How Driverless Vehicles Could Affect Your Truck Insurance

Truck driving safety features

The publication in February 2019 of the Government’s ‘Code of Practice: Automated vehicle trialling’ points to the possibility that driverless vehicles could be seen on our streets undergoing strictly controlled trials in 2019. Read how this may affect your HGV driving safety procedures and your truck insurance.

Potentially life-saving semi-autonomous features such as Electronic Stability Control (ESC) systems, Lane Departure Warning Systems (LDWS) and radar-based Advanced Emergency Braking Systems (AEBS) are already playing an important part in making today’s commercial vehicles safer. But these are just the first steps towards what in due course is likely to be the wide-spread adoption of autonomous, self-driving vehicles.

About the author

Chris North FCII, commercial vehicles insurance articles author Chris North FCII is a respected industry leader with over 40 years' experience, who has worked in the insurance industry in a variety of roles, accumulating a wealth of knowledge. He is currently Technical Manager for Towergate's motor division, providing expertise on all matters relating to motor fleet insurance, in particular haulage and self-drive hire fleets.

Safety-critical technology for autonomous vehicles

Time will tell whether safety-critical enabling technologies such as machine-learning algorithms (vital to the ‘training’ of autonomous vehicles) and Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) environment scanning units, on which autonomous vehicles are heavily dependent, can become 100% reliable. Public confidence will depend on what happens during real-world trials, and that confidence could impact significantly on the rate at which autonomous vehicles become mainstream.

What could autonomous vehicles mean for truck insurance?

In the meantime, recognising the possible insurance issues relating to vehicles being driven in autonomous mode, the Government last year passed the Automated and Electric Vehicles Act. The new Act makes it clear any claim for injury or property damage should still be directed to the motor insurer who will be primarily obliged to deal with the claim. If it is discovered that the vehicle was in autonomous mode and there was a fault in the system that caused the crash, then it will be for the motor insurer to seek recovery against the vehicle manufacturer.

The other key change brought about by the Automated and Electric Vehicles Act is to allow the ‘driver’ of an autonomous vehicle to claim against his or her own motor insurer if the vehicle was in autonomous mode, a crash occurs, and the ‘driver’ was injured. Today it’s hard to predict the likely adoption rate for driverless vehicles. Ten years from now, it may be rather easier – and what it may mean for truck insurance may be rather clearer.

Truck insurance from Towergate

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