thing is why the US is consistently falling behind our competitors. It’s anti-capitalist, anti-common sense and very big government: a recipe for disaster.
Autonomous vehicles are undergoing some of the strictest safety tests out there and they’re doing that without government edicts. The owners of these companies recognize that safety is paramount to convincing Americans to adopt this new technology and they’re not playing around with their investment. Per usual, the market is delivering while those who can’t find success in the real world (cough, unions) are ever-dependent on the government forcing people to support their existence.
Labor unions are the real welfare queens and autonomous cars cannot become their new gravy train.
Hannah is a consultant for Netchoice, a free market trade organization for tech companies.