Driver consultation, traffic surveys and insurance shake ups for driverless cars

The government has recently announced a consultation on various issues which may be affected by the introduction of driverless cars in the next three to five years. As driverless technology becomes more widely available, the government is aware that it will need to be prepared both practically and legally for any changes that might happen. In addition to formal consultations, there may be a need for traffic surveys to look at current road use and journey safety.

Updating the Highway Code

The introduction of certain driverless technologies will require a revision of the current Highway Code, to ensure that a range of manoeuvres – from motorway lane-changing to reverse parking – take into account the way that these new cars may operate. It may also need to include guidance on the driver taking over operation of the car: there should always be a qualified driver in the car who can take control at any stage of the journey.

In addition to the rules of the road, it is likely that the insurance industry will need to update its policies. How is responsibility allocated if an accident is caused by a driverless car? Insurers are already planning for the increase in driverless technologies, and watching carefully those countries where trials are taking place – particularly America where two fatal accidents involving driverless cars are likely to test current legislation.

And whilst the government is not considering repealing any existing road safety laws, there may be a case in the future for allowing drivers to, for example, use their phones in the car if the driverless technology has taken over.

Online consultation for drivers

The government has set up its consultation online so that anyone can log on and have their say. It wants to find out what road users of all kinds think about the introduction of driverless technology and how the UK can maintain a safe, reliable and free-flowing road system as far as possible.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “Driverless car technology will revolutionise the way we travel and deliver better journeys. Britain is leading the way but I want everyone to have the chance to have a say on how we embrace and use these technologies. Our roads are already some of the safest in the world and increasingly advanced driver assist and driverless technologies have the potential to help cut the number of accidents further.”

Traffic surveys that enhance the consultation process

For traffic, pedestrian, parking and road use consultations of all kinds, talk to RDS about our range of surveys. From simple traffic surveys to automated traffic counts, journey time surveys and pedestrian surveys, we have the experience and skills to conduct professional, targeted investigations, delivering the data in your preferred format. Our data has been used to inform debate and influence outcomes.

To find out more, or to talk to us about your next project, please contact us today.


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