This fireside chat recap is from FreightWaves’ Autonomous & Electric Vehicles Summit.
FIRESIDE CHAT TOPIC: Anticipating federal autonomous driving regulations
DETAILS: Automated driving technologies for semi-trucks are heading toward commercialization and deployment. Wiley Deck, vice president of government affairs and public policy of Plus and former FMCSA deputy administrator, talks about how regulations can unlock the full potential of self-driving technology to make long-haul trucking safer and more efficient while improving driver comfort. He also discusses recent regulatory changes — and new ones to come — needed to govern the function, deployment and operation of automated trucking systems.
SPEAKER: Wiley Deck, vice president of government affairs and public policy, Plus.
BIO: Deck leads the company’s government affairs and public policy strategy and outreach, including working with regulators and other key stakeholders to ensure the safe deployment of autonomous trucks. Deck most recently served as deputy administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, where he managed a $600 million budget and was responsible for regulating 530,000 trucking companies, 12,000 bus and motor coach operators and nearly 4 million interstate commercial driver’s license holders. Prior to that, Deck served in various leadership roles within the U.S. Department of Transportation as well as in the U.S. House of Representatives.
KEY QUOTES FROM WILEY DECK:
“We heard just recently that the FMCSA is looking at the possibility of making adjustments to hours of service to accommodate team drivers [using AV technology in the truck]. At some point it will have to be addressed once the driver is taken out, once we’ve accumulated the data we need to safely remove the driver, and how hours-of-service regulations come into play at that point.”
“It’s very critical that at some point we move away from the patchwork of regulations that we’re seeing across the country where states — which are able to react and move a lot faster than their federal counterparts — are enacting laws governing the applications of these new technologies. [AV] fleets are primarily focused in the interstate, long-haul trucking aspect of transporting goods, so at some point the federal government will need to step in with regulations that will be key to leveling out the environment in which these companies and fleets operate these new technologies.”
“Last year while I was at FMCSA, there were a large number of drivers leaving the fleets and moving into owner-operator status. So while the drivers are still in the mix and in the industry, the fleets were suffering because they were losing those drivers that they needed. If we can make life better for the driver, that will help with driver retention.”