British Columbia Bans All Cars Equipped With Level 3 Driving Assists

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As automakers strive towards more advanced driver-assist systems, one province in Canada is applying the brakes on the tech. British Columbia recently updated its Motor Vehicle Act, prohibiting the use of vehicles with Level 3 systems. This isn’t just a clampdown on using such systems. The law makes it illegal to merely drive any Level 3-equipped car, whether you use it or not.

The updated rules were signed on March 18 and went into effect on April 5. Technically speaking, it prohibits the operation of vehicles with Level 3, 4, or 5 automated systems. But at this stage, nothing is available for public use beyond Level 3. Even then, there are only two vehicles with Level 3 capability you can buy. The 2024 Mercedes-Benz S-Class and EQS offer the system, and it’s currently only approved for limited use in California and Nevada. At speeds below 40 mph on some limited-access highways, it allows drivers to go hands-off and eyes-off, though they must be ready to take control.

So basically, if you have a 2024 S-Class or EQS with the optional Drive Pilot system, you may want to think twice before road-tripping to Vancouver. If you’re caught, fines range from $368 to $2,000 in Canadian currency, or even six months in jail. Yikes.

We reached out to BC officials for some clarification on whether this law applies only to residents of the province or all motorists, and exactly how it’ll be enforced. We’ll jump in with an update if we hear back.

Future use of Level 3 tech in British Columbia isn’t ruled out. In a statement regarding the rule changes, officials call it a “new and emerging transportation technology” that needs further testing and policy adjustments before widespread use.

“These new regulations will keep people safer on our roads and encourage even more use of active transportation,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “It’s another step in modernizing our rules to keep up with new technologies that are changing how people are getting around.”

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