The Ministry of Transport has determined who is to blame for accidents involving unmanned vehicles

The Ministry of Transport has determined who is to blame for accidents involving unmanned vehicles

The Ministry of Transport finalized the draft law on highly automated vehicles (VATS). In this version of the draft law, the department for the first time tells in detail who will be responsible for road accidents involving drones, Kommersant reports.

Self-driving cars have been tested by companies since 2018 under an experimental legal regime. In this mode, a test engineer is in the driver’s seat. According to the project of the Ministry of Transport, drones will be released on the roads of Russia in full as early as September 2025.

The law defines the conditions for the admission of self-driving cars to the roads. In particular, they must have an “on-board event recorder” installed, as well as a system that allows the car to be remotely put into a “minimum risk state” where the autopilot is disabled and the car stops on its own in a safe and authorized location.

Also, the Ministry of Transport determined that the responsibility for the damage caused to the life, health, property of “third parties, the environment” will be borne by the owner of the drone, if he does not prove that the situation occurred due to “irresistible force or the intention of the victim.” In addition, responsibility can be transferred to the manufacturer of the unmanned vehicle if it is proven that the accident occurred as a result of “design features (flaws) of the control system or VATS in general.”

In the event that the accident occurred due to “failure to carry out dispatcher control”, then the dispatcher – an employee who must remotely check the condition of the vehicle and, if necessary, disable the autopilot – is found guilty of the accident.

Road accidents with drones will need to be processed only with the participation of a DIBDR employee, while the Europrotocol will be prohibited. When indemnifying damages from an accident involving VATS, the insurer will have the right to ask the owner of the drone for information obtained with the help of the recorder on the car, and he will be obliged to hand it over. In addition, insurers have the right to a recourse claim against the owner of the VATS, if he did not update the software in the car in time. Such norms were introduced into the law at the initiative of the Russian Union of Auto Insurers.

The Ministry of Transport did not comment on the text of the bill. Currently, the project must be supported by the “Road Safety” working group, but its experts can send the document for revision. According to the plan of the Ministry of Transport, the law should enter into force on September 1, 2025.

Related posts