In the event of a car accident involving a completely self-driving car without driver caused by a hacker who intruded into a computer system from outside, the government will compensate for the damage by handling the accident as a “government compensation matter” and paying damages from a special account, the Sankei Shimbun learned on Dec. 29. The government is at the final stage of coordination on this matter. The administration will regard such accidents the same as a car accident caused by a stolen car.
Under the current Automobile Liability Security Act, the owner or the driver of car is in principle primarily responsible for an accident. However, if a car accident is caused by a stolen or uninsured automobile, damages will not be paid from the compulsory automobile liability insurance but will be paid from the automobile safety special account of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism by handling the accident as a government compensation matter. If the government later finds out who caused the accident, it will demand that the individual pay damages. The government will handle an accident involving a completely self-driving car caused by a hacker the same as a car accident caused by a stolen car.
As a system malfunction could also be the cause of a car accident involving a completely self-driving car, the government has deliberated about the scope of responsibility. In the event of an accident involving a self-driving car caused by a defect in the system or malfunction, the government is mulling a case in which the driver or the owner of the car will be primarily responsible for the accident. However, at the same time, the government will improve the system for investigating the cause of the accident and facilitate an insurance company’s claim for damages against the maker of the system that caused the accident.
The basic plan concerning the scope of responsibility for accidents involving self-driving cars will be incorporated into “the outline of system improvement” of self-driving to be compiled by the end of this fiscal year. This will also be reflected in the design of products by private insurance companies.