UK Introduces New Autonomous Vehicle Insurance Laws, Who pays for damages?

As part of the UK’s focus on becoming a global leader in the autonomous/electric vehicle market, new laws have been introduced that make it a requirement to have a single insurance policy that will cover both the autonomous vehicle and all its passengers.  It’s being introduced as part of the Vehicle Technology and Aviation Bill to ensure simplicity in insurance before driverless cars become too popular.  In making a single policy compulsory, manufacturers and software developers are under more pressure as liability will ultimately lie with them in the event of an accident.

Chris Grayling, UK transport secretary, said, “We must ensure the public is protected in the event of an incident and today we are introducing the framework to allow insurance for these new technologies.”  While David Williams, UK head of underwriting at AXA, said, “This is a positive step forward that provides clarity to insurers to ensure we design our products appropriately.  It keeps protection of the general public at its heart, which we hope will encourage early adoption of some really impressive technology.”

Another area that the bill focuses on includes measures on making more electric charging points accessible.  This could mean locations such as motorway service stations and large fuel retailers could soon be made to offer hydrogen and electric refueling points also.  “I recognize that to encourage more drivers to go electric, the infrastructure needs to become even more widespread than the 11,000 charging points already in place and more straightforward.  We are determined to do all we can to make electric vehicles work for everyone and these new laws will help make this a reality”, says John Hayes, Minister of state for transport.

So, it seems the UK is preparing for the electric vehicle boom and also in a bid to become one the leaders in the industry.  Another UK government initiative in place that focuses on this area is the Go Ultra Low Cities program which was launched successfully in 2015.  This program has helped various projects across the country that relate to autonomous and electric cars including the UK’s first all-electric vehicle (EV) showroom that’s opening later this year in Milton Keynes.  If you do happen to be in the vicinity, why not check it out? It’s sure to be worth a visit.

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