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Law Commission launches consultation on self-driving car regulations

Law Commission launches consultation on self-driving car regulations

The Law Commission has launched a three-month consultation on the UK’s regulatory framework for the safe deployment of automated vehicles - focussing on safety assurance and legal liability.

Part of the ‘Future of Mobility Grand Challenge’ set out in the government’s ‘Industrial Strategy’, the consultation is seeking input on the type of legal changes that may be required to ensure the UK is ready for the introduction of driverless vehicles.

It includes questions on how and if road rules should be adapted, who would be responsible for crashes or road traffic offences and how to ensure safety for passengers and the wider public.

The consultation also asks for views on whether the Law Commissions should review the possibility of one or more new corporate offences, where wrongs by a developer of automated driving systems result in death or serious injury.

The consultation is part of a longer project that will run to March 2021 that sees the Law Commission of England and Wales and the Scottish Law Commission conducting a review to prepare driving laws for self-driving vehicles. Future strategies include consultations on the regulation of automated vehicles in public transport and Mobility as a Service.

The Law Commission says that it has three objectives in conducting the consultation:
  • Safety – considering how safety can be assured both before and after automated driving systems are deployed.
  • An aim to provide clear allocations of liability in both civil and criminal law.
  • Removing any unnecessary blocks which might delay the benefits of driving automation to mobility and productivity.
  • The consultation runs until 8 February, and is available at: https://www.lawcom.gov.uk/project/automated-vehicles/#automated-vehicles