By on June 13, 2019

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed CS/HB 311: Autonomous Vehicles into law on Thursday, claiming the state has effectively removed “unnecessary obstacles that hinder the development of autonomous vehicle technology,” including human safety operators.

Provided that a vehicle meets all insurance requirements, Florida will no longer require AVs to operate with a flesh-and-blood person behind the wheel. However, those that do remain in the driver’s seat, will also be exempt from the state’s distracted driving laws.

“Signing this legislation paves the way for Florida to continue as a national leader in transportation innovation and technological advancement,” said Governor DeSantis in a statement. “I would like to thank the bill sponsors, Senator Jeff Brandes and Representative Jason Fischer, for their work in making Florida the most autonomous vehicle-friendly state in the country.”

The bill signing took place at the new SunTrax facility in Polk County, Florida, a site devoted to the research and development of the latest transportation technologies. DeSantis and company claimed that the bill, along with SunTrax’s research, would help ensure the state can lead the charge in terms of autonomous research for the foreseeable future.

“I applaud the Governor for his continued commitment to invest in emerging transportation technologies,” said Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Kevin Thibault. “Autonomous vehicles are the way of the future and Florida is leading the charge through the research, testing and development of autonomous vehicles. And now with this bill signed into law by Governor DeSantis, Florida is ready to lead the nation with this innovative transportation advancement.”

Florida’s role as a no-fault insurance state could help make the process of insuring AVs a little easier, but the rules and liability issues surrounding self-driving cars are still pretty foggy. Insurers don’t have a concrete plan in place for autonomous vehicles; they’re examining the issue while federal and state governments do the same. However, with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety anticipating 3.5 million self-driving vehicles on U.S. roads by 2025, time is of the essence.

[Image: Florida Governor’s Press Office]

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20 Comments on “Florida Governor Signs Bill Allowing AVs Without Human Safety Drivers...”


  • avatar
    FreedMike

    And, thus, we witness the birth of a whole new universe of Florida memes.

    Instead of “Florida man attempts coitus with a Chipotle burrito while singing ‘The Way You Look Tonight,\'” we’ll now have “Florida car rams a Redbox, claims it’s to revenge Blockbuster Video”

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “I would like to thank the bill sponsors, Senator Jeff Brandes and Representative Jason Fischer, for their work in making Florida the most autonomous vehicle-friendly state in the country.”

    Words he will live to regret.

    This bill is somewhat moot, since driverless cars would have to satisfy the SAE Level 5 definition. No mfr can do that yet, and I’d like to meet the mfr’s legal team that signs off on that qualification.

  • avatar
    Detroit-X

    Florida Man dies when an autonomous vehicle __________

  • avatar
    dwford

    Will the autonomous cars be any worse than all the old timers still trying to drive?

  • avatar
    Fred

    Hack an autonomous car and use it deliver drugs.

  • avatar

    Unsafe at Any Speed. go to HeIL DeSantis you flake.

  • avatar

    I am laughing reading all these comments made by humans. Yes you are loosing fight. In few more years you will not be allowed behind the steering wheel of your car, of any car, because there will not be one – you are too dangerous to allow it. Just ask Jim Hackett he knows.

  • avatar
    civicjohn

    “However, those that do remain in the driver’s seat, will also be exempt from the state’s distracted driving laws.”

    So I guess this means that if you’re hammered, as long as you have engaged your autonomous driving app, you are good to go? Shameless pandering to try and get some from the left to support him in his re-election campaign, and bring in some cash for “research” while unleashing unproven technology for the wonderful folks who are already challenged behind the wheel of their car (I would say Buick but then I’d be generalizing).

  • avatar

    There is always one State that will do something stupid like allowing driverless cars or unlimited interest rates on credit cards or anonymous LLC.

    Sitting at the Publix with a lawn chair and cooler is great entertainment. The young are worse than the old.

    Somone got greased

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      Even more entertaining is your local boat ramp. The bro-dozer towing two jetskis club is always good for a laugh. Along with the clown-car 20 family member off load pontoon boat which always forgets grandma or the dog back onshore. Or the 8AM but already drunk skipper of the triple 400 HP outboard center console with the music cranked up to 11. At least there are some cute girls in bikinis running around between the action like card girls on fight night.

  • avatar

    All this really does not matter in the long run since autonomous vehicles will never see the light of day as a main stream technology. Let those who are jumping on the autonomous band wagon get the hype out of their system. I just hope not too many die in pursuit of this dead-end technology. I don’t mind automation taking over when a driver falls asleep or is facing a medical crisis. This technology could be useful in those rare emergencies. However, a fully autonomous car just is not in the cards. If you went into a showroom and saw a vehicle without a steering wheel wouldn’t that make you just a bit nervous.

    • 0 avatar
      Chocolatedeath

      The problem with what you’re saying about going to the showroom is the fact that if I am going to a showroom and all they have are vehicles with no steering wheels then really I’m not driving so therefore I don’t actually need a choice. at this point to me is like picking out very expensive socks, they serve a purpose for aesthetics but you don’t really get any pleasure out of them.

  • avatar
    Mike Beranek

    Thank God I live in the north and won’t have to worry about these things for a very long time. A reason to love snow?

    • 0 avatar
      Tele Vision

      Agreed from an Albertan. These articles about autonomous vehicles crack me up. I’ve had to punch through 18″ snow drifts on my way to work; dodge deer and elk and even a moose; and climb back up onto the road after some idiot, who was too scared to move over, ran me off into the ditch at 40 MPH. Let’s see a Google blobcar do any of that.


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