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Cross-Border Traffic Accidents in the EU - The Potential Impact of Driverless Cars

30-06-2016

Commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the JURI committee, this study provides an analysis of the potential legal impact of the introduction of connected and autonomous vehicles on rules of private international law determining jurisdiction and applicable law in the EU Member States in the event of a cross-border traffic accident. Following a case-studies approach, it makes a number of recommendations to improve ...

Commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the JURI committee, this study provides an analysis of the potential legal impact of the introduction of connected and autonomous vehicles on rules of private international law determining jurisdiction and applicable law in the EU Member States in the event of a cross-border traffic accident. Following a case-studies approach, it makes a number of recommendations to improve the legal framework. In line with recent EU law trends towards enhanced protection for the victims and given that products liability is likely to gain more importance in the area, the study suggests the introduction of a duty for car manufacturers to contract liability insurance covering traffic accidents victims; the possibility of a direct action against a manufacturer’s liability insurer and the establishment of a forum at the domicile of the victim for claims against manufacturers of cars using new technologies. In order to increase legal certainty, the study recommends to redefine the respective scopes of application of the two systems of private international law currently coexisting in the EU to determine the law applicable (the Rome II Regulation and the 1971 and 1973 Hague Conventions), and to apply Rome II in cases in which both the claimant and the defendant are domiciled in EU Member States. Finally, autonomous technologies may increase the difficulty to initiate extra-contractual liability claims therefore the study proposes that limitation periods be extended at the substantive law level or that a cumulative connecting mechanism be introduced at private international level for the benefit of the victims.

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