The Law Commission of England and Wales and the Scottish Law Commission have recently published a joint report that recommends the legal protection of autonomous vehicles’ users.
Indeed, the Law Commission aims to introduce a new Automated Vehicles Act in order to regulate autonomous vehicles as well as distinguish between features that just assist drivers and those that are self-driving. By doing so, these vehicles and their users will be better protected with safety assurance and legal accountability.
The proposals reported that the person in the driving seat of autonomous vehicles will no longer be responsible for how the car drives. The responsibility would be on the company or body that gave the authorisation for self-driving features, which means that they could face regulatory sanctions if anything goes wrong.
Users will get immunity from a wide range of offenses such as dangerous driving, exceeding the speed limit, and running a red light. They would still retain some driver duties like carrying insurance, checking loads, or ensuring that children wear seat belts. The Law Commission hopes to ensure the legal safety of users but also highlights the driver’s legal obligations.
The report is in review for the UK, Scottish and Welsh Governments to decide whether it will move forward.