Senator John Thune (R-S.D.) at a U.S. Senate Commerce Committee hearing. Photo: Office of Sen. John Thune

Senator John Thune (R-S.D.) at a U.S. Senate Commerce Committee hearing. Photo: Office of Sen. John Thune

On Sept. 13, Senator John Thune (R-SD) will convene a Senate Commerce Committee hearing to examine the potential benefits and impacts of automated commercial vehicles.

Titled “Transportation Innovation: Automated Trucks and Our Nation’s Highways," the hearing will look at the benefits of automated truck safety technology as well as the potential impacts on jobs and the economy. It will focus on trucks, buses and other heavy-duty vehicles as part of bipartisan efforts to draft self-driving legislation.

While the House on Sept. 6 passed a bill that could help speed the development of self-driving cars, the legislation makes no mention of commercial vehicles. It has been reported that commercial vehicles were cut out of the measure as a sop to labor unions that see self-driving trucks as a threat to jobs. 

“Self-driving technology for trucks and other large vehicles has emerged as a pivotal issue in Congress’ attempt to help usher in a new era of transportation,” said Thune. “This hearing will offer all members of the Commerce Committee the opportunity to hear expert testimony on the future highway safety benefits of applying automated technology to trucks as well as perspectives on excluding trucks from legislation affecting small passenger vehicles.”

Transportation industry leaders scheduled to speak at the hearing including Chris Spear, American Trucking Associations president and CEO; Troy Clarke, CEO of Navistar; Deborah Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council; as well as representatives from the Colorado State Patrol and Teamsters union.

The hearing will take place at 10 a.m. eastern standard time in the Russell Senate Office Building, room 253. Witness testimony, opening statements and a live video of the hearing will be available on