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Consultation on future rules for automated vehicles 08/11/2018 The Law Commissions are consulting on crucial legal reforms that will ensure the country is prepared for the introduction of automated vehicles.

Consultation on future rules for automated vehicles

The Law Commission of England and Wales and the Scottish Law Commission have launched the first in a series of public consultations about crucial legal reforms that will ensure the country is prepared for the introduction of automated vehicles.

It is part of a three-year review to examine any legal obstacles to the widespread introduction of self-driving vehicles and highlight the need for regulatory reforms.

Driving automation includes a broad range of technologies from cruise control to vehicles that drive themselves with no human intervention. These proposals focus on automated driving systems that do not need human drivers for at least part of the journey. Key questions raised include:

  • How should we provide safety assurance for self-driving systems?
  • Road rules have been developed for human drivers. How should they be adapted for automated vehicles so that they drive safely? For example, should an automated vehicle mount the pavement or cross a white line to let an emergency vehicle through, just like a human driver would in an emergency situation?
  • Should we introduce a new Government agency to monitor and investigate accidents involving automated vehicles?
  • Do we need to modify criminal and civil liability laws to ensure clarity and certainty in the law about who is accountable if things go wrong? This work builds on the Government’s recent insurance reforms for automated vehicles.

“The UK is in the early stages of an exciting and profound set of changes in how people, goods and services move around the country,” said Jesse Norman, Roads Minister. “With automated driving technology advancing rapidly, it is important that our laws and regulations keep pace so that the UK can remain a world leader in this field. The important work launched today by the Law Commission should help to ensure that."

The consultation, which closes on 8th February 2019, is available here.

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