Louisiana joins states adopting changes for truck platoons

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Providing authority to test driver-assistive truck platooning technology on highways continues to advance through statehouses from Louisiana to Pennsylvania. The concept uses a lead truck to control the speed and braking of following trucks.

Advocates say truck platooning will save fuel because of reduced aerodynamic drag, lessen traffic congestion, and improve highway safety. Some supporters acknowledge it will work best on relatively flat, divided highways outside of populated areas.

Critics question how automated vehicles and traditional vehicles will interact on roadways. Others doubt whether widespread use of the technology is realistic.

In addition, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center reports that Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations are likely to get in the way of automated technology.

During the past three years at least a dozen states have taken action to permit testing of autonomous trucks. The rule changes often require amendments to large vehicle following distance rules.

The first state to take action was Utah. The Beehive State acted earlier this year to approve a follow-up bill to exempt connected trucks from the state’s two-second rule for safe following distance.

The most recent state to act on the issue is Louisiana. The state’s Legislature has sent a bill to the governor’s desk that would revise state law that covers the minimum requirements for large vehicle following distances.

Louisiana law states that “a driver shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent.” Specific to trucking, the rule defines the distance as within 400 feet on a highway.

The bill, HB308, would permit platooning trucks to travel within the restricted distance between vehicles. Continue reading...


See also:  ACT 310 (HB 308) Resume Digest