Florida Self-Driving Vehicle Laws

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Florida Self-Driving Vehicle Laws

For most of us, the fantasy of being so rich we have a limousine driver taking us wherever we want to go is very far from obtainable, unless we hit the lottery. However, with the development of self-driving vehicles, that dream, or something close to it, may not be too far off. There are several auto manufacturers, as well as Google, who are in the process of testing autonomous vehicles.

These vehicles work on the following premise: There is no driver. The vehicle is programmed to get from one location to the other. Passengers are free to do whatever they would like in the vehicle because they are not required to pay any attention at all to what is going on around them. The vehicle takes care of all that.

As with any technology, the question of self-driving vehicles also raises legal questions regarding what laws should or should not apply. Many states have begun examining what these rules should be, including Florida. In fact, Florida addressed regulations for autonomous vehicles back in 2012.

Originally, Florida’s bill addressed only vehicles that were being tested, but last year the law was amended that expanded the 2012 version. The newest version does away with the requirement that a vehicle can only be used for testing purposes. The new version allows any licensed driver to operate a self-driving vehicle.

However, the new law also eliminated the stipulation that a person actually had to be present inside the vehicle. Now, the only requirement is that the person can be alerted and is able to stop the vehicle in the event of an issue.

Florida law does require that all self-driving vehicles meet any and all applicable federal safety regulations and standards. Operators are required to follow all of the current rules of the road as other drivers are.

Florida lawmakers also took a key step in looking to the future and the role self-driving vehicles may play. The updated law also required municipal, county, and state planning organizations to take into consideration self-driving vehicle technology when drawing up future transportation plans.

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