Highway Code changes to cover autonomous vehicles

The government has announced more changes to the Highway Code. This time focussing on self-drive vehicles.

It wants to ensure, that when self-drive vehicles hit the roads, motorists are as safe as possible.

The changes to the Highway Code outline drivers’ responsibilities in self-drive vehicles. This includes when a driver must be ready to take back control.

The UK’s first approved self-drive vehicles could be on the road later this year. The government expects to have a full framework in place, to support the widespread use of the technology, by 2025.


Self-drive or autonomous cars operate without a human controlling the vehicle. They use a combination of technology. This includes sensors, cameras, and software that track objects around them.

They can speed up or slow down to keep a safe distance between the vehicle in front.

Transport Minister Trudy Harrison said: “This is a major milestone in our safe introduction of self-driving vehicles, which will revolutionise the way we travel, making our future journeys greener, safer, and more reliable.

“This exciting technology is developing at pace right here in Great Britain and we’re ensuring we have strong foundations in place for drivers when it takes to our roads.

“In doing so, we can help improve travel for all while boosting economic growth across the nation and securing Britain’s place as a global science superpower.”


The technology could improve road safety by reducing human error. This is a factor in more than three-quarters of all recorded road collisions.

The technology could communicate with road signals which would reduce congestion and improve emissions.

It could also provide a lifeline for those with disabilities. It would provide alternatives to public transport. Allowing those in rural areas to access new locations.


The Government’s plans include a change to current regulations. It will allow drivers to view content that is not related to driving on built-in display screens, while the self-driving vehicle is in control.

Raising concerns that drivers will be watching TV rather than on the road.

It will still be illegal to use mobile phones in self-driving mode. Studies have shown that they are at a greater risk of driver distraction.


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