Missouri Governor Jeremiah W. Nixon has vetoed HB1733, a bill that would have established a pilot program for testing automated long-haul trucks using platooning technology.
In a letter explaining his veto, Gov. Nixon said that one of the reasons for his veto was that establishing a pilot program for testing platooning vehicles on Missouri highways could put the public at risk.
He specifically referenced an accident involving a self-driving Tesla car that lead to the death of an Ohio man as an example of the danger automated driving technology could pose.
“Automated driving technology has advanced significantly within the last several years, however the long term safety and reliability of this technology remains unproven,” Nixon stated. “That fact was tragically highlighted with the recent fatality involving a self-driving passenger vehicle.”
In the May 7 incident, a man Joshua Brown was killed while using the Autopilot feature of his Tesla Model S. A white tractor-trailer made a left turn in front of the Tesla at an intersection, but the autopilot failed to "see" the vehicle and did not brake. It is believed that the Autopilot’s cameras were unable to recognize the white trailer against a brightly lit sky.
Gov. Nixon says that he felt that platooning could pose an even greater risk to the public because it requires multiple large trucks to travel in tandem with little separation and synchronized braking and acceleration.
“The risks associated with automated vehicles are even greater considering the size of long-haul trucks and the catastrophic damage that could occur if the technology failed,” he stated. “Using Missouri highways as a testing ground for long-haul trucks to deploy this unproven technology is simply a risk not worth taking at this time.”