Law commissions recommend that vehicle users should not face regulatory sanctions if something goes wrong.
Users of self-driving cars should have immunity from a wide range of motoring offences, including dangerous driving, speeding and jumping red lights, Britain’s law commissions have jointly recommended.
The Law Commission for England and Wales and the Scottish Law Commission propose creation of an Automated Vehicles Act to reflect the “profound legal consequences” of self-driving cars. The person in the driving seat would no longer responsible for how the car drives; instead, the company or body that obtained authorisation for the self-driving vehicle would face regulatory sanctions if anything went wrong.
In a summary of the report, published on Wednesday, the commissions say: “While a vehicle is driving itself, we do not think that a human should be required to respond to events in the absence of a transition demand (a requirement for the driver to take control). It is unrealistic to expect someone who is not paying attention to the road to deal with (for example) a tyre blow-out or a closed road sign. Even hearing ambulance sirens will be difficult for those with a hearing impairment or listening to loud music.”