Recently, the USPS conducted an automotive mail haul pilot program test for a 1,000-mile trip between Phoenix and Dallas. From Bloomberg to NPR, headlines read, “USPS is Testing Self-Driving Trucks.”
The results of this pilot have not been shared with the public or the Union, something that the MVS Department is greatly concerned about and have demanded a meeting on. Furthermore, the Postal Service has said that “this pilot is just one of many ways the Postal Service is innovating and investing in its future.”
Currently, regulations are in place that limit the testing and use of automated vehicles. However, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are considering changes to the rules that would allow driverless vehicles on the road. They announced an “Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking” (ANPRM) in the May 28, 2019 Federal Register.
Automated commercial vehicles and hauling is not an investment in the safety of citizens on the road, professional TTO/MVO drivers, or an investment in the future of USPS skilled labor.
But there is something you can do about it: Submit a comment or concern to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration calling for for regulation of automated vehicles for the safety of drivers, citizens, and the future of our jobs!
“Big corporations are attempting to substitute automation for skilled and professional drivers. It is up to all of us: Members, officers, the Grand Alliance and the whole community, to request the FMCSA take a serious review,” said Motor Vehicle Service Director Michael O. Foster, “The requirements for these tests should be at least as stringent as the requirements for a professional driver operating commercial vehicles on the streets with our families and the public at risk.”
“When the USPS requested an exemption for the Hours of Service (HOS), that the Highway Route Contractors (HCRs) could operate – on the same streets and highways that these driverless vehicles propose to operate on – we asked our friends and network to comment and list their concerns – they did and it made a difference,” Director Foster continued.
“These changes will affect people’s lives and the safety of our streets. The rules and conditions that would allow an automated driverless commercial motor vehicle to operate must be thoroughly investigated and regulated,” he cautioned.