As fully-self driving cars start to creep up in the rearview mirror, a vital question still needs to be answered: Who is at fault in the event of an accident?
What happened: The UK will deem vehicle manufacturers responsible for the vehicle’s actions while driving, meaning the human co-driver will be free from liability in a crash.
- In Arizona, courts took a different approach in a fatal 2018 crash involving an autonomous Uber test vehicle by charging the human driver with negligent homicide.
Fully self-driving cars are not yet commercially available and should not be confused with assisted-driving systems (like Tesla’s Autopilot or Chevy’s Super Cruise), in which a driver is responsible for maintaining control of the vehicle, and whatever happens if they don’t.
Why it matters: The UK’s proposed legislation could set a global precedent for governance over self-driving cars in which manufacturers take the full brunt of the blame for accidents.