Fleet Management

ATA’s Chris Spear Named to DOT Automation Committee

January 11, 2017

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ATA president Chris Spear fielding reporters' queries on autonomous policymaking at last year's Managment Conference and Exhibition. Photo: Evan Lockridge
ATA president Chris Spear fielding reporters' queries on autonomous policymaking at last year's Managment Conference and Exhibition. Photo: Evan Lockridge

American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear, who has emphasized the need for trucking to have a seat at the table when it comes to autonomous vehicle technology, has been named to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s automation advisory committee.

Spear is one of 25 members of the committee, which includes leading professionals and experts in their fields. The committee will focus on the development and deployment of automated vehicles and determine the needs of the DOT as it continues to establish new policy and regulations.  

It is tasked with playing a crucial role in sharing best practices, challenges and opportunities in automation and is meant to open lines of communication between stakeholders.

“I am grateful to have been chosen by Secretary Foxx to serve on this important panel,” said Spear. “Trucking is vital to the U.S. economy and an important part of our transportation system, so it is imperative that trucking and this association have a seat at the table when it comes to issues like autonomous vehicles, and we will be driving that outcome.”

Spear advocated for the trucking industry’s direct involvement in the development of automated technology development in a Q&A at last year’s ATA Management Conference & Exposition. The DOT released its first federal guidelines for testing and deployment of autonomous vehicles in September of last year but did it without much input from the trucking industry.

Spear is looking forward to speaking for the trucking industry as the government develops its policy on autonomous vehicles in the technology’s early days. The committee is scheduled to have its first meeting on Jan. 16.

“While large-scale use of autonomous trucks is years away, the policy framework that will govern this future is being debated and ultimately written today, and I look forward to vigorously participating in those discussions on behalf of the trucking industry,” said Spear.

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