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IHE contributes to Transport Committee’s self-driving vehicles report
- Friday September 15, 2023
The Transport Committee has today (15th September) issued a report outlining the path forward for self-driving vehicles (SDVs) in the UK. The report addresses crucial aspects such as safety, legal liability, and necessary infrastructure adjustments. Committee Chair Iain Stewart emphasises the importance of timely legislative action to safeguard the progress made in the self-driving vehicle sector.
Stewart states, “Widespread take-up of SDVs faces various hurdles, including public confidence in their safety, security and their potential to have knock-on impacts on other road users. If the Government is going to meet its ambitions for self-driving vehicle deployment these knotty issues need to be addressed. We believe the Government should take a cautious, gradual approach, with SDV technologies only initially introduced in well-defined contexts, or else we risk unintended consequences.”
The Institute of Highway Engineers (IHE) took part in the consultation and comments from our Traffic Signs Panel Chair, Simon Morgan, were taken onboard by the committee. Mr Morgan was worried that the Government had paid too little attention to how civil penalties will be enforced on self-driving vehicles that commit traffic law infractions.
Pressing for Legislative Action
The Committee heard testimony asserting that existing laws governing SDVs are outdated, particularly in relation to testing and legal responsibilities. Industry experts stressed the urgent need for regulatory clarity. The Committee commends the collaborative efforts of the Law Commissions and the Government in formulating the Connected & Automated Mobility 2025 legal framework, but regrets the absence of a commitment to enact it in this Parliament.
The SDV sector is a British triumph, and maintaining our competitive edge is paramount. The Committee implores the Government to pass comprehensive legislation in the upcoming parliamentary session, establishing a robust regulatory framework encompassing vehicle approvals, accident liability, cybersecurity, and personal data use. Failure to do so could inflict significant and enduring harm on both the UK’s SDV industry and its reputation as a pioneering force.