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North Texas drivers express concerns over self-driving 18-wheelers

Fully autonomous 18 wheelers coming soon to North Texas
Fully autonomous 18 wheelers coming soon to North Texas 03:21

ELLIS COUNTY — A revolutionary change in ground transportation is taking place just 20 miles south of Dallas in the Ellis County town of Palmer. 

Self-driving 18-wheelers that have undergone years of testing are about to be on the roads without anyone at all behind the wheel.
It has longtime truckers are worried about their livelihood and others concerned that the technology needs more testing to make sure public is safe.  

For nearly 30 years, Chris Goldsby and his big rig have shared a lot of time and miles. 

"It's just a personal relationship you have with it because you spend more time in essence, you spend more time on your truck than you do, you know, with your family, especially as an over the road trucker," says Goldsby. 

 He knows that self-driving trucks are already beside him on some of the highways he travels and could soon make his job obsolete. 

"It would be kind of loose some of the personality part of the personable thing that comes with it. Because, you know, I go in and I actually talk with the shipper, I actually talk with the receiver,"  he says. 

Goldsby is not convinced they will be as safe without a veteran driver behind the wheel. 

"You know, I'm at the point where I drive so much, I can look ahead and I can almost anticipate what the driver in front of me is going to do. Like I can tell, you know, if they're driving, if they come up on my my mirror and they're driving erratically, I know I need to automatically back off just because they're going to be they're going to do something that may put us put us in danger." 

Amy Witherite has been publicly critical of the state for giving the green light to self-driving long haulers.  

She is a Dallas Lawyer who specializes in vehicle accidents. 

"If you have any inclement weather, we have no testing to prove that these large tractor trailers can adjust," says Witherite. "Our families should not be the guinea pigs for deciding if this technology works or doesn't work." 

Witherite points to several accidents during test runs including this minor one last year in Ellis County. 

"We've all had computer glitches on our phones on our computers if there's a glitch in this software, we are all going to pay the price," she says. 

A recent survey by AAA found that most drivers have their own doubts with 66 percent afraid of self driving large trucks and only 9 percent who trust the technology. 

Chris Goldsby doesn't believe the roads are ready for what's coming. 

"We're talking about an £80,000 vehicle. If that thing has an accident, is going to be a lot more damage," he says.  

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