An organization representing professional drivers has called on New York state legislators to ban self-driving vehicles for 50 years, citing the potential eradication of thousands of transport jobs.
The Upstate Transportation Association, which advocates for professional drivers, said it expects Uber and Lyft, the two major ridesharing services in New York City, to convert to driverless cars in a few years.
See also: Uber self-drives over to Arizona after dumping California
“It doesn’t do anything for the local economy to have driverless cars,” said John Tomassi, president of the Upstate Transportation Association to CNN. “I’m sure there’s a little bit of job creation, but nothing that will match the number of jobs lost.”
The Independent Drivers Guild, which represents 45,000 of New York City’s professional drivers, said it will fight for the state to keep its current self-driving laws. That means a full ban on all driverless vehicles.
Governor in favor of driverless cars?
Governor Andrew Cuomo recently pushed for wider legalization of ridesharing services in the state; the services are currently only available in New York City. Neither the legislature nor the governor have given an opinion on self-driving, though we suspect, like most other tech-centric states, they approve of it.
The adoption of self-driving cars could reduce traffic accidents by 90 percent, according to Google. Other advantages include a possible reduction in parking space, as cars could be sent on errands by owners or used by other members of the family.
It is up for the legislature and the people of New York to decide whether less accidents and parking is worth the loss of thousands of transportation jobs. Some states, like Michigan and Arizona, are pushing ahead with legislation that legalizes self-driving vehicles.