25 APRIL 2022
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At the present time no self-driving vehicles are approved by the Department for Transport (DfT) but this should change later in the year. Statistics show that human error is a contributory factor in 88% of recorded road accidents.
Changes to the Highway Code are expected by July. They are designed to provide guidance to the courts and the police on the responsibilities of the vehicle manufacturer and the driver if an accident occurs in self-driving mode. Insurance companies, rather than individual drivers, will be liable for claims under such circumstances.
A new section will make clear that when an automated vehicle is driving itself, the motorist is not responsible for how it drives, and does not need to pay attention to the road.
However, it warns that the driver “must follow the manufacturer’s instructions about when it is appropriate to engage the self-driving function”. Motorists will be prohibited from moving out of the driving seat while in motion and they must be ready to take control of their vehicle in a “timely way” when prompted, such as when approaching motorway exits.
Vehicles fitted with an automated lane keeping system, which enables them to drive in a single lane at up to 37mph, will be the first example of driverless cars on Britain’s roads after the technology was approved last year by the DfT.
The car must be able to return control to the driver easily when required. Technology already in use, such as cruise control and lane tracking, is classed as ‘assistive’, meaning that drivers must remain in full control of the vehicle at all times.
The DfT said that the changes were an interim measure.
All comments are filtered to exclude any excesses but the Editor does not have to agree with what is being said. 100 words maximum
David Starkie, United Kingdom
One potentially very large, underestimated benefit of fully autonomous motoring is that in the UK alone it could liberate millions of especially older citizens currently without the confidence to continue driving or because they suffer from a mostly minor impairment of limbs, eyesight etc.
Sarah Smith, Wrexham
I agree with the caption writer.