GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS have announced plans to review the UK's existing driving laws to ensure that they can support the development and testing of autonomous vehicles.
On Tuesday, Roads Minister Jesse Norman confirmed that the government has commissioned a "detailed review" into current legislation.
Norman said this move is to "ensure the UK remains one of the best places in the world to develop, test and drive self-driving vehicles".
Set to be conducted over three years by the Law Commission of England and Wales and the Scottish Law Commission, the review will determine if there are "any legal obstacles to the widespread introduction of self-driving vehicles".
The review will highlight areas for "regulatory reforms" and is "crucial in examining how current driving laws can support the next generation of vehicles".
According to the government, laws will need to be adjusted "to reflect the fact self-driving vehicles of the future will not have a driver or perhaps even a steering wheel".
Jesse Norman explained that the review will turn the UK into "a world leader for self-driving vehicle research and development". She said it "marks an important milestone in our continued commitment to the technology".
"With driving technology advancing at an unprecedented rate, it is important that our laws and regulations keep pace so that the UK can remain one of the world leaders in this field," she said.
Over the coming years, the review will determine responsible parties for insurance purposes; the role these vehicles can play in the public transport system; and the impact they will have on other road users.
Law Commissioner Nicholas Paines QC said: "British roads are already among the safest in the world and automated vehicles have the potential to make them even safer. Provided our laws are ready for them.
"We'll now start consulting widely on how the law should work with this new technology and develop reforms which enable the use of self-driving vehicles in the years to come."
Scottish Law Commissioner Caroline Drummond added: "Automated vehicles could have a big impact on the way we live and work so it's important that, UK-wide, we have a legal system which can accommodate them." µ
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