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Image: Getty
Image: Getty

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Government's plans for changes to the Highway Code to permit 'self-driving' cars - RAC reaction

Responding to the Government's announcement on changes to the Highway Code to pave the way for automated driving technology in cars, RAC head of policy Nicholas Lyes said:

“Automated vehicle technology has the potential to make our roads safer by eradicating driver-induced errors – a cause of a great many collisions – and could also make lengthier trips a more enjoyable and less tiring experience. While we’re still some way off truly ‘self-driving’ cars, the journey to get there begins with driver assistance technologies such as automated lane keeping systems, as they’re only focussed on one element of driving.

“It’s vital the Highway Code changes covering automated vehicle technology are crystal clear, setting out exactly what drivers can and can’t do when certain features are engaged otherwise there’s a very real risk that drivers will be confused. This itself could lead to avoidable road traffic collisions – especially if a driver hasn’t taken back control of the vehicle after they’ve been told to.

“Educating drivers about how they can and can’t use the technology shouldn’t stop with the Highway Code. The concept of a car doing the driving will be an alien one to the vast majority of people, not least because until now it’s been a legal requirement for drivers to always be in proper control of their vehicles. A huge effort is therefore required by both industry and the Government to ensure drivers trust and understand their vehicles’ automated driving technology. Many people will be highly sceptical and may not trust their vehicles to do some of the driving for them. And even if they’re permitted to take their eyes off the road, just how many drivers will actually choose to, and feel safe doing so?”

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