Highway Code change would see drivers watch TV behind wheel at 37mph in self-driving cars

New changes to the Highway Code will allow drivers to binge TV, watch the latest movies and surf the web in self-driving cars as long as they remain in one lane and under 37mph

Brits could catch up on their favorite TV series or read a book under new changes to the Highway Code

Changes to the Highway code will allow drivers to binge their favorite boxsets, watch a new film and surf the web in self-driving cars.

Under new rules, as long as drivers keep in a single lane and below 37mph, motorists in autonomous vehicles could watch TV or the latest movies while they drive.

And, on top of that, the drivers won’t be liable for any crashes that take place when a car is self-driving.

When drivers hand over control of the car, to the car, it will be insurance firms that are liable for accidents when it is in self-driving mode.

However, drivers must be ready to take back control of their cars in a timely fashion, if needed.

It will remain illegal to use a phone behind the wheel.

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Whilst no self-driving cars are currently on the road, they are expected in the coming months


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These types of self-driving cars have not yet been approved for use on Britain’s’ roads but they could be in months, under new plans announced today.

The measures follow a public consultation and are described as an interim response by the government to support the early deployment of self-driving cars.

The changes come ahead of full regulations that will be introduced in 2025 and as it stands, there are no vehicles approved for self-driving in Britain.

The Department for Transport announced in April 2021 it would allow hands-free driving in vehicles with lane-keeping technology on congested motorways.

Existing technology on the market such as cruise control and automatic stop/start is classified as “assistive”, meaning users must remain fully in control.

Transport Minister Trudy Harrison said updating the Highway Code will be a “major milestone in our safe introduction of self-driving vehicles”.

She claimed it will “revolutionise the way we travel, making our future journeys greener, safer and more reliable.”

Under the rules insurance companies, not drivers, would be liable for crashes


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She went on: “This exciting technology is developing at pace right here in Great Britain and we’re ensuring we have strong foundations in place for drivers when it takes to our roads.

“In doing so, we can help improve travel for all while boosting economic growth across the nation and securing Britain’s place as a global science superpower.”

The development of self-driving vehicles could create around 38,000 new jobs in Britain and be worth £41.7 billion to the economy by 2035, according to the DfT.

For this to apply to cars they must be able to occupy one lane only and stay under 37mph



Steve Gooding, director of motoring research charity the RAC Foundation, said driverless cars “promise a future where death and injury on our roads are cut significantly” but there is likely to be a “long period of transition” while drivers retain “much of the responsibility for what happens”.

He stressed the importance of changes to laws being properly and clearly communicated to drivers.

“Vehicle manufacturers and sellers will have a vital role to play in ensuring their customers fully appreciate the capabilities of the cars they buy and the rules that govern them,” he said.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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