Law Commission Report on AVs

A spokesperson for Thatcham Research appeared on BBC Radio 4’s flagship Today Programme yesterday morning (26 January) to discuss the implications of the just-published Law Commission report into the legal implications of automated driving.

The spokesman noted that automated driving or AVs (automated vehicles) was expected to become a feature on UK roads within the next couple of years, and said the report is an important step in providing recommendations for a legal framework for the safe deployment of AVs on our roads.

The Law Commission recommended that there must be access to data to understand fault and liability when a crash does occur. Thatcham said: “This will ensure rapid and efficient compensation, and the data will also allow carmakers to identify where and how self-driving features can be improved to enhance future safety.” More work clearly needs to be done among all stakeholders, and there is a case for the Government to introduce legislation (the Automated Vehicles Act) to smooth the adoption of AVs.

Delegates at last year’s CHO annual conference will have remembered a presentation on this issue by Axa director David Williams, in which he made similar points about the speed and scale of adoption and urged CHCs to be thinking now about the implications of AVs on their current business models. For example, as a point of law, what effect does an accident involving an automated vehicle have on the provision of credit hire if there is no “at fault driver” and thus TPI to pursue?

The automated vehicles joint report (authored by the Law Commission and the Scottish Law Commission) has now been laid before Parliament and the Scottish Parliament. The UK, Scottish and Welsh Governments will then decide whether to accept the recommendations and introduce legislation to bring them into effect.

A copy of the report can be accessed here.