ATA Law Review: A Brave New World? Automation and Electrification of Commercial Vehicles Create New Regulatory and Employment Law Questions



A Brave New World? Automation and Electrification of Commercial Vehicles Create New Regulatory and Employment Law Questions  

Webinar Description:  

Transition to battery electric and fuel-cell automobiles and commercial vehicles (including heavy duty trucks) in the US now appears nearly inevitable. And the projected pace of that change (impelled in part by government mandates) is faster than any other change of similar magnitude in the history of the US motor vehicle industry.  The trend of increasing automation of operation of on-road heavy duty trucks also appears poised to accelerate, potentially leading to widespread deployment of autonomous (driverless) trucks by motor carriers in the foreseeable future.  

Together, vehicle electrification and automation will likely be transformational for the motor vehicle and surface transportation industries, and for many sectors of the economy.  The changes hold promise of significant benefits for commercial vehicle manufacturers, owners, motor carriers, and their customers.  They also create new legal, regulatory and policy issues and uncertainty.  Existing vehicle safety, operational, environmental, and employment laws, regulations, and arrangements were not designed for driverless electric vehicles.  In a number of instances, existing law, regulations, and practices are irrelevant or will be impractical to apply to commercial motor vehicles and their operation. This may make regulatory compliance more difficult and uncertain.  And, commercial motor vehicle regulatory revision and adjustment is likely to lag behind these technological and commercial changes. 

This webinar will survey some of the legal and regulatory changes and challenges that may accompany CMV electrification, automation, and related developments.  We will discuss mismatches between existing laws and regulations and electric and automated trucks and their operation, resulting legal and regulatory gaps, risks, and uncertainty, and some possible ways to address those challenges. 

What Motor Carriers Will Take Away From This Webinar: 

  • An overview of factors driving anticipated CMV electrification and automation
  • Understanding of general areas of legal and regulatory uncertainty, risk, and related challenges that will accompany the transition
  • Significant examples of potential legal/regulatory developments and changes that may be made in response to increasing CMV electrification and automation
  • Potential labor and employment law implications of these changes for motor carriers
  • Extraterritorial application of state laws, including how it could affect interstate motor carriers’ legal risks and obligations with respect to vehicle electrification, automation and related matters


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About Presenters: 

Paul Hemmersbaugh, Partner, DLA Piper LLP– Washington DC Office 

Paul Hemmersbaugh chairs DLA Piper’s Transportation Regulatory and Litigation group. Paul focuses his individual practice on motor vehicle regulation and litigation, including safety, operational, and environmental regulation of heavy-duty trucks and carriers, and emerging laws and regulations governing automated, electric, and connected vehicles. He is former Chief Counsel to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), where he was a principal author of the Federal Automated Vehicles Policy; oversaw the largest recall in US history; directed development of the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards; and worked to streamline regulatory processes. Immediately prior to joining DLA, Paul was Chief Counsel and Policy Director for autonomous and electric vehicles and emerging technologies and services at General Motors.  

Richard Rahm, Partner, DLA Piper LLP– San Francisco Office 

Richard Rahm counsels and represents employers in the trucking industry in state and federal class and collective actions, appeals and arbitrations. Richard has defended motor carriers at both the trial and appellate level concerning, among other issues, the extraterritoriality of state laws.  


A recording will be provided to all approved registrants post webinar even if you are not able to attend.

NOTICE: ATA webinars are strictly educational for our members, and are not press events. The information contained in this webinar is not intended for, nor should it be used in, the production, editing or creation of news or analysis pieces. Participants are also forbidden from using them as background for published materials, white papers or other communications. Therefore, the contents of this webinar are strictly embargoed and off the record.