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Use of driver assistance systems (parking aid, motorway assistant)

Provided that the legal framework conditions are met and the systems meet the standards required by law, drivers would in future be able to temporarily take both hands off the steering wheel, as long as the driver assistance system also takes over the driving tasks. However, drivers remain responsible for constantly monitoring the systems and for taking over driving tasks again at any time. Other activities during driving therefore continue to be forbidden (watching videos, using mobile phones, etc.). Austria is thus one of the pioneer countries in the field of automated mobility in Europe.

Under the previous legislation, every driver was always obliged to keep hold of the steering wheel with at least one hand when driving in Austria (§102 section 3 KFG). Here, the Federal Ministry has brought the legal framework up to date by means of an amendment and has achieved an increase in road safety for drivers and also in legal certainty during the use of these systems.

Only when all legal requirements and the legal framework are complied with is the use of these systems also lawful within the meaning of the Ordinance; the following must be observed:

Parking aid

  • A parking aid is defined as a system that can perform the driving tasks when entering and leaving parking spaces by means of an automatic steering function.
  • As long as the system is activated, the driver must be in the immediate vicinity of or inside the vehicle and monitor the parking process. Therefore, if the system supports this function, parking by remote control and remote monitoring is also possible.
  • However, the system in use must always be equipped with an emergency device, with which the system can be immediately deactivated or overridden. If a critical situation arises, the driver must operate the emergency device without delay.
  • The system may only be used according to the manufacturer’s instructions and only up to a maximum speed of 10 km/h.
  • The system may only be used in class M1 and N1 vehicles.

Motorway assistant

  • A motorway assistant is defined as a system that can take over the longitudinal guidance of the vehicle, such as acceleration, braking, stopping and distance alert, as well as the lateral guidance of the vehicle for lane keeping by means of an automatic steering function, on motorways and highways.
  • Only once the driver has driven onto the motorway or highway and has positioned the vehicle in the traffic flow may he activate the system.
  • The driver is freed from the obligation to keep a grip on the steering wheel with at least one hand whilst the vehicle is moving for as long as the system is activated.
  • The driving tasks must be taken over again by the driver in good time before changing lanes, ahead of construction sites and before reaching the exit.
  • An emergency device must be fitted, with which the system can be immediately deactivated or overridden. If a critical situation arises, the driver must operate the emergency device without delay and take over the subordinated tasks.
  • The system may only be used according to the manufacturer’s instructions and exclusively on motorways and highways, but not in the vicinity of construction sites.
  • The system may only be used in class M1, M2, M3, N1, N2 and N3 vehicles.

Furthermore, before using these systems, drivers should always study intensively how these driver assistance systems are to be handled and should also familiarise themselves with the manufacturer’s instructions.

There are presently no uniform regulations in the EU concerning the use of driver assistance systems and drivers are therefore advised to inform themselves prior to every journey that crosses a border about country-specific traffic regulations in other countries relating to the use of assistance systems.

The top priority is always accorded to the safety of all traffic participants, for which reason all applicants must meet certain safety-related requirements!

For test application please visite: AustriaTech