Use of Mobiles in Self-Driving Cars May Be Allowed in Japan

Tokyo, Dec. 20 (Jiji Press)--Japan's National Police Agency on Thursday called for allowing drivers to use mobile phones while their cars are traveling autonomously under specified conditions, including during traffic jams on expressways.

The agency, in a draft amendment of the road traffic law, proposed allowing such use of mobile phones in a Level 3 situation only if drivers can switch to manual driving whenever the specified conditions on road type, traveling speed, weather, time of day and other factors are no longer fulfilled.

After soliciting public comments on the proposal from Tuesday, the agency plans to submit an amendment bill to an ordinary parliamentary session to be convened next year, with the aim of enforcing the revised law in the first half of 2020.

The draft proposal was compiled based on opinions from a panel at the agency that was tasked to discuss legal problems related to autonomous driving.

In principle, the proposal regards the user of an autonomous driving system as the driver and requires the driver to be taking the driver's seat.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press