A solicitor has spoken about the safety of self-driving cars.

Carol Fish, director and head of serious and catastrophic injury at Cartmell Shepherd, which has offices in Brampton, Haltwhistle and Carlisle, said while such cutting-edge technology needs to keep pace with society.

A review of driving legislation has recently been passed by the Law Commission of England and Wales, and the Scottish Law Commission, to enable the safe and responsible introduction of automated vehicles on roads.

In April last year the Department for Transport announced it would allow hands-free driving in vehicles with lane-keeping technology on congested motorways, at speeds of up to 37 mph.

Carol said: "As a catastrophic injury solicitor, I fear for the implications on all road users, especially if drivers are unaware of when and if they are required to take control of a vehicle and may be lulled into a false sense of security.

"The Law Commissioners’ report proposes that the person behind the wheel of a self-driving car should not be legally responsible if it is involved in a crash.

"So if anything went wrong, such as speeding or running a red light, they would be immune from prosecution.

"Under the plan, the company or body that obtained authorisation for the technology – the authorised self-driving entity – would instead face sanctions.

"Whoever is in the driving seat would remain responsible for other duties such as obtaining insurance, checking loads and ensuring child passengers wear seat belts.

"It’s essential that the public has confidence that they are safe and the necessary protections are in place, just as they are for driving a traditional vehicle."