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Highway Code changes allow you to watch TV in self-driving cars

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People will be able to watch TV in self-driving cars as part of changes to the Highway Code, the Department for Transport (DfT) has confirmed.

Britain’s first self-driving cars could be on the roads by the end of the year, and as such, the DfT has confirmed changes to the Highway Code to ensure the vehicles are used safely and to clarify drivers’ responsibilities.

As part of the change to the code, expected to be introduced this summer, it will allow drivers to view content “that is not related to driving on built-in display screens while the self-driving vehicle is in control”.

However, it will still be illegal to use a mobile phone in self-driving mode “given the greater risk they pose in distracting drivers”.

Further, the code will also explain clearly that while travelling in self-driving mode, motorists must be ready to resume control in a timely way if they are prompted to, such as when they approach motorway exits.

Transport minister, Trudy Harrison, said: “This is a major milestone in our safe introduction of self-driving vehicles, which will revolutionise the way we travel, making our future journeys greener, safer and more reliable.

“This exciting technology is developing at pace right here in Great Britain and we’re ensuring we have strong foundations in place for drivers when it takes to our roads.

“In doing so, we can help improve travel for all while boosting economic growth across the nation and securing Britain’s place as a global science superpower.”

The changes to the Highway Code confirmed today follow a consultation launched by the government which found that the majority of respondents were broadly supportive of the proposed changes to the code to clarify drivers’ responsibilities in self-driving vehicles.

The introduction of the technology is likely to begin with vehicles travelling at slow speeds on motorways, such as in congested traffic, the government added.

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