According to new laws released by the UK’s Department for Transport, drivers can effectively watch TV while driving a self-driving vehicle. Currently, drivers cannot access “non-driving related content” on a “television-receiving apparatus,” but this regulation would be lifted under certain conditions. According to BBC News, the new laws will be implemented into the UK Highway Code this summer.
There are limitations on what you can view on television. A car will need to be driving itself at the moment, and the driver must be ready to take back control of the vehicle if required. Drivers will only be able to access content “via the vehicle’s built-in infotainment device,” which is significant. The assumption here is that an infotainment system can cease showing a TV show or film when the car needs the driver’s attention, unlike a phone. Using a portable phone while driving, regardless of its use, will remain unlawful.
It’ll still be illegal to use a cell phone while driving
The new laws only apply to cars that are registered as self-driving under British law, and the page identifying such vehicles is now empty. There are currently no self-driving vehicles approved for use in the United Kingdom, according to the notice. However, the Department for Transport optimistically anticipates that the first such vehicles could be ready for use “later this year,” although the specific technological criteria a car will need to accomplish to be labeled “self-driving” is now unclear.
However, the proposed guidelines make it clear that “self-driving” cars are distinct from those with “supported driving features,” which can undertake some driving tasks but keep the driver accountable for the overall. they are not driving. Examples of this include cruise control and lane-keeping assistance.
The new restrictions are only supposed to be a stopgap solution until a more comprehensive regulatory framework is implemented in 2025. The Highway Code will be revised to reflect the significant differences between self-driving and driving assistance technology, as well as the restrictions that still apply to a driver even when operating a self-driving vehicle (such as being within the legal limits of intoxication).