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Duval lawmaker files autonomous vehicle legislation in Florida
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Duval lawmaker files autonomous vehicle legislation in Florida

Duval lawmaker files autonomous vehicle legislation in Florida
Photo Credit: For the AJC
An autonomous vehicle demonstration was part of the unveiling in September of the North Avenue Smart Corridor Project. AJC file photo

Duval lawmaker files autonomous vehicle legislation in Florida

You've been hearing the buzz about autonomous vehicles for a while, now lawmakers in Florida are discussing the possibility of making the futuristic form of transportation a reality.

A state representative from Duval County has filed legislation to allow the development and deployment of those autonomous vehicles. 

State Rep. Jason Fischer (R-Jacksonville) says as an engineer by trade, he understands the benefits autonomous vehicles would bring with them. He says if Florida were to ban those types of vehicles, it would stunt the state's potential for growth. 

"Those engineers aren't going to move here. Those planners aren't going to move here. Those are high paying jobs," Fischer says. 

He says he can imagine Jacksonville as a place where football fans will be able to hop on driverless vehicles to take them to Jaguars games at TIAA Bank Field. He says the Skyway, linking one side of the St. Johns River to the other in downtown, is a prime example of something that could be updated if his bill goes through. 

"We have a public transportation component that's already looking to go that way," he says. "My legislation would help enable them to move in that direction." 

Fischer says autonomous vehicles would also be a major help to the blind community. Both AARP Florida and the Florida Council of the Blind have offered their support for the legislation, saying their members will have more mobility opportunities if the bill goes through. 

“For blind people, people living with disabilities and some senior citizens, self-driving cars will mean greater independence,” President of the Florida Council of the Blind Sheila Young says in a statement. 

Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) is sponsoring the companion measure in the Florida Senate. Fischer says he thinks the legislation should make it to the governor's desk within a couple months.

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