Vehicle Technology and Aviation Bill

Written evidence submitted by RAC Motoring Services (VTAB 09)

Vehicle Technology and Aviation Bill - Submission to the Public Bill Committee

This response has been written by Nicholas Lyes, RAC Public Affairs Manager, on behalf of RAC Motoring Services


About the RAC

With more than eight million members, the RAC is the oldest and one of the UK's most progressive motoring organisations, providing services for both private and business motorists. As such, it is committed to making driving easier, safer, more affordable and more enjoyable for all road users.

The RAC, which employs more than 1,500 patrols, provides roadside assistance across the entire UK road network and as a result has significant insight into how the country’s road networks are managed and maintained.

The RAC is separate from the RAC Foundation which is a transport policy and research organisation which explores the economic, mobility, safety and environmental issues relating to roads and their users.

The RAC website can be found at www.rac.co.uk .

In September 2016, the RAC published its latest Report on Motoring .

RAC Response

The RAC is interested in this Bill from the point of view of electric vehicle infrastructure and driverless vehicle technology, the shining of lasers at vehicle drivers and the use of diversionary courses. As such, the focus of our response is on those sections of the Bill only.

Sections of the Bill which need further scrutiny (Bill as introduced):

BILL REFERENCES

RAC AMENDS

Part 1, sections 2 and 4

Section 2 states:

Liability of insurers   etc   where accident caused by automated vehicle

(1)Where-

(a)an accident is caused by an automated vehicle when driving itself,

(b)the vehicle is insured at the time of the accident, and

(c)an insured person or any other person suffers damage as a result of the  
accident,

the insurer is liable for that damage.

However section 4 specifies situations when software has been altered or not updated in which the insurer may exclude or limit liability

- We would like section 4 of the Bill to be amended to make clear that in the event of 3rd party hacking into software and making changes without the insured person’s knowledge, that the insurer should not be able to exclude or limit liability.

Part 2, section 10: Large fuel retailers   etc: provision of public charging points

"(1)Regulations may impose requirements on-

(a)large fuel retailers falling within a prescribed description, or

(b)service area operators falling within a prescribed description,

in connection with the provision on their premises of public charging points.

(2)Regulations under subsection   (1)   may, for example-

(a) require large fuel retailers or service area operators to provide public  
charging points;

(b)require public charging points to be available for use at prescribed  
times;"

The RAC feels that an extra clause on ‘off-road public and private parking facilities’ should be added to each subsection. It is important to recognise that until ultra-rapid charging technology is available, it would be difficult for fuel retailers to offer a charging facilities because of the limited space available at filling stations and the time required to charge the vehicle. Therefore this section of the bill will only be relevant once ultra-fast charging is established and the majority of plug-in vehicles can utilise this.

In the short to medium term it is more important that off-road parking facilities, where motorists can leave their vehicles for hours at a time whilst doing other activities, are required to have charging points.

Supporting evidence and motoring opinion research:

Part 1: Automated Vehicles: Liability of insurers etc

- Motorist concerns: The RAC conducted research for our 2016 Report on Motoring. When asked about their biggest concerns regarding driverless vehicles 46% of motorists identified the reliability of the software controlling the vehicle whilst 10% said they were most concerned about cyber-attacks on software. A further 27% said their biggest concern was the loss of personal control of their vehicle, whilst 9% were worried about who would be liable in the event of a collision. Additionally 27% told us that the Government should be focusing on defining where liability falls in the event of a collision, whilst 44% identified that the Government needs to focus on improving the current infrastructure to make our roads support driverless vehicle functionality.

Part 2 – Electric Charging

General comments:

- In a survey of motorists conducted by the RAC in 2013, concern about vehicle range on a full charge was the biggest worry (31%) followed by the cost of batteries (24%) should it become necessary to replace them.

- Motoring opinion: In the research for the 2016 RAC Report on Motoring, we asked motorists about which type of vehicle they would consider purchasing next. Only 14% are considering a conventional hybrid vehicle, 5% are looking at purchasing a plug-in hybrid and only 2% are considering a pure electric vehicle. Low running costs are a top priority for 27% of motorists when choosing their next vehicle; however this seemingly isn’t translating into an intent to purchase ultra-low or zero emission vehicles, perhaps due to the higher initial purchase price of such vehicles.

- To view a full copy of the RAC’s full response to the Autonomous Vehicles consultation – click here

- To view a full copy of the RAC’s full response charging infrastructure in the Modern Transport Bill – click here

March 2017

 

Prepared 21st March 2017