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May 11, 2021

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automated vehicles

Safe use rules for automated vehicles on British roads set out by Government

A Government consultation has set out proposals to amend The Highway Code in order to create rules on the safe use of automated vehicles on Britain’s motorways.

Autonomous Drive, Self-Driving VehicleThe Safe Use Rules for Automated Vehicles consultation is an outcome requirement of the August 2020 call for evidence on ensuring safe use of Automated Lane Keeping Systems.

Automated vehicle technology is set to play a major role in the transport revolution happening today across the UK, helping to improve transport across the nations by making everyday journeys safer, more flexible and more reliable. The UK’s open regulatory regime, world-class research base, and industry and government investment in automated vehicle technology, have made the UK one of the global leaders in its development.

This consultation aims to ensure that the UK’s first steps towards the introduction of automation to the mass market are done so in a way that is safe, clear on driver responsibilities and supportive of innovation.

The UK has played a vital role in developing international regulations to support the introduction of increasing automation, in particular through Department for Transport’s (DfT’s) work at the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). The ALKS regulation was endorsed in March 2020, starting the process to allow vehicles fitted with this technology to come to market. ALKS will be the first approved system designed to perform the dynamic driving task instead of the driver, under certain conditions. ALKS is an important first step towards the development of systems with higher levels of autonomy.

The ALKS regulation sets out the technical requirements for ALKS, but certain aspects of its use require further consideration at a national level.

Responses are sought from a wide range of respondents including academia, representative organisations, industry and the public. The closing date for comments is 28 May 2021.

Controversy

For many years there have been concerns about the safety of driverless cars.

In 2018, SHP looked into who is to blame when self-driving cars crash, after a woman in Arizona died when she was struck by a self-driving Uber car. Following that article, 75% of SHP readers said they would feel unsafe in a driverless car.

Just last month, two men were killed after a Tesla car, believed to be driving autonomously, crashed into a tree and caught fire in Texas.

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  • The danger of the roads;
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  • Managing work-related road safety.
Driver Safety eBook cover

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