The Highway Code may need to be re-written to stop driverless cars from bringing Britain’s city centres to a halt, an official review will say. Passing distances between cyclists and pedestrians may have to be changed to prevent robot vehicles clogging up roads across the country. Under the current Highway Code, drivers are expected to leave as much room as they would leave for a car when overtaking cyclists. There are fears driverless cars could be left crawling behind cyclists for miles as they wait for enough space to overtake if the rules are not changed.
There are also suggestions that other parts of the Highway Code should be relaxed because driverless cars can pass other vehicles with greater precision. Rules on tailgating may need to be dispensed with entirely to enable driverless cars to improve fuel efficiency.
The report is expected to say that the introduction of driverless cars would cut the cost of insurance as human error would be eliminated. Mistakes by drivers account for nine in 10 road accidents, with premiums for 17 and 18-year-olds costing almost £2,000. The report will distinguish between “highly automated cars”, in which motorists will be expected to take control at any time, and “fully” automated cars, where a licence will not be required. In highly automated cars, drivers will still be prosecuted for using mobile phones while not wearing a seatbelt and eating at the wheel will be subject to on-the-spot penalties.
Driverless cars will start appearing on British roads later this year.
Read the full Telegraph article on driverless cars here.