State Rules Review Committee Hears Testimony On Track Platoons Coming To South Dakota

(WNAX) — Longer lines of truck traffic may soon be traveling interstate highways in South Dakota. A law passed by the legislature this year would allow “truck platoons.” Karla Engle, an attorney with the Department of Transportation explained the concept to the Rules Review Committee…

“It’s us dipping our toe into the area of autonomous vehicles. South Dakota Codified Law 32-26-50 which was enacted in this last legislative session authorized the Transportation Commission to promptly promulgate rules, testing and operation of vehicles that travel at electronically coordinated speed and distance intervals.”
Engle says the truck convoys move as one unit…

“What platooning does is it links two vehicles so that once platooning is engaged by that following vehicle, now they’re traveling at synchronized speeds; so they accelerate together, they slow down together and they stop together.”
Engle says there will be drivers in each truck. Senator Craig Kennedy of Yankton had some cautions for the Transportation Department…

“As we look at these rules in play, we don’t lose sight of the effect of these new rules have on the non-trucking public. Those of us who are required to drive on the same roads that these over-length vehicles an platoons operate on. Personally, I think they’re going to add an element of danger to the rest of the public and I think we just need to be aware of that and watch for that and be willing to adjust if need be to lessen danger.”
The Highway Patrol and the state Truckers Association both spoke in favor of the rules. They were approved by the committee on a unanimous vote.