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Posted in Regulatory and legislative updates, UK

UK: Autonomous Cars: Government to Consult on changes to RTA to change compulsory insurance regime

The UK Government is seeking to place itself at the forefront of technology for autonomous vehicles.  A feature of the Queen’s Speech on 18 May 2016 was the announcement of the Modern Transport Bill, which will deal with how motor vehicle insurance and liability is handled.  A Government spokesperson has said: “Our current insurance and liability systems are built around driver negligence but where a self-driving vehicle is involved in a collision it would be a question of product liability not driver fault. We need to adapt our compulsory insurance rules so that autonomous vehicles will be required to have insurance that covers product liability. We are also looking at how the claims process will work in autonomous vehicle cases to try to ensure that, as far as possible, it will be no more complicated for a victim to bring a claim.”

The Government announced yesterday that they will be running a consultation over the course of the Summer, seeking the views of the insurance industry and the automotive industry on the changes they propose to make.  The changes include a shift of liability from drivers and their insurers to motor manufacturers and the use of product liability insurance.  The changes will be made by amendment to the Road Traffic Act 1988.  Discussion following the speech indicated that the Government is looking to insurers and the automotive industry to work together to determine a workable system for apportioning liability.  Details of the speech can be found here.