VRA urges remarketing sector to contribute to latest autonomous vehicles consultation

The Vehicle Remarketing Association (VRA) is urging the remarketing sector to make its thoughts on autonomous vehicles known as part of a new consultation by the English and Scottish Law Commissions.

Jonathan Butler, VRA board member, and partner and head of automotive at legal specialists Geldards, explained that the Automated Vehicles consultation was in its third and final stage, being was set to report in late 2021.

He said: “The Law Commission for England and Wales and the Scottish Law Commission have been carrying out a joint review of the legal framework necessary to enable autonomous vehicles to be used on British roads since 2018.

“The way in which these consultations work is that different aspects of the legal situation are looked at over a period of time. The latest one focuses on the definition of self-driving, pre-deployment authorisation processes, and how to assure safety in-use. It also covers what is meant mean by a user-in-charge and a fleet operator, and touches on criminal offences and access to data.

“What we are seeing is that three main areas have been identified. Firstly, a distinction between semi-autonomous vehicles using driver assistance technologies and fully autonomous vehicles has been made.

“Secondly, there are proposals on vehicle approval, safety standards, safety ratings systems, software updates and protection against cyber-security risks such as ransomware threatening your vehicle.

“Finally, there is the question of where responsibility for accidents will lie, such as the  manufacturer, fleet operator or drivers. This is obviously a major area of concern.”

The document is available online at https://www.lawcom.gov.uk/project/automated-vehicles/ and the consultation’s ideas on all these areas can be examined. The deadline for providing observations is March 18.”

Philip Nothard, chair at the VRA, added: “This might be a subject that seems distant to most people working in remarketing but the fact is that we are all dealing with many vehicles fitted with all kinds of advanced driver assistance systems already, and full autonomy might well be relatively close behind.

“We’ve previously highlighted the consultations forming this important area to our members who might like to make a contribution to the Law Commission’s process and are now doing so again.

“The remarketing sector brings an extremely practical eye to what often seem like theoretical considerations in matters such as this, and there are clearly all kinds of implications attached to these vehicles, ranging from official standards adopted and ensuring security through to who is responsible for their use and misuse.”

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