Who's ‘behind the wheel’ of a 'driverless' car?

The Government recently announced a review of road traffic laws in anticipation of self-driving vehicles catching on in the next few years.

The programme, to be undertaken by the Law Commissions in England & Wales and Scotland over the next three years, is expected to consider any legal obstacles to the widespread introduction of self-driving vehicles and highlight the need for regulatory reforms.

Roads Minister, Jesse Norman MP said: 

With driving technology advancing at an unprecedented rate, it is important that our laws and regulations keep pace so that the UK can remain one of the world leaders in this field.

According to Scottish Law Commissioner Caroline Drummond: 

Automated vehicles could have a big impact on the way we live and work so it’s important that, UK-wide, we have a legal system which can accommodate them. 

One question to be considered is who might be deemed responsible for being ‘behind the wheel’ of a driverless car. Could an intoxicated passenger ever be deemed ‘drunk in charge’?

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