Driverless cars were once the preserve of science-fiction films, but from January 2015 they will be a reality on the UK roads. But what about the law that currently governs road users? How will they apply to driverless cars being used on public roads?
Just because a car can be driven autonomously, this won’t mean that drivers are released from all of their obligations. The term ‘driverless vehicle’ covers all sorts of functions that already exist on many cars already – such as cruise control, automatic braking and self-parking functions.
However, the government recognises that driverless vehicles have implications for the laws and regulations governing public roads. That’s why they are currently reviewing the legal and insurance issues surrounding driverless cars. The results of this review and the regulatory changes required will be announced at the end of the year, so if you’re thinking of getting a driverless car for Christmas, make sure you also get the low down on what new laws will govern you.
There is no doubt that whilst the technological hurdles surrounding driverless cars have been overcome, the legal hurdles are yet to come! So watch this space for details.