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What could future laws for automated vehicles look like?

What could future laws for automated vehicles look like?

26 January 2022

The UK Law Commission has just published their final report with recommendations for new laws for automated vehicles.

The UK Law Commission’s work to help develop GB’s regulatory framework for self-driving on roads and public places began in 2018, at the request of the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV).

Three public consultations were undertaken, with hundreds of stakeholders across industry, interest groups, academia and experts in the UK and from around the world. The full analysis of their responses is published alongside the report (more information, documents and downloads can be found at

Some key themes in the report include:

  • a bright line distinguishing self-driving from driver support technologies: a technology can’t be ‘a bit’ self-driving, it is “either/or” as criminal law consequences hang in the balance;
  • shift of “blame” from human (‘driver’) in crashes nowadays involving (would-be) self-driving technologies to the company driving AVs;
  • to avoid public confusion, terms like ‘self-driving’ and ‘automated vehicle’ could only be used to describe technologies authorised under the Law Commission’s recommended safety assurance scheme, which is is the back-bone of their proposed reforms;
  • Proving accessibility for older and disabled people is key to an interim passenger permit for carrying passengers in vehicles without a driver or user-in-charge.

The Law Commission’s recommendations have been handed over and it is now for UK, Scottish and Welsh Governments to decide whether to take these forward and introduce legislation to bring them into effect.