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  • Writer's pictureEllis Wood ADI

A new section for self-driving vehicles has been added to the Highway Code

From today (1 July) new rules on the use of self-driving vehicles in Great Britain have come into force. The changes are included in a new section in The Highway Code which can be accessed for free on GOV.UK.

Currently only vehicles with advanced driver assistance systems are available in the UK. No vehicles in Great Britain have been classed as self-driving yet but they could start to be as soon as next year. Any that are classed as self-driving will be listed on GOV.UK. 

What’s changing in the new section

The changes to the Code will help ensure the new technology will be used safely, explaining clearly that while travelling in self-driving mode, motorists must be ready to resume control in a timely way if they are prompted to – such as when they approach motorway exits. It also includes details about appropriate insurance needed for self-driving cars. 

The plans also include a change to current regulation, allowing drivers to view content which is not related to driving on built-in display screens, while the self-driving vehicle is in control. It will however, still be illegal to use mobile phones in self-driving mode, given the greater risk they pose in distracting drivers as shown in research.  

The government is working with the manufacturer, retailerand leasing industries to ensure that anyone accessing a self-driving vehicle will receive advice on how to use it. 

Why staying up to date is important

It's important that everyone – not just learner drivers – understands their responsibility for their own safety and that of other road users. You can read the full version of The Highway Code is available, free of charge, on GOV.UK. 

The Highway Code is updated regularly so it’s really important you keep up-to-date with changes. GOV.UK includes a list of the latest updates that have been made, so it’s quick and easy to see what has changed. If you’ve not already done so, you can sign up to receive email updates of any future Highway Code changes. 

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