Steps Recommended to Prepare for Potential Workforce Effects on Automated Trucking

Stakeholders recently interviewed by the General Accounting Office (GAO) predicted two main scenarios for how the adoption of automated trucks could affect the trucking workforce, which varied depending on the future role of drivers or operators. Technology developers, among others, described one scenario in which self-driving trucks are used on highway portions of long-haul trips. Stakeholders noted this scenario would likely reduce the number of long-haul truck drivers needed and could decrease wages because of lower demand for such drivers. In contrast, groups representing truck drivers, among others, predicted a scenario in which a truck would have an operator at all times for complex driving and other non-driving tasks, and the number of drivers or operators would not change as significantly.

As a result of these and other findings the GAO recommends that:

  • The Secretary of Labor should collaborate with the Secretary of Transportation to continue to convene key groups of stakeholders to gather information on potential workforce changes that may result from automated trucking as the technology evolves.
  • The Secretary of Transportation should consult with the Secretary of Labor to further analyze the potential effects of automated trucking technology on drivers to inform potential workforce-related regulatory changes
  • The Secretary of Labor should consult with the Secretary of Transportation to share information with key stakeholders on the potential effects of automated trucking on the workforce as the technology evolves.
  • The Secretary of Transportation should consult with the Secretary of Labor to further analyze the potential effects of automated trucking technology on drivers to inform potential workforce-related regulatory changes.

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