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New laws regarding self-driving vehicles

lt was encouraging to hear that Parliament announced the new Automated Vehicles (AV) bill, designed to put safety at the forefront of the development of self-driving cars.  It's noted that companies are to face sanctions and penalties if self-driving features of vehicles on the road don't meet required standards with legal liability resting with the vehicle manufacturer in some circumstances. 

Errors by human drivers v self-driving vehicles

Data from the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) suggests that for every 10,000 human driver errors, a self-driving vehicle will make just one.  Approximately 80% of all collisions recorded in 2021 reported human error as a contributory factor to the collision, and it's anticipated that self-driving vehicles could help reduce deaths and injuries from drink driving, speeding and driver tiredness, bearing in mind the aforementioned statistics.    The new safety framework will aim to ensure clear liability for the user and set the safety threshold for legal self-driving and establish a regulatory scheme to monitor the ongoing safety of the vehicles. 


As a serious injury lawyer with expertise in road accidents, it will be interesting to see how the law and implementation of the same develops, and the impact that self-driving vehicles has upon the number of collisions that occur on the UK roads including those involving vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders. 

Find out more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in supporting people affected by road accidents at our dedicated section on the website.