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A new section has been added to the Highway Code on the use of self-driving vehicles in Great Britain. The rules took effect from 1 July 2022.
Highway Code & Self Drive Vehicles
If you have been accused of a motoring offence, please contact us now at Ashmans Solicitors. We have a specialist team of motoring defence lawyers who are ready and willing to help you.
What is a self-driving vehicle?
A self-driving vehicle is any vehicle that is capable of driving itself when the self-driving function is correctly turned on.
You do not need to monitor a self-driving vehicle when the self-driving function is on. This means you can turn your attention away from the road and even view content through the vehicle’s infotainment apparatus. This differs to vehicles with assisted driving features, such as cruise control and lane-keeping assistance, which you are responsible for driving at all times.
Rules for self-driving vehicles
As of 1 July 2022, the Highway Code has been amended to include a new section on the use of self-driving vehicles in Great Britain. Although no vehicles in Great Britain are currently classed as self-driving, they could be as early as next year. Operators of self-driving vehicles should familiarise themselves with the rules and manufacturer’s instruction to ensure they comply with the law.
Of particular note is that a self-driving vehicle’s ability to drive itself can be limited by things such as the type of road, time of day, weather, location and speed.
Also, although you are not responsible for how the vehicle drives while it is in self-drive mode, you must still be fit to drive. This mean you cannot be under the influence of drugs or over the legal drink drive limit.
You must always be ready and able to take back control of the vehicle. In practical terms, this entails staying awake and remaining in the driver’s seat. Once you have taken back control or turned the self-driving function off, you are responsible for all aspects of driving.
Furthermore, the vehicle must be road legal and roadworthy. As the operator, you are still responsible for your passengers and anything else you carry. You must not do anything else illegal, such as use a handheld mobile phone (aside from exceptional circumstances, as set out in Rule 149).
The rules on self-driving vehicles are evolving. As specialist motor defence lawyers, we will keep you updated on any changes to the law, as and when they happen.
In the meantime, if you need a specialist defence solicitor to help you with a motoring offence, please contact us now at Ashmans Solicitors.
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