Media Release                                                                                     27 October 2020


Drivers should not be able to take their eyes off the road when using a proposed new assisted driving system. That is the view of the International Underwriting Association (IUA) in its comments to the Government about a proposed Automated Lane Keeping System (ALKS).
The technology is being examined by the Department of Transport to see whether it could be adopted as early as next year, but there are a number of safety concerns. Drivers could be called upon to take over control of their vehicle and the 10 second period for them to do so may not be enough time to fully focus on the task.

The IUA supports the roll out of automated vehicles which have the potential to reduce traffic accidents and greatly improve road safety. It believes, however, that ALKS cannot be considered as automated driving. It should instead be considered a form of driver assistance technology where the driver must remain engaged with the driving task at all times and be prepared to take back control.

Dave Matcham, chief executive of the IUA, said: “The risk of misinformation around this new technology must be very carefully managed. It is essential that drivers are fully aware of the capabilities, limitations and their own responsibilities. Otherwise, serious dangers will arise and public confidence in the system will be undermined.

“It is paramount that a clear and robust legal and regulatory framework that prioritises safety underpins this evolving technology.”

The IUA has also called for vehicle data to be made available to insurers to ensure that liability can be apportioned and claims paid quickly.

Mr Matcham added: “Access to data is essential for insurers to properly analyse and quantify risks, and ultimately pay claims. Information such as the status of any automated driving system around the time of an accident and any camera footage will be important for ensuring that drivers are not held unduly responsible when the technology is at fault.”

Scott Farley                                                                                         
Director of Communications                                                                 
International Underwriting Association                         
Tel: 0207 617 4449
Mobile: 07876 758 637                                                            

Notes to Editors:
About the IUA
The International Underwriting Association of London (IUA) represents international and wholesale insurance and reinsurance companies operating in or through London. It exists to promote and enhance the business environment for its members.
The IUA’s London Company Market Statistics Report shows that overall premium income for the company market in 2019 was £27.633bn. Gross premium written in London totalled £21.436bn while a further £6.197bn was identified as written in other locations but overseen by London operations.