Driverless cars can operate in Florida without a human backup, starting July 1

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law Thursday one of the country’s most progressive autonomous vehicle bills, paving the way for self-driving vehicles – without a human inside – to operate on Florida roads.

Until now, state law has required a person to be inside an autonomous vehicle, acting as a backup in the case of a malfunction. That will change on July 1.

The legislation is aimed at opening up Florida to more testing and use of driverless cars. The state is already home to testing sites like SunTrax in Auburndale, which is where the bill-signing took place.

DeSantis explained why he believes driverless cars will make roads safer.

“The fact of the matter is people are distracted when they drive. So if we get this and it’s right, I think you’re going to have safer roadways, make better use of our existing roads which will alleviate traffic,” the governor said.