Driverless car crashes - who is to blame?

The allocation of blame for driverless car crashes is being reviewed.

Tuesday, 6th March 2018, 10:42 am
Updated Tuesday, 6th March 2018, 11:45 am
Driving laws must be adjusted to accommodate driverless cars

Scenarios in which a human or manufacturer will be deemed responsible for accidents form part of a three-year study into the legal obstacles to the development and use of self-driving vehicles.

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Driverless cars ‘will be on British roads within four years’

Driving laws must be adjusted to accommodate a future in which some vehicles will not have a traditional driver or even a steering wheel, according to the Department for Transport.

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Chancellor Philip Hammond revealed in November last year that he wants full driverless cars on UK roads by 2021.

Roads minister Jesse Norman said: "The UK is a world-leader for self-driving vehicle research and development, and this work marks an important milestone in our continued commitment to the technology.

"With driving technology advancing at an unprecedented rate, it is important that our laws and regulations keep pace so that the UK can remain one of the world leaders in this field."

Mr Norman launched the legal study on a visit to the Gateway project in Greenwich, south-east London.

The scheme will see a fleet of autonomous pods provide a shuttle service to investigate public reaction to self-driving vehicles.

The review of driving laws is being conducted by the Law Commission of England and Wales and the Scottish Law Commission as part of the Government's Industrial Strategy.

Law Commissioner Nicholas Paines QC said: "British roads are already among the safest in the world and automated vehicles have the potential to make them even safer, provided our laws are ready for them.

"We'll now start consulting widely on how the law should work with this new technology and develop reforms which develop the use of self-driving vehicles in the years to come."

Scottish Law Commissioner Caroline Drummond said: "Automated vehicles could have a big impact on the way we live and work so it's important that, UK-wide, we have a legal system which can accommodate them."