The Self-drive feature is also known as driverless car or robo-car. Most electric vehicles have inbuilt visual display units where you can enter your destination and select the self-drive feature. The self-drive feature senses its environment and moves safely with little or no human input. It identifies navigation paths, obstacles, and signage.
So, can I be fined?
Under regulation 299 of the Road Rules 2014 (NSW), a driver must not drive a vehicle that has a television receiver or visual display unit in or on the vehicle operating while the vehicle is moving, or is stationery but not parked, if any part of the image of the screen, is visible to the driver from the normal driving position, or is likely to distract another driver. However, the regulation goes on to say that this rule does not apply if the visual display unit is an integrated part of the vehicle design.
Given that most of the new electric vehicles have an inbuilt unit which is part of the vehicle design and integral part of the whole vehicle design, it is unlikely that you would be fined.
At the same time, if you are caught driving negligently on any NSW road and using the self-drive feature in a reckless manner (like sitting in the back seat while you have turned the self-drive feature on) then you may be charged with negligent driving under section 117 of the Roads Transport Act 2013 (NSW). The penalties of being found guilty of this offence are quite serious.
Whilst we are not aware of any driverless motor vehicle accidents when serious injuries occasioned, the court may consider allowing the vehicle to “drive itself” amount to a very serious breach of your obligations to other road users.
If you or know anyone that requires any assistance with traffic or criminal offences, contact our office and speak with one of our solicitors at Anderson Boemi Lawyers.
This information is for general advice only.
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