Driverless car

Human error is responsible for 94% of road accidents but what will happen if a driverless car is involved in a collision?

Whilst automated cars will have a major, positive effect on road safety there still remains the issue of liability should an accident occur. Who will be responsible: the driver, vehicle manufacturer, selling dealer, service garage, software developer? Could you even be held responsible if you sell your car to another driver?

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) and Thatcham Research, along with eleven major insurance companies, have formed a panel to consider the implications of driverless cars on our roads and especially where insurance and liability might lie in the event of an accident. Their findings will be fed back to the ABI to help form their policy and into Government to assist in determining the future of the vehicles.


Opening up the roads to driverless cars

James Dalton, Director of General Insurance Policy at the ABI, said:

“The presence of driverless cars on UK roads would be life-changing in many ways, and one of the business sectors likely to be most affected is insurance. Contrary to what some people might expect, insurers are not standing in the way of this development but actively looking to support progress and innovation.

“The developments we’ve seen towards increasingly autonomous vehicles are already reaping rewards – with autonomous emergency braking reducing collisions and injuries and helping to bring down insurance premiums. Truly driverless cars have the potential to dramatically reduce deaths and injuries on the roads and could revolutionise what we think of as public transport. The role of motor insurance in such a future will be very different to what it is today, but insurance will be part of the picture.”

Peter Shaw, chief executive of Thatcham Research said:

“Automated driving is developing at pace, and safety is paramount from both a driver’s perspective as well as an insurance risk. Working with car manufacturers and insurers, we’ll be researching and testing systems, to provide insight and evaluation of the potential risks and benefits at each step of the way towards a world where cars can drive themselves.”

Read the full list of insurance companies involved at: ABI – Automated cars