DfT and the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles have published a policy paper, outlining the details of the 2023 Automated Vehicles Bill, which will set a legal framework for the safe deployment of self-driving vehicles in Great Britain.
The Law Commissions’ initial review of the law relating to automated vehicles involved 3 rounds of consultation between November 2018 and March 2021. The Law Commission published their report Automated Vehicles: joint report with 75 recommendations in January 2022.
The government’s response to the recommendations was published in Connected and Automated Mobility 2025: Realising the benefits of self-driving vehicles in the UK (CAM 2025) in August 2022. Based on the Law Commissions’ recommendations, CAM 2025 committed to set out a legal and safety framework to provide clarity of responsibility for self-driving vehicles and to put in place new safety requirements. A summary of the framework can be found below:
- The framework applies to vehicle systems that are capable of driving a vehicle, for some or all of a journey, with no human input. Such systems are considered ‘self-driving’, and legal responsibilities associated with their use change.
- This technology is distinct from technology that supports a driver (driver assistance technology), where the driver remains responsible at all times.
- The Law Commission recommended that it should be a criminal offence to market a vehicle as self-driving if it did not meet the legal definition.
- CAM 2025 identified new legal entities responsible for the safety of self-driving systems and created a new legal status for a driver who has handed control of a vehicle to a self-driving system.
- A set of National Safety Principles, referred to as a Statement of Safety Principles in the bill, will set out further detail of the safety expectations for self-driving vehicles and will be used to inform safety assessment across the self-driving regulatory framework.
- No-blame investigations by inspectors of automated vehicle incidents will make recommendations to inform and shape the ongoing safe development and deployment of self-driving vehicles.
- In addition to the Law Commission’s recommendations, the bill will make information about traffic regulation orders (TROs) available digitally and in a common format for use in self-driving vehicles and other systems that facilitate driving vehicles on a road.
The full policy paper can be read here.