The government has promised that it will conduct a full review of motoring laws in 2017, paying particular attention to any laws or regulations that might need changing in light of the proposed introduction of driverless cars onto the roads. Four tests schemes have already been established, and the government hopes that more will follow as they attempt to set the country up as being the leading nation for testing, research, and the development of automated vehicles.
A number of topics regarding driverless cars have already been broached, including the question of who is considered in charge of the vehicle and whether they would have to follow the usual rules of the road – general consensus is that a designated person would be the driver, would have to sit behind manual controls that must be present, and that they would receive any penalties for speeding or other offences that were committed, although the question of whether a car malfunction or error leading to a speeding fine would stand up under legal scrutiny has yet to be fully addressed.
This, along with other questions of responsibility, as well as insurance and safety issues will be discussed. The government will consult with a number of parties before the laws are discussed in 2017, although it is likely to be much later than this that we see a number of driverless vehicles on our roads and streets.
It is believed that automated vehicles could help quell congestion, reduce carbon emissions, and even make the roads safer, and while the technology that controls the cars has been tested to some degree, how they interact with other vehicles, how they cope on our roads, and how they are able to integrated into existing infrastructure remains to be fully explored. Even prior to the law changes, there will be a number of test schemes set up across the country, and these will not only include the use of automated cars, but even shuttle buses.
The schemes will also be used to gage public reaction to these types of vehicles and the schemes behind them.