Ralph A. Schwartz, P.C.

How will a trucker's role evolve through automation?

The next time you’re on I-15 heading to Los Angeles from Las Vegas, or on US 93 heading to Phoenix, you may pass a number of semi-trucks and not even think about whether someone is behind the wheel, because that’s how it’s always been. After all, truck drivers are an integral facet of the American highway system.  

However, like automakers and technology companies working on self-driving cars, automated trucks may start appearing on Nevada’s highways in the very near future. If, or when, that occurs, will truckers be the latest job casualty of automation? 

Chances are that the duties a trucker has will evolve instead of them going extinct altogether.  Regulators, legislators and developers alike foresee that some drivers will still be on trucks, but they may be more like airline pilots who monitor a plane’s functions.  Other, more remote drivers will be able to “pilot” the vehicle from a central location, much like operators who fly drones from a set location.

So while a truck driver’s role may evolve, the duty to use reasonable care piloting or monitoring such a large vehicle may not necessarily change. The truck drivers of the future will still be required to operate the vehicle like a reasonable person would. This means that they must obey speed limits, abstain from mood altering substances while piloting a truck or monitoring its functions, and most importantly, limit distractions while the truck is on the road.

In the meantime, if you have questions about your legal rights after being involved in a semi-truck accident, an experienced personal injury attorney can advise you. 

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