Friday, January 27, 2023
News Drivers In Automated Cars Could Become “Users-in-Charge” And Not Criminally Liable If Traffic...

Drivers In Automated Cars Could Become “Users-in-Charge” And Not Criminally Liable If Traffic Laws Are Broken

This could be another blow and setback to automated driving technology


  • This is so long as the “driver” is sober.

  • UK Government law experts have come up with this new proposal ahead of the upcoming complex shift in legal responsibilities.

  • So who will be responsible? The automakers.


Many automakers and automated technology companies had predicted that 2021 would be the year when self-driving cars were to become “common” and driverless cabs would be a regular sight. We’re a week into 2021 but we are still years away from fully-autonomous vehicles becoming part of daily routines.

Late last year, Uber sold its autonomous division for less than its 2019 valuation, which could serve as a sign of how complex, difficult, and costly developing this technology is. Another dent in this tech’s ongoing development is the UK Government considering a proposal that would automatically shift the blame to the automaker in the event of a simple traffic infraction or an accident.

Tesla Autopilot | Photo: Screenshot of Tesla video on Autopilot.

The drivers, which could be dubbed “users-in-charge” will have to be sober however, the moment they activate the vehicle’s system, they are no longer responsible for what happens.

The Daily Mail shares an excerpt from the proposal: “Under our proposals, if a vehicle is classified as self-driving and the ADS [automated driving system] is engaged, the person in the driving seat becomes a ‘user-in-charge’ rather than a driver. This means that… the user-in-charge could lawfully undertake activities which drivers of conventional vehicles are not allowed to do as it would distract them from driving. Examples are watching a movie or reading emails. If there is a collision caused by a vehicle driving itself…the user-in-charge could not be prosecuted for offenses such as careless or dangerous driving. The user-in-charge could not be prosecuted for a wide range of other offenses, such as exceeding the speed limit.”

Although the burden on automakers and automated technology companies was already huge, this new layer of potential legal complications could further stall the rollout of self-driving vehicles. If other countries come up with similar new legislation, will we see them this decade?

Trending Now

Honda Wants to Catch up to Rival EVs by Creating a New Division

The automaker will consolidate its electrification strategy for all of its vehicle development programs on April 1st. Honda will also combine its six...

Alfa Romeo Plans to Have a Larger Electric Model in the US by 2027

This upcoming model will be larger than the Giulia and Stelvio. The brand has yet to say if it will be an SUV...

Tesla Cybertruck Production Delayed, Now Expected in 2024

Elon Musk says the first units will be built this summer, with full-scale production next year. The specifications and price of the electric...

Updates Give the 2024 Polestar 2 More Range and More Power

The Single Motor version is now RWD instead of FWD and it offers up to 483 kilometres of range. Sustainability improvements have reduced...

2024 BMW M3 CS Gets More Power, Sharper Handling, Less Weight

M3 CS gets M4 CSL motor and other tweaks CS takes M3 one step beyond Competition Think of this new 2024 BMW M3 CS...
Matt St-Pierre
Trained as an Automotive Technician, Matt has two decades of automotive journalism under his belt. He’s done TV, radio, print and this thing called the internet. He’s an avid collector of many 4-wheeled things, all of them under 1,500 kg, holds a recently expired racing license and is a father of two. Life is beautiful. Send Matt an emai

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.