NTC proposes drink driving exemption for automated vehicles

By: Cobey Bartels


Report acknowledges the risks associated with drivers being able to manually take control of a vehicle

NTC proposes drink driving exemption for automated vehicles
Drinkers might not be leaving the keys at home when self-driving cars hit the roads.

 

There should be ‘clear exemptions’ from drink and drug driving offences in dedicated automated vehicles, the National Transport Commission (NTC) states.

The October discussion paper, Changing driving laws to support automated vehicles, suggests that allowing an exemption from drink and drug driving in self-driving vehicles "has the potential to improve road safety outcomes by reducing the incidence of drink-driving."

"There is no possibility that a human could drive a dedicated automated vehicle so there is no safety risk associated with drink driving," the report states.

While legislative amendments could allow provisions for drink and drug driving, the Commission has acknowledged the risks associated with drivers being able to manually take control of a vehicle.

"Legislative amendments could be made to exempt people who set a vehicle with high or full automation in motion from the drink- and drug-driving provisions.

"A risk of providing exemptions is that an occupant may subsequently choose to take over driving the vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

"If this occurred, they would become the driver of the vehicle and drink and drug driving offences would apply," the report outlines.

The report is out for consultation and asks questions about the idea of drink and drug driving exemptions, with submissions due by 24 November this year. 

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