Self-Driving Cars and the Future of CDL

With self-driving cars becoming more popular, driver-less trucks are also on the horizon for the future. As a matter of fact, there are already automated vehicles working in some parts of the world on roads where there is not any traffic.
So what does this mean for current and aspiring drivers and the future of CDL?

Human Drivers are Essential

If you read a lot of the information that’s out there, you just might begin to panic. Some of this information makes it appear as though there is no future for truck drivers because self-driving trucks will replace the need for human drivers. Not to worry though.
First, self-driving trucks are not going to become the “norm” for quite some time, if at all. And even if the time does come when these trucks are being utilized regularly, there is an extremely slim chance that they will completely take over the role of human drivers. Here’s why.
An actual person still needs to:

  • Get the truck into a dock
  • Fuel the truck
  • Load and unload the truck
  • Perform pre- and post-trip inspections
  • Sign for drop-offs and pickups
  • Ensure cargo is properly secured
  • And much more…

In a nutshell, human drivers are responsible for too many things outside of driving that an automated truck will not be able to do.

Driverless Trucks May Never Be Completely Accepted

Yes, self-driving technology could potentially reduce accidents that are caused by driver fatigue and distraction. However, no system is foolproof - including this one.
According to Neal Peirce in a Washington Post article, “a nationwide switchover to full and legal use of driverless vehicles could take many years - and a lot more proof of their safety”. This article also quotes Toyota’s North American corporate business strategy manager, James Pisz, expressing the company’s belief that the individual should always have the ability to disengage and take over the system of a vehicle.
Additionally, driver’s organizations and unions would likely resist on a political level, arguing that safety is only assured by a human being and that self-driving trucks would still need a human driver as an emergency backup.
So, will driverless commercial vehicles eventually replace hard working drivers? While we can’t predict the future, we are pretty confident that they won’t. There are too many political and social implications, in addition to safety and security concerns, which make it very unlikely. 

Tags: CDL, Driving Training

Kelly Schwab

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