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MPs Fear Government Cannot Keep Up With New Motoring Technology

By raccars Published

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A new report from the House of Commons Transport Committee has questioned the Government's ability to legislate the new range of motoring technology which is fast reaching the market. MPs fear that road safety measures will fall behind the technologies being used by drivers.

The report commented on the new complexity of transport safety as a result of the speed in which new technologies are being introduced. The committee is chaired by Liverpool Riverside Labour MP, Louise Ellman, who launched the report with the comment that car buyers want to know that new, advanced types of vehicles are safe for public roads. She suggests that more needs to be done by the Government to prepare for the arrival of semi and fully autonomous vehicles, which will soon be sharing the road with traditional, manually controlled cars.

Ms Ellman claims that transport ministers need to evolve vehicle categories, certification and testing processes, that driver training needs to be updated and new standards set for the monitoring and enforcement of new driving methods.

However, the report did concede that new motoring technologies could help to ease traffic congestion, improve road safety and contribute to new industrial growth, but only with the aid of up to date Department for Transport strategies, to manage the change in driving culture.

The committee has requested the DfT to clarify the effects of driverless technologies upon driver, manufacturer and insurer liabilities; to co-operate in setting European and international standards to ensure UK built products are suitable for export; to refresh the guidelines on the availability of vehicle data, and to use insurance industry and other driver behaviour data, to improve road safety and inform policy making.

The report was optimistic about the potential of new technologies to benefit residents and business in the UK, with the caveat that the Government must develop legislation, to ensure the safety of road users. Motoring groups have echoed some of the concerns raised in the report, particularly the danger of a chaotic transitional period, as different types of vehicles begin to share the road.

A spokesman for the Department for Transport claimed that public safety is the priority for the DfT, as it adapts to motoring technology advances. The Department is working with the automotive industry to effect progress, including the testing of driverless cars on UK roads, which is taking place currently.

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