Law commission

Legal committees present legal proposals for self-driving cars

The person occupying the driver’s seat of a self-driving car would be known as the “responsible user” under the proposed rules. Thus, they cannot be prosecuted for “offences resulting directly from the driving task”, including dangerous driving, speeding and crossing a red light. However, they must be insured, check the stability of any loads and ensure that children are wearing their seat belts.

In the event of a violation or incident, the ASDE – i.e. the vehicle manufacturer or self-driving software developer – would work with a regulator to prevent a recurrence, and could face penalties.

In duly certified fully self-driving cars, all occupants would be considered passengers, with a licensed operator responsible for the safe journey.

Crucially, the report also calls for driver assistance features to be marketed separately from self-driving functionality, which it says would “help minimize the risk of collisions caused by members of the public believing they are not driving.” do not need to pay attention to the road while a driver assistance function is in operation”.

In 2020, Tesla’s use of the term “autopilot” to describe its cars’ self-driving capabilities was called “misleading to consumers” by a German court. Even equipped with Autopilot software and the optional “Full Self-Driving Capability” package, Tesla models proved incapable of driving without human intervention.