Discount rate in Scotland to remain the same
On 30 September, the Government Actuary Department published their determination of the personal injury discount rate in Scotland, concluding that the discount rate should remain unchanged at minus 0.75%. Under The Damages (Investment Returns and Periodical Payments) (Scotland) Act 2019 this rate took effect on 1 October and is likely to prevail until reviewed in five years.
Contacts: Rory Jackson and Peter Demick
Related item: No change in Scotland’s discount rate is a minus move
Call for overhaul of current laws on use of hand-held mobile devices whilst driving
The Transport Select Committee’s ‘Road Safety: driving while using a mobile phone’, published on 13 August 2019 calls on the government to overhaul current laws on the use of mobile phones or other devices whilst driving.
Since 2003, it has been an offence to use a hand-held mobile phone or other device whilst driving, with regulations stating that such phone or device is to be treated as hand-held, “if it is, or must be, held at some point during the course of making or receiving a call or performing any other interactive communication function”.
The reports states that “although the offence is framed around the use of a hand-held device, research shows that using any mobile phone or other device while driving – whether hand-held or not – is a distraction that is detrimental to a driver’s ability to drive safely.”
The report therefore recommends that the government explore options to extend the current band on driving while using a hand-held mobile or other device, to hands-free devices.
Contact: Naomi North
Removal of statutory declarations following an accident
In order to bring existing legislation in to line with European law, The Motor Vehicles (Compulsory Insurance) (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2019 (the Regulations) will amend s.152 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (RTA).
The Regulations will come into effect on 1 November 2019 and will mean that insurers will no longer be able to obtain and rely upon declarations to void a policy following an accident, in order to refuse payment of compensation to third parties. Insurers will however be able to rely on declarations obtained prior to an accident, and any court declarations validly obtained prior to 1 November 2019, will not be affected by the Regulations.
The spectre of these reforms to the RTA really underlines the importance of building a process designed to protect against unwanted risks by vetting potential insureds and policies at the frontend and then by validating claims at the backend of any claims process.
Contacts: Niall Edwards and Jennifer Harris
Related item: Section 152 Road Traffic Act 1988 amendment: removal of statutory declarations following an accident
Law Commission publish response to automated vehicles consultation
On 19 June 2019 the results of the Law Commission of England and Wales and the Scottish Law Commissions’ joint preliminary consultation into the safe regulation of automated vehicles, was published.
The results echo the importance of manufacturers working collaboratively with government and insurers on data management in the new driverless vehicles environment.
Reassuringly, the consultation identified strong support for the establishment of a safety assurance scheme to include responsibility for driver training as well as continuing roadworthiness, amongst other key safety matters.
As part of the Law Commissions’ three-year review into the regulation of automated vehicles, a second consultation paper is expected later this year, considering their use in the provision of passenger services. The Law Commissions' aim is to provide a third consultation paper in 2020, drawing on responses to both papers “to formulate more detailed proposals on the way forward”, with a final report with recommendations to follow in 2021.
Contact: Niall Edwards
Read more items in Motor Brief - October 2019