Driverless cars hit Britain’s streets for the first time this month – but what happens when there’s an accident?
Starting later this month, in four UK cities, there will be cars driving themselves around.
It’s not something the public feel ready for. 92% of people feel in the dark about the trials and only 6% of people think the Government has done enough tests, figures from uSwitch.com show.
But what if you’re involved in a collision with one?
Who’s responsible for accidents?
More than one person in four (26%) would blame the carmaker is a self-driving car was involved in a collision, while more than one in five (18%) think the responsibility lies with the person in the driving seat.
However, the law quite clear on this one. Even if the car is capable of self-driving the current rules still apply.
That means you need insurance and a valid licence to pilot one and you’re not allowed to be drunk behind the wheel or be using a phone either. If the car is caught speeding, it’s the driver who takes the blame and the points.
If the car’s technology breaks, there has to be both a warning to the ‘driver’ and a fail-safe in place – much like there would be with current driver aids.
In this case there is a fault that directly leads to an accident, there might be a case to sue the manufacturer rather than the driver, but in almost every other case it’s the driver you deal with.
Will they be cheaper to insure though?
More than one person in three (35%) think driverless cars will make insurance more expensive, uSwitch’s research found, but that’s almost certain not to be the case.
Given that Euro NCAP calculates that 90% of road accidents the result of drivers not paying attention or being distracted, it’s hardly surprising that any system that reduces the possibility of this lead to lower premiums.