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ATA submission on the safety issues relating to driverless vehicles

10 May 2017

The ATA has called for independent, no-blame, safety investigations for road crashes involving heavy or autonomous vehicles in its submission to the House of Representatives standing committee inquiry into the social issues relating to land-based driverless vehicles in Australia.

The introduction of increasing levels of automated driving technologies and fully autonomous vehicles will require reform to safety investigations of road crashes involving heavy or autonomous vehicles.

Presently road crashes are investigated by police and/or the coronial system. This system is not suitable for investigating crashes with complex or multiple causes.

In contrast, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) conducts investigation of transport crashes and other safety occurrences in the aviation, marine and rail modes of transport. The ATSB is an independent statutory agency and it is not a function of the ATSB to apportion blame or to provide a means for determining liability.

The ATSB’s role should be extended to include road crashes involving heavy or autonomous vehicles.