Digital driver license bill passes Senate committee

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Florida driver’s licenses could soon be as close as a smartphone.

Senate Bill 1272, filed by Transportation chair Sen. Jeff Brandes, passed unanimously Thursday by the Senate Committee on Transportation.

If enacted, it would make Florida the first state in the nation to implement a digital driver license program. It also requires the licenses issued in a design that allow law enforcement to verify the authenticity of the digital proof.

Transportation technology has long been a priority for Brandes, who sponsored legislation in 2011 that made the Sunshine State only the second state in the country to study autonomous vehicle technology on Florida roadways.

 “Florida is considered a leader in transportation innovation,” the St. Petersburg Republican said in a statement. “This legislation builds upon technological improvements in the private sector and gets Florida on a bold course for transportation reform. I am excited to work with my colleagues to move this legislation forward.”

Among other provisions, SB 1272 will develop autonomous vehicle testing in Florida, embracing the technology reported by the Wall Street Journal as developing faster than expected.

Designed to improve driver safety, one part of the initiative also promotes the use of monitoring equipment capable of providing driver feedback and course routing information while operating the motor vehicle.

The bill also seeks to streamline government transit operations, as well as strengthen Florida’s public-private partnership agreements for transportation projects.

The bill has two more committee stops before it goes before full Senate.

 Current language of Senate Bill 1272 is available online.



Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.