Driverless car crash – who’s responsible?

The three-year review will examine legal obstacles to the widespread introduction of self-driving vehicles before being rolled out in the UK

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By Priyanka Shrestha

The government has commissioned a detailed three-year review of laws before driverless vehicles hit UK roads.

The Law Commission of England and Wales and the Scottish law Commission will examine legal obstacles to the widespread introduction of self-driving vehicles and highlight the need for regulatory reform.

Taking into account the vehicles not having a human at the wheel or even a steering wheel, they will consider who is the driver or responsible person in the event of a crash and whether these cars require new criminal offences.

The review, which follows Chancellor Philip Hammond’s promise to roll out driverless cars on UK roads by 2021, will also look into how to allocate civil and criminal responsibility where there is some shared control in a human-machine interface, the role of automated vehicles within public transport networks and the impact on other road users and how they can be protected from risks.

Roads Minister Jesse Norman said: “The UK is a world leader for self-driving vehicle research and development and this work marks an important milestone in our continued commitment to the technology.

“With driving technology advancing at an unprecedented rate, it is important that our laws and regulations keep pace so that the UK can remain one of the world leaders in this field.”