Clause 82 - Power to grant permits

Part of Automated Vehicles Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee am 2:30 pm ar 19 Mawrth 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Simon Lightwood Simon Lightwood Shadow Minister (Transport) 2:30, 19 Mawrth 2024

The amendment would require automated vehicles to meet certain standards of accessibility, specifically in respect of the provision of information to users in vehicles, before being granted a permit to provide automated passenger services. The amendment sets out that this will take place by way of regulations to require a threshold of standards for the purposes of accessibility.

How the technology covered by the Bill will develop and be used over time is a great unknown, and it is vital that accessibility exists for disabled people so that they can benefit from it too. Disabled people are mentioned only in clause 87, which lacks detail. We need clear and consistent accessibility standards for the technology so that, for instance, those with sight loss can still utilise it.

As I mentioned, we currently have a substantial gap in our transport network, with 38% fewer trips taken by disabled people compared with those without disabilities. We are clear that disability and advocacy groups must be consulted from the very beginning, and that makes an advisory council even more vital. Guide Dogs is clear that AVs can unlock independence for those with sight loss, but vehicles must be safe when it comes to interacting with pedestrians and passengers.