Self-driving cars (also known as autonomous vehicles) may be on Florida’s roads in the near future if Florida Representative Jason Fischer’s bill gets through the Florida legislature. This week, his bill allowing self-driving vehicles to be operated in Florida without a human backup was approved by a House committee and is on its way to the House’s floor. The Senate companion bill, carried by Senator Jeff Brandes, will be heard in committee Thursday afternoon.
According to the Insurance Journal, Rep. Jason Fischer wants Florida to be ahead of other states in allowing the self-driving cars on state highways as the technology continues to develop. The bill updates a current law allowing self-driving vehicles if there’s a person in the car as a backup.
“Technology is advancing at a rapid pace, and Florida has a unique opportunity to be at the forefront of autonomous vehicle policy. Autonomous technology has the capability to eliminate human error on our roadways, making everyday modes of transportation drastically safer for Floridians,” Fischer said when he filed the bill.
His colleagues on the other side of the aisle seem to agree. Rep. Wengay Newton says “We used to have horses and buggies and when you went to tie the horse up to try to make sure you could get to market, sometimes the horse would kick you in the head, but we moved through that,” Newton said. “Do we go back to horses and buggies so everybody is safe and get kicked in the head, or do we embrace the technology and move forward?”
Although Florida law does not require bodily injury insurance in most cases, the bill does state that the following automobile insurance requirements apply to a fully self-driving car (autonomous vehicle) with the automated driving system engaged in an on-demand autonomous vehicle network:
1. A primary automobile liability coverage of at least $1 million for death, bodily injury, and property damage; and
2. Personal injury protection benefits that meet the minimum coverage amounts required of a limousine under ss. 191 627.730-627.7405.
I don’t know about you, but personally, I don’t think I am prepared to see self-driving cars on Florida’s roads. I appreciate the fact that cars driving my humans cause car accidents, but I am not convinced that self-driving cars are safer.
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