Drivers will be given ‘immunity’ from some rules in major new driving law proposals

Driverless cars: Oxbotica trials autonomous tech in London

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They recommended motorists will be given “immunity from a wide range of offences” as they “cannot be prosecuted”. This means drivers will not be responsible for dangerous driving, exceeding speed limits or passing a red light if their driverless vehicle fails.

Instead, the company or body that obtained the authorisation for the driverless vehicle would face sanctions if something went wrong.

The Law Commission says the rule changes should be introduced to allow the “safe introduction” of automated vehicles.

In a new report released today, they have recommended introducing a new Automated Vehicle Act to regulate how cars drive themselves.

However, they warned there needed to be a “clear distinction” between self-driving features and those that must assist road users to meet the standards.

Nicholas Paines QC, Public Law Commissioner said: “We have an unprecedented opportunity to promote public acceptance of automated vehicles with our recommendations on safety assurance and clarify legal liability.

“We can also make sure accessibility, especially for older and disabled people, is prioritised from the outset.”

It is now down to Parliamentarians to decide whether to accept the recommendations and introduce the new legislation.

Transport Minister Trudy Harrison said: “The development of self-driving vehicles in the UK has the potential to revolutionise travel, making everyday journeys safer, easier and greener.

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“This Government has been encouraging development and deployment of these technologies to understand their benefits.

“However, we must ensure we have the right regulations in place, based upon safety and accountability, in order to build public confidence.

“That’s why the Department funded this independent report and I look forward to fully considering the recommendations and responding in due course.”

AA President Edmund King added the Commission was “right to distinguish” between self-driving features and assistance tools.

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