When was the last time that you checked your brake lights when setting off for a long journey? Although it might seem like a trivial matter, vehicle defects are easily detectable by the police and can carry severe penalties: In the case of defective tyres each tyre carries three penalty points, whilst defective brakes or steering can lead to fines of up to £2,500.
Whilst there are no specific defences available to such charges, it has been successfully argued on behalf of clients in the past that special reasons exist not to endorse the licence with penalty points, where for example an emergency has arisen or the distance driven was relatively short.
Driverless cars were once the preserve of science-fiction films, but from January 2015 they will be a reality on the UK roads. But what about the law that currently governs road users? How will they apply to driverless cars being used on public roads?
Just because a car can be driven autonomously, this won’t mean that drivers are released from all of their obligations. The term ‘driverless vehicle’ covers all sorts of functions that already exist on many cars already – such as cruise control, automatic braking and self-parking functions.
However, the government recognises that driverless vehicles have implications for the laws and regulations governing public roads. That’s why they are currently reviewing the legal and insurance issues surrounding driverless cars. The results of this review and the regulatory changes required will be announced at the end of the year, so if you’re thinking of getting a driverless car for Christmas, make sure you also get the low down on what new laws will govern you.
There is no doubt that whilst the technological hurdles surrounding driverless cars have been overcome, the legal hurdles are yet to come! So watch this space for details.
The Home Office website also has advice on your rights and responsibilities for a number of situations where you may be pulled over by the police.