NTC seeks feedback on changing driving laws for autonomous vehicles

The National Transport Commission (NTC) has said that is is asking road transport agencies, police, and the commercial road transport industry to provide input on how Australian governments should amend driver laws to facilitate the introduction of automated vehicles.

The NTC has released a discussion paper, Changing driving laws to support automated vehicles, which reportedly seeks to clarify how current driver and driving laws apply to automated vehicles and who would be legally responsible for their operation.

NTC Chief Executive, Paul Retter, has said that current driving laws were developed before automated vehicles were envisaged, with the assumption that the driver would always be a human.

“The introduction of more automated vehicles will see elements of the driving task shift away from the human driver to the automated driving system but our laws currently don’t recognise these systems,” said Retter.

“We need to ensure that relevant driving laws apply to automated vehicles when the automated driving system – rather than the human driver – is operating the vehicle.

“We have been tasked with identifying, and if necessary, removing, legislative impediments to automated vehicles. But we must also maintain the intent of existing laws – to ensure the safe operation of vehicles on Australian roads.

“Legislation must recognise a legal entity that can be held responsible for the automated driving system,” he said.

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