Highway Code: Watching TV in self-driving cars to be allowed

The government has said that people using self-driving cars will be allowed to watch television on built-in screens under proposed updates to the Highway Code.

The changes will say drivers must be ready to take back control of vehicles when prompted.

Car safety experts Thatcham Research described the focus on the driver's legal responsibilities as important, adding drivers need to be made aware they "must remain engaged" and be ready to resume driving "at any time".

No self-driving cars are currently allowed on UK roads, but the first vehicles capable of driving themselves could be ready for use later this year, the Department for Transport (DfT) said.

The first use of self-driving technology is likely to be when travelling at slow speeds on motorways, such as in congested traffic.

However, using mobile phones while driving will remain illegal.

Eventually, self-driving technology could "improve road safety across Britain by reducing human error, which is a contributory factor in 88% of all recorded road collisions," the government said.

The planned changes to the code are expected to be introduced over the summer.

The updates, proposed following public consultation, were described as an interim measure to support the early adoption of the technology and a full regulatory framework is planned to be implemented by 2025.

They will also lay out that users of self-driving cars will not be responsible for crashes.

Instead, insurance companies, not individuals, will be liable for claims in many circumstances, the DfT said

man in a white shirt sitting back in the driver seat as the car drives itself