A recent national news report notes that many veteran truck drivers in
Indiana and nationally will likely end up retiring before they see radical
tech-related change occurring in their industry. Most of those individuals
seem just fine with that.
In fact, many of them wouldn’t want it any other way. Their comments
clearly reflect widespread
concerns about next-generation technologies linked with self-driving rigs.
The cited USA Today article collectively paints seasoned commercial truckers
and industry executives as an open-minded and resigned group that sees
the writing on the wall regarding autonomous vehicles. They largely seem
to accept that radical new changes are approaching on America’s roadway
At the same time, though, they’re in no hurry to see those changes
play out on roads and interstates across the country.
Most of their stated concerns focus squarely on safety.
“Can it [a self-driving truck] really distinguish between a deer and
a child and always make the right call?” queries one veteran trucker.
The new technology is exciting, says one industry analyst, “but no
one thinks it’ll solve everything.”
The bottom-line concern of legions of experienced truckers simply stems
from a simple belief that technological processes can never replace the
quick instincts and hard-earned insights of veteran drivers. They worry
about employing software programs rather than human reasoning to handle
monstrously large and heavy vehicles in constantly changing environments
Their concerns certainly seem logical. Crash avoidance and improved safety
outcomes must be the overriding concern of developers and regulators as
passenger drivers move ever closer to the time when they are routinely
sharing road space with self-driving commercial trucks.