Self-driving car users: Watch the World Cup but not Formula 1 under proposed Highway Code changes

The Department for Transport has announced proposed changes to The Highway Code, meaning that operators of self-driving cars will be allowed to view content on a built-in screen while in control of the vehicle on motorways.

Whilst self-driving cars are not yet authorised on roads in the UK, the Department for Transport has stated that vehicles capable of driving themselves could be ready for use later this year. Self-driving technology is developing rapidly around the world, with hopes that these vehicles will make future journeys safer and more eco-friendly.

The use of self-driving technology is hoped to reduce human error while out on the roads, which is a major cause of road traffic collisions in the UK every day.

The proposed amendments by The Department of Transport include being able to watch content on built-in screens in self-driving vehicles, however watching content relating to driving will not legally be allowed. The changes do not include watching content on other screens, and the use of a mobile phone behind the wheel is still prohibited.

Drivers of automated vehicles are expected to resume control of the vehicle when they are prompted, like when approaching motorway exits, and if self-driving cars are involved in crashes, it will be the insurance companies, and not the drivers, who are liable for claims.

The planned Highway Code changes come after controversy at the beginning of this year, with the introduction of a new road user hierarchy which states that pedestrians have priority over cars and motorcycles at junctions, and that these vehicles must give way to them when turning in or out. Large numbers of motorists around the UK argued that changes like these would cause more trouble and conflict than without them.

Although the newly-proposed amendments regarding self-driving cars are yet to be authorised, it does leave us wondering – what will be top of your watch list once the changes have been made?