NSW inquiry examines whether driverless vehicles could cut road toll

NSW inquiry currently scrutinising state’s road rules readiness for driverless vehicles

A NSW parliamentary inquiry is examining the potential of driverless car technology to cut the state’s road toll.

The state parliament’s Staysafe (Road Safety) Committee last month established an inquiry into self-driving vehicles.

The terms of reference state that it will assess the “capacity of driverless vehicle technology to deliver improved road safety outcomes including a lower road toll, and fewer accidents and injuries to drivers, pedestrians and other road users”.

The inquiry will also assess the extent to which NSW’s road rules “anticipate the introduction of driverless vehicle technology, including driverless heavy vehicles, and any regulatory and policy changes which will be required”.

Research by the ARRB Group, which leadsthe Australian Driverless Vehicle Initiative (ADVI), has estimated that driverless vehicles could reduce the nation’s $27 billion annual road safety bill by 90 per cent and drastically reduce fatalities and injuries.

Last year the ADVI conducted tests of driverless cars in South Australia as part of the International Driverless Cars Conference.

South Australia’s premier, Jay Weatherill, has said he believes SA could play a significant role in manufacturing autonomous vehicle technology.

The ADVI has a five-stage plan to introduce driverless vehicles to Australian roads.

The NSW inquiry is accepting submissions until 11 April and anticipates reporting in early November.

Last year a federal parliamentary committee recommended that the Commonwealth, through the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), work to ensure the harmonisation “of emerging federal, state and territory legislation and regulations designed to deal with the arrival of autonomous vehicles and driving systems”.

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