New international driving laws will usher in a new age of driverless cars, allowing motorists to take their hands off the wheel at 81mph.

The new rules, which will be published by the United Nations next month, will allow drivers to let go of the car’s wheel for up to three minutes.

Although these rules apply to motorway driving from 2018, this is due to be expanded to other roads from 2021.

It comes in the wake of an announcement by Swedish carmaker Volvo that it will trial its own autonomous cars in London.

While the Road Traffic Act currently requires drivers to keep their hands on the wheel at all times, this new legislation could change that.

However, a Department for Transport spokesman told the Daily Mail that despite the announcement of the change, rules on the road would stay the same until the legislation was put in place. He told the paper: “We are currently working to change international regulations so that manufacturers can develop vehicles with features to assist the driver when on the motorway that, for example, help with lane changing.

“The driver will remain in control.

“The Highway Code says they should keep hands on the steering wheel at all times and this is not changing.”

After notifying the public of the impending trials of driverless cars on UK roads, Chancellor George Osborne said: “Driverless cars could represent the most fundamental change to transport since the invention of the internal combustion engine.

“Naturally, we need to ensure safety, and that’s what the trials we are introducing will test.”

Jack Evans


After completing his university studies in English and Creative Writing in Cardiff, Jack is now a full time motoring writer at Blackball Media. His love of cars stems from his childhood years when he began to live and breathe all-things automotive.

May 4, 2016