The Implications of Florida’s New Autonomous Car Law
Although many of us are still coming to terms with the fact that driverless cars exist, the reality is that these types of cars are already on the road. In fact, Florida’s governor signed a bill into law that opens the door to fully autonomous vehicles in a way that no other state has yet done by permitting autonomous vehicles to operate on Florida roads regardless of whether the car is occupied by a human operator. This law could have important repercussions for who can be held liable for car accidents in Florida, so if you were injured in an accident with an autonomous vehicle, or have questions about how this law could affect your own rights, you should contact an experienced Fort Lauderdale auto accident attorney who can advise you.
Concerns About Florida’s New Law
Florida is not alone in drafting new legislation that addresses the use of autonomous vehicles, or vehicles that have been equipped with computer systems that allow the vehicle to control itself without a driver, as Michigan and Texas have also passed similar laws. Florida lawmakers, went even further than these states, however, by not only allowing fully autonomous, unoccupied vehicles to operate on the road, but also prohibiting cities from passing differing laws.
Critics have expressed concern over the limiting effect this will have on city regulations, as well as the vagueness of the law itself. For instance, the new law has already come under fire for its definitions, which lack specificity. What qualifies as an Automated Driving System, in particular, remains unclear, leaving many detractors concerned about the lack of standards required by the law. Finally, many detractors have pointed out that attempting to enforce traffic laws against vehicles with no drivers could prove to be a logistical nightmare.
Liability for Accidents Involving Autonomous Vehicles
Opponents of the law have also raised concerns about the liability of an autonomous vehicle’s occupants, who many now be exempt from Florida’s traffic laws regarding the use of electronics while driving. Those in favor of the law, on the other hand, argue that the new statute could actually clarify confusion over who is liable in cases where an automated system is being used at the time of a collision. Most, however, seem to anticipate further confusion over liability, as autonomous vehicles are usually made up of a combination of hardware and software provided by not just one, but a variety of manufacturers. As a result, those who find themselves injured in accidents involving autonomous vehicles could be forced to try and identify the specific companies that were responsible for any design or manufacturing defects that caused the vehicle to crash.
Schedule a Free Consultation Today
If you were injured in a car accident with an autonomous or semi-autonomous vehicle, please contact the dedicated car accident attorneys at Boone & Davis to learn more about your legal options. You can reach a member of our team by calling 954-566-9919, or by completing one of our brief online contact forms. Initial consultations are offered free of charge, so please don’t hesitate to call or contact us online today.