A report has been published in Australia which suggests that drivers should be exempt from drink driving laws if they are being driven in an autonomous car in the near future.

The National Transport Commission (NTC) has recommended the change and has compared getting into an autonomous vehicle inebriated, to getting into a taxi.

The report suggests that the current laws surrounding drink driving could even be a ‘barrier’ to the development of the technology.

Many other countries are also considering updates to their road laws to accommodate autonomous vehicles.

The NTC has been given the task of making the transition to autonomous vehicles smoother by making legislative suggestions as self-driving cars have already been trialled in Australia and commercial rollouts are expected by 2020.

“The NTC believes that the introduction of automated vehicles will have overall safety benefits for the road network by reducing the risk of human error,” the report says.

“Enabling people to use an automated vehicle to drive them home despite having consumed alcohol has the potential to improve road-safety outcomes by reducing the incidence of drink-driving.”

The report emphasises that a driver should not be exempt from punishment if they are in semi-autonomous vehicles or cars which allow a switch over to manual driving.

It is likely that many of the counties to adopt autonomous vehicles will introduce specific legislation in the coming years as the rules of the road begin to transform the way we travel.

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