Government cracks down on self-driving cars of the future
If you are lucky enough to own a car kitted out with all the newest tech updates and driving assistance features, then you’re probably a lot less stressed than the rest of us when you get into the office in the morning or join the entire population of the Earth commuting back home between 5 and 6. But while these new advances are changing the way we drive and the future of our vehicles, the laws surrounding driving are also changing. To ensure everyone’s safety new laws have been put in place regarding cars with features such as motorway assist and remote parking. The new highway code surrounds the idea that the driver will always be held accountable and aims to make clear that while these systems are useful, they do not replace the driver’s responsibility.
The main changes of the highway code effects rules 149, 150, 160 and 239 with the government first bringing these into discussion in 2016 to ensure the safety of semi-autonomous vehicles on the road. Anyone who breaks the new rules regarding these systems can expect to pay an unlimited fine or receive 11 points on their license.
The innovatively designed cars such as Tesla come with sensors and cameras to assist in things like lane keeping, parking and traffic jams allowing the car to do most of the work for you.
However, the new rules put a predominant focus on the concentration of the driver stating: You MUST exercise proper control of your vehicle at all times. ‘Do not rely on driver assistance systems such as motorway assist, lane departure warnings, or remote-control parking. They are available to assist but you should not reduce your concentration levels.’
Should police believe you are not in full control of your car you could be charged with dangerous or careless driving with a maximum fine of £2,500 and up to 6 months in jail. So, while the new features may make your journey significantly smoother, it’s vitally important to be fully aware of your driving and stay in control of the vehicle at all times.
The new highway code also makes a point in terms of remote parking and the regulations regarding this, reiterating the responsibility of the driver even if they are not in the car. With many BMWs and Mercedes being updated with the newest remote-control parking systems allowing you to get out of the car before it parks itself, the technology makes life run a lot smoother in many cases. However, despite this you should still consider the safety of others around you before you initiate the parking assistance. The new code states: Before using a hand-held device to help you to park, you MUST make sure it is safe to do so. Then, you should move the vehicle into the parking space in the safest way, and by the shortest route possible.
So, while the new updates to the cars of the future are certainly an exciting step and make life a lot easier for those who can afford it, these features must always be considered a part of the car and not of the driver with the driver in control at all times. Whether you drive a manual, automatic or a brand new kitted out Tesla, concentration on the road is always of the upmost importance and the new code makes this clearer than ever for all drivers.