Florida has become the 30th state to adopt laws and regulations for full autonomous vehicle operation, also known as level 5 autonomy.
On June 13, 2019, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed House Bill 311 to officially allow self-driving cars to operate on Florida roads without humans present. The new law will take effect July 1, 2019.
“This bill really affirms Florida’s commitment to advancing a growing new era in transportation innovation, …. I think that this helps chart a course to a bolder brighter and smarter future in transportation and embraces the innovation revolution that will bring high-paying jobs to the state while making our roads safer.” – Governor DeSantis.
What happens next?
After July 1, autonomous vehicles will be able to operate on all Florida roads. The new law allows autonomous operation without humans present or acting as overseers on all roads, provided the vehicles meet new insurance and safety requirements contained within the bill. The bill also addresses the issue of texting and riding in autonomous vehicles, something that has angered opponents of autonomous transportation.
“The fact of the matter is people are distracted when they drive. So if we get this and it’s right, I think you’re going to have safer roadways, make better use of our existing roads which will alleviate traffic,” – Governor DeSantis.
An exemption is provided for operators inside self-driving cars from laws that ban texting while driving and other distracting activities.
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