The UK government wants to modify its ban on using mobile phones behind the wheel to allow drivers to use automatic parking devices. Drivers who push a button on their phone or key fob to make their car park itself could be running the risk of a fine under current laws, according to a consultation document.
Remote-control parking is a feature on many high-end luxury models but the use of the features is fraught with legal risk; though this is the case the government claims it could “revolutionize” driving for all.
Officials say it can aid those with reduced mobility and help people get into tight parking spaces, as well as making life easier for those with small garages. The Department for Transport cites research which claims the average driver spends 106 days during their lifetime looking for parking spaces. Under the current law, drivers can use a mobile phone only to contact the emergency services and if it is unsafe or impractical to stop the car to make the call.
The consultation document says drivers should also be allowed to look at “hand-held” devices, such as a phone, to activate remote-control parking. The devices must be operated within six metres of the vehicle, if the driver has stepped out of it, seen as the safe distance to perform remote manoeuvres. The document also proposes adding a new rule to the Highway Code, which would state: “You can park your vehicle via remote control, using a legally compliant parking application or device in an appropriate way which does not endanger others”. It also proposes rule changes to allow the use of advanced driver assistance systems on motorways, which take control of the car’s speed and position on the road. Drivers will still be advised to keep their hands on the wheel and pay attention to the road, but that may change when systems “which allow the driver to be out of the loop and divert their attention away from driving and where the vehicle actively monitors the driving for parts of the journey” become available “in due course”.
Transport Minister Jesse Norman said: “The government is determined that Britain should lead the way in embracing the safe deployment of new vehicle technology and features such as remote-control parking and motorway assist have the potential to transform car travel, adding greater convenience and accessibility to drivers, so that they can park and drive with more confidence.”
The six-week consultation was launched on Tuesday 19th December 2017
If you have any thoughts about this and wish to have your voice heard then contact your local MP or write directly to Richard Gladman at IAM RoadSmart.
(Article Courtesy of BBC News)