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Governor vetoes platooning in Missouri

William Payne
July 14, 2016

The Governor of the US state of Missouri has vetoed a bill going through the state legislature which would have made truck platooning legal in the state. Governor Jay Nixon vetoed the bill after the death of a driver in Florida in a self driving Tesla.

The state bill would have green lighted a six year pilot testing programme for platooning, allowing two truck platoons within state boundaries.

At present, trucks must stay around 300 feet apart (roughly 90 metres) on Missouri roads. The proposed bill would have reduced this distance to about 40 feet, or around 15 metres. It would also have allowed the automatic control of the platooned secondary vehicle by wireless and computer systems controlled by the lead truck.

The advantage of platooning is greater fuel efficiency, reduced carbon emissions, and a reduction in manpower required to managed numbers of trucks.

Platooning depends on advanced vehicle to vehicle and vehicle to cloud communications, as well as computer controlled active breaking, which is always engaged.

In vetoing the bill, Governor Nixon wrote: "Automated driving technology has advanced significantly within the last several years. However, the long-term safety and reliability of this technology remains unproven."

The Governor also mentioned the recent Tesla incident in Florida in his letter vetoing the bill. "The risks associated with automated vehicles are even greater considering the size of long-haul trucks and the catastrophic damage that could occur if the technology failed. Using Missouri highways as a testing ground for long-haul trucks to deploy this unproven technology is simply a risk not worth taking at this time."