Kentucky Vetoes Driverless Vehicle Bill Amid Safety Concerns

The bill's veto was supported by the Teamsters, which said its implementation would have a negative impact on transportation jobs and motorist safety.


Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, backed by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, vetoed House Bill 7 (HB7), which would have permitted the operation of driverless trucks and cars on the state's roads, raising widespread concerns over employment and motorist safety.

"This bill and others like it are written by and for Big Tech, and Gov. Beshear made the right call by vetoing it," said Teamsters General Secretary-Treasurer Fred Zuckerman. "We encourage every lawmaker who supported this dangerous piece of legislation to reconsider their support for it, given the devastating impact it will have on middle-class jobs and motorist safety throughout the Commonwealth. The Teamsters are asking elected officials in every state to support good union jobs, to protect public safety, and to stand against these deadly autonomous vehicle proposals wherever they pop up."

Recent polling showed the majority of Kentucky voters oppose the idea of driverless vehicles on their roads, with more than 80% less likely to support legislators endorsing such measures. These findings echo a broader national apprehension, as a study from AAA revealed more than 91% of U.S. drivers harbor fears or uncertainties regarding autonomous vehicles.

"Elected officials need to listen to their constituents -- not lobbyists -- and let bills like HB7 die," said Avral Thompson, Teamsters Central Region International vice president and president of Teamsters Local 89. "Voters recognize this bill for what it is -- a threat to middle-class jobs and public safety."

"There are tens of thousands of good-paying careers that could be jeopardized by HB7," said John Stovall, president of Teamsters Joint Council 94. "The Teamsters strongly encourage working people across Kentucky to contact their lawmakers and tell them to let Gov. Beshear's veto stand."

In California, a bill was introduced in February that would mandate human operators in self-driving trucks weighing more than 10,000 pounds. The bill, AB 2286, is a resurgence of a similar bill introduced in 2023 that passed both the Assembly and Senate with bipartisan support but was ultimately vetoed by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Polling of voters in California showed similar results to the one conducted in Kentucky; nearly three-fourths of Californians across party lines, gender, geography and all other demographics supported the legislation.

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