Germany’s New Road Traffic Law—Legal Risks and Ramifications for the Design of Human-Machine Interaction in Automated Vehicles

  • Christian Kessel
  • Benjamin von BodungenEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Mobility book series (LNMOB)


Germany has very recently adopted the allegedly most advanced road traffic law in the world. At first glance, drivers will be allowed to pursue non-driving-related activities during phases of automation such as surfing the internet or watching films. This paper shows, however, that the new law gives rise to significant legal uncertainty regarding human–machine interaction in automated vehicles, with liability risks emanating therefrom both for manufacturers and users of the new technology. This paper puts forward suggestions as to how these legal risks can be addressed when designing and implementing the human–machine interface. Automation systems will only find general acceptance if they can be brought to market without unduly burdening manufacturers and users from a liability perspective.


Automation Civil liability Constructional deficiencies Federal road traffic act Human-machine interface Instructional errors Product liability act Vienna convention on road traffic 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bird & Bird LLPFrankfurt/MainGermany
  2. 2.German Graduate School of Management and LawHeilbronnGermany

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