Motorists in Self-Driving Cars May Not Be Held Responsible for Speeding
As the time gets closer for when self-driving cars start to appear on Britain’s roads, government law experts say that owners of the vehicles should not be held liable for speeding offences or accidents. Under newly proposed legislation, responsibility would be transferred to the manufacturer of the car or the software.
Drivers to be Renamed ‘Users-in-Charge
Self-driving, or automated vehicles (AVs) are expected to take to the UK’s roads within the next couple of years, and there is set to be a complicated shift in legal responsibility. Under legislative proposals put forward in a report by government law experts, drivers of AVs would be known as ‘users-in-charge’ and will not be criminally liable in the event of a crash or speeding offence.
AVs will be programmed to make a journey with a user-in-charge in the driver’s seat, who should be able to take over in an emergency. However, because the vehicles use sophisticated navigation systems and road sign reading technology, they should always operate within the legal speed limit on any given road. Other technologies such as forward collision avoidance, automatic emergency braking, and pedestrian detection should prevent accidents.
Because of that, says the report, responsibility for motoring offences, and even fatal crashes, should be moved from the driver to the vehicle or software maker. But the user-in-charge will have to be under the drink-drive limit in case they have to intervene.
Users-in-Charge Could Watch Movies
According to the new report, once the AV’s automated driving system is engaged, the user-in-charge could technically engage in activities like watching films or checking emails. If the car causes a collision or commits an offence, the motorist could not be prosecuted for speeding, careless driving or dangerous driving.
As AVs become the norm, the enforcement of traffic offences could become a thing of the past. The vehicles are designed to be more law-abiding than drivers, but under the plans, users-in-charge must have a driving licence and be fit to drive.
Self-Driving Cars Should Reduce Accidents
It is estimated that AVs will reduce car accident statistics by as much as 90%. But on urban roads there are so many things to take into account. How will an autonomous car cope with unpredictable pedestrians and cyclists? Also, because of the computer technology and internet connectivity, driverless cars are also vulnerable to hackers.
I’m sure all of these things will be dealt with through the testing process. But there has to be a transitional period during which the majority of motorists are still driving conventional cars. While that’s the case there will still be many road traffic accidents.
Personalised Number Plates for AVs
If you’re planning to be among the first to take to the road in a self-driving car, you might want to highlight it with an appropriate personalised number plate. Available from CarReg are standard ‘auto’ registrations such as ‘AU70 MEN’ or ‘AU70 BOT’. Alternatively, how about ‘AV 624’, ‘AV 6477’ or ‘1874 AV’. You could go for ‘AV04 ZZZ’ but, as a user-in-charge, you ought to stay awake! Search over 52,000,000 personalised number plates on the CarReg website.