Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
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Say goodbye to truck drivers

To the editor:

For all the kids who planned on becoming a truck driver when they grew up, forget about it. Country singers will be singing truck driver songs with the same fond reminiscence of the horse-riding cowboy. It is only a matter of time before that occupation goes the way of the dodo bird and is a faded memory.

California’s governor, Jerry Brown, approved of legislation at the headquarters of Google Inc. that will pave the way for driverless cars in his state. In February, Nevada became the first U.S. state to approve regulations spelling out requirements for companies to test driverless cars.

In recent years, automakers have been introducing autonomous functions such as self-parking, lane departure warnings and adaptive cruise-control allowing vehicles to automatically accelerate and decelerate with the flow of traffic.

The California regulations would allow vehicles to operate autonomously, but for now a licensed driver would still need to sit behind the wheel to serve as an emergency backup.

The real question is how long before full automation becomes the norm.

Un-employment becomes a big concern. There are a lot of truckers and cabbies out there. What happens to them? How do they support their families when their steel horses get knocked out from under their seats?

Is someone in government developing a plan to re-employ all these displaced workers? I bet they become another statistic of our times, similar to clothing workers and TV repairmen. It appears their destiny will be to drive out into the sunset.

Donald Polonis

Easthampton

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