THREE new major upcoming changes to the Highway Code mean some drivers will no longer be responsible for car accidents.
Motorists using self-driving cars will not be held accountable for accidents under the proposed changes Code.
Insurance companies, not individuals, will be held liable for claims in these circumstances, the Department of Transportation said.
The code update will make it clear that motorists must be prepared to regain control of vehicles if necessary.
The DfT also intends to allow motorists to watch TV shows and movies on built-in screens while using self-driving cars.
But it will still be illegal to use a Telephone behind the steering wheel.
These measures, which follow a public consultation, have been described by the government as an interim measure to support the early deployment of self-driving vehicles.
A full regulatory framework is expected to be in place by 2025.
There are no vehicles approved for autonomous driving on Britain’s roads, but the first could get the green light this year.
The DfT announced in April 2021 that it would allow hands-free driving in vehicles with lane keeping technology on congested highways.
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Existing technologies on the market such as cruise control and automatic stop and start are classified as “assistive” – meaning the user must remain in full control.
Transport Secretary Trudy Harrison said the Highway Code update is an “important milestone in our safe rollout of self-driving vehicles.”
She claimed it will “revolutionize the way we travel and make our future travel greener, safer and more reliable”.
Harrison continued: “This exciting technology is evolving rapidly here in the UK and we make sure we have a strong driver foundation when it comes to our roads.
“By doing so, we can help improve travel for all, while boosting economic growth across the country and securing Britain’s place as a global science superpower.”
The development of self-driving vehicles could create around 38,000 new jobs in the UK by 2035 and add £41.7 billion worth to the economy, according to the DfT.
Steve Gooding, director of engine research organization RAC Foundation, said driverless cars “promise a future in which deaths and injuries on our roads will be significantly reduced” but there will likely be a “long transition period” while drivers “take much of the responsibility for what is happening”.
He stressed the importance of changes in regulations being communicated to drivers.
“Vehicle manufacturers and sellers will play a crucial role in ensuring their customers fully appreciate the capabilities of the cars they buy and the rules that govern them,” he said.
https://www.thesun.ie/motors/8677555/changes-highway-code-drivers-no-longer-responsible-crashes/ Three new major changes to the Highway Code that will remove some drivers from being responsible for accidents