Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill

Written evidence submitted by the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) (AEVB 07)

I am writing on behalf of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) in regards to the Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill, which is currently before the Public Bill Committee. We have two concerns which we would like to raise with the current draft, namely the following:

Firstly, under section 2 (2), in the event of an accident caused by an automated vehicle which is driving itself, has been rented or leased to the Crown (or other central government body) and which is not insured at the time of the accident, the owner of the vehicle is responsible for any damage caused to a third party. Where our members rent or lease vehicles to Crown or other public bodies, such bodies typically self-insure these vehicles. However as the Bill stands, liability for accidents in the above circumstances would fall upon the vehicle owner/provider – i.e. the BVRLA member – rather than either the driver or the vehicle manufacturer. Having previously discussed this with CCAV, they have explained to us that companies would be expected to ensure that such insurance issues are covered in the rental/lease contract – however, we believe that this is insufficient, and could potentially leave our members open to liability for accidents that they had, and could, do nothing to prevent.

The second section which we have a potential concern with is section 4 (4) (b), which states that if an accident occurred as a result of a failure to install safety-critical software updates that the insured person knew or ought to have known were safety critical, then liability would fall upon that person. The BVRLA has been advised that the majority of such updates will take place via the Cloud, but this requires the vehicle to remain connected – which several BVRLA members have indicated they will not accept, as this means that sensitive customer, driver and/or vehicle data could be accessed by the manufacturer, negating both privacy and customer confidentiality. In these circumstances, we propose that the manufacturer should have a responsibility to alert the vehicle owner (rather than simply the user) of the need for these updates, rather than rely upon these automatic e-updates.

Patrick Cusworth
Senior Policy Advisor

October 2017


Prepared 3rd November 2017