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Taking the Human Out of the Regulation of Road Behaviour

Dent, C.ORCID: 0000-0002-1801-713X (2018) Taking the Human Out of the Regulation of Road Behaviour. Sydney Law Review, 40 (1). pp. 39-62.

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Autonomous vehicles (‘AVs’) are likely to pose a significant challenge to the regulation of road behaviour in the medium to long term. The extent of that challenge depends, in part, on the categorisation of the change that they represent. This article, through taking an expansive regulatory approach, argues that the replacement of the human driver, by a machine, is not as radical as it may appear. Using Black’s notion of decentred regulation, the article concludes that the role of the human decision-maker is only a relatively small part of the overall system that guides behaviour on the roads. The infrastructure, the design of the cars, the associated systems around insurance and enforcement intersect to the extent that the ‘human’ aspect of current drivers is of lesser relevance to the regulatory efforts. This is not to say that the transition to an all-autonomous fleet will be simple; instead, the claim is that the reoriented perspective offered here provides a better context for the key difference between AVs and humans, being the processes by which decisions are made by each category of entity.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Law
Publisher: The University of Sydney Law School
Copyright: © 2018 Sydney Law Review and authors
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