Dr Nicholas Bevan

Dr Nicholas Bevan

Monday, 4 February 2019

Answer to Consultation Question 40

Law Commission Consultation on Automated Vehicles

Consultation Question 40 (Paragraphs 9.6 - 9.37)

We seek views on whether it would be acceptable for a highly automated vehicle to be programmed never to mount the pavement.


One of the main benefits of advanced automation is its promise of improved independent access to private transport for the elderly and the handicapped and cheap door to door delivery of goods. 

By shoehorning this new statutory form of product liability into the Road Traffic Act’s archaic and limited scope, both in terms of its geographic reach and the types of vehicles covered by s2’s new direct liability, the government has needlessly exposed children and other vulnerable individuals from the protection of the compulsory insurance regime.  It is hard to identify any coherent public policy objective that is served by this anomaly.  As indicated above, unless ADS are prohibited on private property (which is clearly undesirable), the current geographic restriction to roads and public places not only breaches EU law (Article 3 of Directive 2009/103/EC on motor insurance) but it also lacks vision as pavements and private places are likely to feature as points of embarkation or destination in many journeys featuring ADS.

Should highly automated vehicles ever exceed speed limits?

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