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The need to regulate self-driving vehicles as their use draws ever closer

Google's sister company, Waymo, has started lobbying the UK Government on its proposals to place restrictions on self-driving vehicles. Waymo has provided its comments to a Law Commission consultation. 

The concerns about the current legal framework

The Government is committed to allowing driverless vehicles on our roads later this year. There are currently limits on the number of driverless vehicles on the road and a maximum speed limit for the vehicle to be self-driven. 

In summary, Waymo would prefer to seek a specialist regulator to assess whether driverless cars are capable of operating safety rather than a "patchwork of local regulators". 

The emerging driverless vehicles

Although it feels as though driverless vehicles are far away from our roads, the reality is that they are getting closer. There is debate about what level a vehicle has to achieve -  there are five levels for driverless vehicles - to be truly classed as a driverless vehicle. 

Thoughts about an independent regulator

A specialist regulator, rather than politicians, would make sense in an evolving and complicated area where cutting edge science is involved. However, the remit and power of that regulator would need to be carefully considered. 

Driverless vehicles have the potential to create misery to many families as a result of serious injury or bereavement. 

I would certainly be concerned if Parliament effectively outsourced its responsibility to keep our roads safe to an independent regulator. 

Find out more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in supporting people hurt in road collisions at our dedicated serious injury section

The Google sister company has warned against the UK imposing limits on the number of driverless cars.”