The insurer AXA UK is calling on the Government to prioritise self-driving legislation in the forthcoming King’s Speech after its new analysis suggested it has the potential to save the UK billions of pounds in costs relating to road crashes.
Government data has shown road collisions cost the UK £43.2bn in 2022. Of this, £2.3bn was a direct expense to the NHS for medical and ambulance costs. Axa says With 85% of all road crashes involving an element of human error according to the Department for Transport, self-driving technology could have a significant financial impact.
“The Government has a self-driving bill waiting in the wings that is likely to win cross-party support. We’re calling on the Prime Minister to prioritise road safety on 7 November and include the bill in the King’s Speech,” said Chief Underwriting Officer David Ovenden. “The potential savings, coupled with improved safety on our roads, make self driving the most exciting transport innovation since the invention of the modern motor car. As a leading motor insurer, road safety is incredibly important to us and we urgently need legislation so we can define liability and plan for the future.”
Ross Moorlock, interim CEO at Brake, the road safety charity, added: “It’s important that we ensure the future of driving has safety at its core. Currently five people die on British roads every day and many more receive life-changing injuries. Road death is traumatic and has a lasting effect on families and communities. And if we can make this new era of transport safer, then we can work towards a world where everyone is safe on roads.”
The Law Commission made recommendations last year on a regulatory framework for self driving following a three-year study, which the Government accepted. AXA UK says the 75 recommendations now need to be adopted into legislation as a priority.
AXA warns that, without it, the UK could miss out on opportunities to attract investment. The self-driving industry is expected to be worth £42bn to the UK economy by 2035 and create 50,000 highly skilled green jobs. Having once been a global leader in the motor industry, any delay could irreversibly impact the UK’s ability to once again lead the world in this exciting technological advance.
(Picture – Yay Images)