Review into how self-driving vehicles will affect driving laws

Volvo XC90 Drive Me test vehicle

The government has commissioned a review of driving laws surrounding self-driving vehicles.

The three-year review by the Law Commission of England and Wales and the Scottish Law Commission will examine any legal obstacles surrounding self-driving vehicles, including any need for regulatory reforms.

The work will be crucial in examining how current driving laws – designed with human drivers in mind – can support the next generation of vehicles.

Key aspects will be adjusting traditional laws to reflect the fact self-driving vehicles of the future will not have a ‘driver’ or perhaps even a ‘steering wheel’ like traditional cars and also consider some of the criminal offences involved.

The Law Commissions’ joint project will examine difficult areas of law in order to develop a regulatory framework that is ready for self-driving vehicles.

The project examine who is the ‘driver’ or responsible person in offences involving autonomous vehicles and how to allocate civil and criminal responsibility where there is some shared control in a human-machine interface

The review will also assess the role of automated vehicles within public transport networks and emerging platforms for on-demand passenger transport, car sharing and new business models providing mobility as a service.

It will examine whether there is a need for new criminal offences to deal with novel types of conduct and interference, as well as what the impact on other road users is and how they can be protected from risk.

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