Are Driverless Cars Legal in Florida?

Concept image of a person operating a driverless vehicle

With the rise of driverless cars comes a lot of uncertainty. You may ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are driverless cars safe?
  • Are autonomous cars legal?
  • What happens if I’m in an accident with a driverless car?

Learn details about the safety of driverless cars here. To learn more about the liability of driverless vehicles as well as benefits and drawbacks, click here.

As far as the legality of autonomous cars, read on to learn more.

The Legality of Driverless Cars in Florida

Under the 2020 Florida Statue § 316.85, “a licensed human operator is not required to operate a fully autonomous vehicle,” and “a fully autonomous vehicle may operate in this state regardless of whether a human operator is physically present in the vehicle.”

In sum, yes, driverless cars are completely legal in the state of Florida.

Autonomous vehicles are still required to follow all traffic laws and they must also be insured.

Levels of Automation

Driverless cars today are governed under levels of automation set forth by the U.S. Department of Transportation in order to determine how much human involvement is needed. Level 0 is no automation at all and Level 5 is fully autonomous.

Tesla’s autopilot is rated at a Level 2, which translates to both steering and throttle control, but the vehicles are not able to make decisions such as passing a slow car, like Level 3. Level 4 vehicles are able to completely self-drive, but they also provide options for manual override. Level 5 vehicles have no option for manual override and do not yet exist. Experts believe we are at least 10 years away from Level 5 automation.

Driverless Car Insurance

Historically, car insurance has followed the driver, no matter what vehicle they’re driving. However, autonomous cars have completely disrupted that archetype.

Driverless cars rated from Level 2 to 4 still require an element of human oversight, which means accidents can be ascribed as human error. The driver will still be held responsible since they have a duty to pay attention to the road.

If you’ve been injured as a result of another’s negligence in a self-driving car accident or any other type of vehicle, you may be owed compensation. Let our team see if we can help you recover it.

Call Shapiro Law Firm, P.A. today at (850) 629-7226 for a free consultation.

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