Autonomous vehicles law and regulation in Slovenia

1. Is the testing of AVs (SAE Levels 3-5) permitted on public roads in your jurisdiction?

No, in Slovenia is not allowed to test AVs (SAE Levels 3-5) on public roads as this is not yet explicitly permitted under currently valid legislation.

However, the Ministry of Infrastructure of the Republic of Slovenia has prepared an amendment to the Slovenian Road Traffic Rules Act (Zakon o pravilih cestnega prometa – ZPrCP), which permits the testing of autonomous vehicles on public roads and specifies the conditions under which such tests may be performed.

Following requirements for testing AVs on public roads are envisaged:

  • accordingly marked testing area,
  • accordingly marked AVs in order to be recognized by other road users,
  • the driver of tested AV must be constantly monitored and recorded while driving,
  • insurance coverage of the manufacturer of an AV or autonomous driving system,
  • the police and traffic information center must be informed about the intended testing of AVs.

The respective amendment is currently in the legislative procedure but on hold due to the COVID-19 epidemic.

2. Are consumers permitted to use AVs (SAE Levels 3-5) on public roads in your jurisdiction?

No, in Slovenia is not allowed to use AVs (SAE Levels 3-5) on public roads as this is not yet explicitly permitted under currently valid legislation. 

Consumers may use AVs with features only up to SAE Level 2 included. In accordance with the Slovenian Road Traffic Rules Act, the driver of a two-track vehicle must namely hold the steering wheel the entire time while driving, otherwise a fine in amount of EUR 300 to the driver may be imposed. The driver must always be actively involved in driving.

In Slovenia, the consumers may therefore use only vehicles with autonomous driving systems which only assist the driver in driving but do not imply complete control over the movement of the vehicle (e.g. assistance in maintaining the driving direction, adaptive cruise control). 

Nevertheless, the consumers may use vehicles with following feature:

  • Autonomous parking

Consumers can use vehicles on any public road that master autonomous parking. The driver is not obliged to hold the steering wheel but must be inside the care during the automated parking process and must operate the clutch, add gas and brake. The respective feature is however not yet explicitly regulated in any way under currently valid Slovenian law. 

3. Who has liability for damages caused by a car in automated driving mode?

The liability for damages caused by a car in automated driving mode is not explicitly regulated under Slovenian law.
General rules of liability for damages caused by a moving vehicle distinguish between strict liability and culpable liability of a vehicle user. Further, if damages occur due to a fault in a vehicle, the strict liability of the vehicle manufacturer can apply.

Strict liability of a vehicle user: A moving vehicle is under settled Slovenian case law considered dangerous object. Slovenian Obligations Code (Obligacijski zakonik – OZ) provides for a strict liability of the holder of a dangerous object. The user of a moving vehicle will thus be liable for any damages therefrom, unless the vehicle was (i) removed unlawfully from the user without him being responsible for the removal, (ii) entrusted to another person by the user. In these cases, the person that took the vehicle from the user or was entrusted with the use of the vehicle shall be liable instead of the user. 

The exemption of the strict liability applies if the user can prove that (i) the damage originated from any cause outside the vehicle whose effect could not be foreseen, avoided, or averted, and (ii) the damage occurred exclusively because of action by the injured party or a third person that could not be foreseen and the consequences of which could not avoided or eliminated. 

Culpable liability of a vehicle user: The rules on culpable liability of a vehicle user apply in case of damages caused by an accident involving at least two moving vehicles where damage was caused mutually. If the accident was caused by the sole fault (intentionally or out of negligence) of one vehicle user involved in the accident, the respective user is entirely liable for the damage incurred. If the fault is mutual the users shall each be liable for all the damage incurred thereby, in proportion to each user’s level of fault. If nobody is at fault the users shall be liable for equal shares unless justice demands otherwise. 

The strict liability of each vehicle user involved in an accident does not cease. Moreover, if two or more vehicle users involved in an accident are partly or fully liable for damage suffered by third parties, their liability shall be joint and several.

Strict liability of the manufacturer: The manufacturer of an object, that entails a risk of damage to people or property for reason of any type of defect in the object, shall be liable for damage caused by such defect. According to the settled case law, legally relevant are only defects in design, factory defects, scientific and technical development defects, and industrial defects. Therefore, any defects in the software of the AV’s or other autonomous driving systems would likely lead to sole liability of the manufacturer. 

4. Are there any specific mandatory insurance requirements for AVs?

In Slovenia, insurance is mandatory for any car being used in traffic. There are no additional insurance requirements for AVs.

However, it is envisaged with the proposed amendment to the Road Traffic Rules Act (Zakon o pravilih cestnega prometa – ZPrCP), prepared by the Ministry of Infrastructure of the Republic of Slovenia, that the manufacturer of an AV or autonomous driving system will must have concluded a liability insurance for damages caused to third parties by the use of an autonomous vehicle. The insurance must also cover the period of autonomous vehicles being tested. The driver of an autonomous vehicle must have the insurance policy or other certificate of insurance with him in the vehicle.

The respective amendment is currently in the legislative procedure but on hold due to the COVID-19 epidemic.

5. Is there general liability based on warranty claims against the manufacturer for AVs?

In Slovenia, warranty claims can be made towards both the seller and the manufacturer of the vehicle. 

Under the warranty certificate, the manufacturer of a vehicle guarantees for flawless functioning of the vehicle in a certain period, counted from delivery to the buyer. In case of malfunctioning of the vehicle, the buyer may demand from either the seller or the manufacturer to repair or replace the vehicle free of charge, or reimburse the price paid. 

Under warranty it is not possible to claim damages caused by the defect existing at the point in time before the vehicle was delivered to the buyer. Thus, the manufacturer will rather be subject to strict liability under the applicable rules of Obligations Code.

Portrait of Tamara Žajdela
Tamara Žajdela
Associate
Ljubljana
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Dunja Jandl
Partner
Ljubljana