The first trials of driverless cars are set to go ahead on Britain’s roads. The hope is in the future that they will require very little interaction from drivers – you just put your destination in and away you go!

The trials will take place in four areas: Greenwich, Bristol, Milton Keynes and Coventry over 18 to 36 months and will assess the usability and practicalities of these cars on UK roads. The government wants the UK to become a leader in such technology. Claire Perry, the Transport Minister commented, “These are still early days but today is an important step. The trials present a fantastic opportunity for this country to take a lead internationally in the development of the new technology.”

Driverless cars already build on some existing technology used in some modern cars, including sensors for cars to park themselves, lane correcting technology, as well as automatic braking and speed variable cruise control.

The trials will initially have a qualified driver in the vehicle with the ability to override the on-board system, as well as a steering wheel and brake pedals in case of an emergency. However, as the technology advances, the final tests will be on the nearly completely self-sufficient cars.

It is reported that around 90% of car accidents are currently down to human error. By introducing driverless cars, these accidents could reduce dramatically. This could mean greater safety for all road users, especially more vulnerable road users such as cyclists and also pedestrians.

Julie Townsend, Deputy Chief Executive at Brake, the road safety charity, has said, “We believe driverless technology could hold the key to ending the needless suffering caused everyday by road deaths and serious injuries. We witness the aftermath of road casualties, and the terrible and lasting impact on families and communities, through our support services for crash victims. We know from research that the vast majority of these tragedies are caused by human error and risk-taking, so this technology could be a critical move towards stopping them. Driverless technology could transform the way we use roads, helping to ensure everyone can get around through safe, sustainable and affordable means, and making our communities more pleasant and sociable places.”

It is even thought that eventually people will not need a license for driverless cars.  Currently, around one third of women and one in seven men do not hold a full driver’s license in the UK. These cars could mean access to more convenient transport for these people, as well as for other people who are unable to drive, such as disabled people and the elderly.

The government will also be reviewing current legislation to look at the Highway Code, MOT test guidelines, standards of driving and also who would be responsible in the event of a collision.

Driverless cars and road traffic accidents

Emma Greenhalgh, Head of the road accident department at Freeclaim Solicitors commented on the new technology, “If the tests are successful, the possibilities for driverless cars on Britain’s roads are endless. Through the work we do at Freeclaim Solicitors, we see the consequences of road accidents constantly. We are very much looking forward to seeing how this technology progresses, and the implications they could have on improving road safety and reducing road deaths and serious injuries.”

Freeclaim Solicitors are specialists in road accident compensation and car accident claims. We are recommended by the Legal 500 as a leading personal injury firm.

We have helped many people who have been victims of a road traffic accident to claim the compensation they deserve. If you have been injured in a road traffic accident, either as a driver or passenger, or as a pedestrian or cyclist, we can help. Call us today on 0800 612 7340, or fill in our online enquiry form and one of our expert team will call you back. All our road accident claims are taken on a no win no fee basis, so there is absolutely no financial risk to you.