Watching TV in self-driving cars to be allowed

Woman drinking a coffee while sitting behind the wheel of a self-driving car

People using self-driving cars will be allowed to watch television on built-in screens under proposed updates to the UK Highway Code.

The changes will say drivers must be ready to take back control of vehicles when prompted, the government said.

The first use of self-driving technology is likely to be when travelling at slow speeds on motorways, such as in congested traffic.

However, using mobile phones while driving will remain illegal.

No self-driving cars are currently allowed on UK roads, but the first vehicles capable of driving themselves could be ready for use later this year, the Department for Transport (DfT) said.

The planned changes to the code are expected to come in over the summer.

The updates, proposed following public consultation, were described as an interim measure to support the early adoption of the technology and a full regulatory framework is planned to be implemented by 2025.

They will also lay out that users of self-driving cars will not be responsible for crashes.

Instead insurance companies, not individuals, will be liable for claims in many circumstances, the DfT said.