UK Bill Makes Automakers Legally Liable for Self-driving Car Wrecks

The British government’s potential regulations for self-driving vehicles make automakers, rather than car owners, legally liable for automobile wrecks.

King Charles told Parliament the government would introduce an Automated Vehicles Bill in the coming parliamentary session.

The legislation establishes fines for automakers and provides immunity from prosecution for owners of self-driving vehicles. Self-driving car companies could face criminal action in the U.K. if their vehicles fail to meet safety standards in the most severe cases.

According to the government, the bill protects users and promotes safety in the autonomous vehicle industry. “While the vehicle is driving itself, a company rather than an individual will be responsible for the way it drives,” the government said.

The autonomous vehicle industry has called for national rules governing self-driving vehicles and establishing legal liability. Both are needed to gain public acceptance of autonomous vehicles and for insurers to provide coverage.

The bill establishes processes to investigate incidents, improve the safety framework, and determine what may be called a self-driving car.


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