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Most States Ban Truck Platooning, but Report Shows Momentum Shift

Citations

Trucks.com cited Senior Fellow Marc Scribner on automated vehicle platooning.

In a report released Wednesday, the privately funded Competitive Enterprise Institute said 10 states in the last year have cleared the way for trucks to travel with as little as 40 feet between them. The trucks must have a radio-based technology called vehicle-to-vehicle communications and automatic emergency braking.

“Automated platooning technology allows trucks to reducing aerodynamic drag, fuel consumption and tailpipe emissions,” said Marc Scribner, a CEI senior fellow and author of the study.

Peloton Technologies says it expects to make two-truck platooning commercially available by the end of 2018.  The Mountain View, Calif.-based company claims more than 7 percent fuel savings by trucks accelerating and braking at close distances.

“The business case for the trucking companies is the fuel savings,” said Scribner, who advises the trucking industry. He also coaches states on model legislation that would remove rules, such as one requiring 300 feet between trucks on freeways.

Most legislatures are voting overwhelmingly in favor of the changes, which focus on loosening regulations concerning the distances driver must maintain between vehicles, Scribner said.

“If the momentum keeps up, I think five years is entirely reasonable in order to get the entire country on board,” Scribner told Trucks.com. “You talk to these legislators. They realize how simple the fix is.”

Georgia and Tennessee were the first states to fully welcome platooning, passing legislation in 2017. Arkansas, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas followed by making commercial platooning legal with exceptions. Michigan’s automated vehicle law included a platooning-friendly exemption. Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Wisconsin enacted rule exemptions this year. Scribner said Pennsylvania and Illinois could do so later this year.

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