Date: November 8, 2023. — The UK government has announced a new bill that will make the manufacturers of self-driving cars legally responsible for any accidents caused by the technology, instead of the owners or drivers. The bill was part of the King’s speech that outlined the legislative agenda for the next parliamentary session. It aims to support the safe and commercial development of the autonomous vehicle (AV) industry in Britain.
The bill will define self-driving cars and establish the amount of automation required for the technology to be deemed as such. It will also establish new methods for investigating events involving self-driving cars and improve the industry’s safety framework. Furthermore, the measure will prohibit misleading marketing of cars that do not fit self-driving standards. It will shield users from prosecution when a self-driving car is driving itself.
The government stated that the bill would benefit the UK economy, road safety, and green jobs. The bill is also expected to provide clarity for insurers and consumers. “While the vehicle is driving itself, a company rather than an individual will be responsible for the way it drives,” the government said in a statement.
Insurers, AV startups, and software companies praised the bill, saying it will give them confidence to invest and innovate in the UK market. They also stated that the bill would aid in the development of public trust and acceptance of self-driving cars. People consider them as a potential solution to cut emissions, traffic congestion, and road fatalities.
At a time when the US market is experiencing some difficulties and controversy, UK is introducing the bill. States in the US have taken the lead in testing self-driving cars. Last month, California regulators ordered General Motors’ driverless car subsidiary, Cruise, to remove its vehicles from state roads last month. They claimed that the company had misrepresented the technology’s safety. The proposed framework in the United Kingdom intends to avoid similar situations. Stakeholders participating in the self-driving business explicitly define their roles and duties