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Motorists will not be liable for crashes in self-driving cars… and you can even watch TV behind the wheel!

By Tom Gibson | April 25, 2022

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Department for Transport says insurance companies, rather than individuals, will be liable for claims in the event of a crash if self-driving cars are involved in collisions

The introduction of self-driving cars to the UK’s roads has taken a giant leap forward after the DfT ruled drivers themselves will not be held responsible should their car be involved in a crash.

In an announcement that will be surprising to many, drivers will even be able to legally watch TV behind the wheel under proposed changes to the Highway Code.

However, the update to the Highway Code also makes it clear that motorists must be ready to take back control of their car whenever needed – this meaning it will still be illegal to use your phone.

No self-driving cars are allowed on the UK’s roads unless the driver is in constant and full control, but these changes could spell the way for that to change as early as later this year.  

Transport minister Trudy Harrison said updating the Highway Code will be a "major milestone in our safe introduction of self-driving vehicles", which she claimed will "revolutionise the way we travel, making our future journeys greener, safer and more reliable".

She added: "This exciting technology is developing at pace right here in Great Britain and we're ensuring we have strong foundations in place for drivers when it takes to our roads.

"In doing so, we can help improve travel for all while boosting economic growth across the nation and securing Britain's place as a global science superpower."

The DfT believes that the development of self-driving vehicles could create around 38,000 new jobs in Britain and be worth £41.7 billion to the economy by 2035.

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