Never is not answer when Law Commission asks whether driverless cars can nudge pedestrians
Rather amazingly, a legal look into the future governance of autonomous vehicles has asked when it might be “required” for driverless cars to break the law – and the answer seems to be “plenty of times.” A joint consultation by the Law Commission of England and Wales and the Scottish Law Commission has suggested creating a “digital Highway Code” that would allow carmakers to program AVs to exceed speed limits, drive on sidewalks and “edge through pedestrians.”
The lawyers who drew up the consultation agree such measures would be “controversial” and that “we have not yet reached any conclusions” so they “welcome your views.” Cynics might ask why the Law Commission has previously not issued consultations seeking the views of house-breakers and whether, in fact, it’s now socially acceptable to burgle.
The consultation paper claims driverless cars may attract “new forms of mischief and crime,” including pedestrians standing in front of a vehicle to obstruct its forward progression. In the “Adapting road rules” section, the consultation states that “one of the most difficult challenges faced by automated vehicles is how to cope with groups of pedestrians blocking their path. The concern is that if automated vehicles always stop, and pedestrians know that they will always stop, they may take advantage of this.”