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International Driver's Permit now required in Florida Update

Friday, February 15, 2013   by: Kate AdamsCTV News is reporting that the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has backtracked on the law requiring Canadians and other non-U.S. citizens to carry an international driving permit along with thier regular driver's licence.

They report that the DMV will "defer" enforcement of the new law.

In a statement from the Florida DMV they note "It has come to the department’s attention that this requirement may violate the Geneva Convention on Road Traffic (1949), an international treaty to which the United States is a signatory."

CAA is still recommending travellers purchase a permit.

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CAA News Release

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Ottawa - Florida implements new requirement for Canadian drivers

International Driver's Permits now required for Canadians driving in Florida

The Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) advises Canadians that the state of Florida has passed into law a requirement for all non-U.S. residents, including all Canadians, to carry a valid International Driver's Permit (IDP) when driving their own vehicle or a rental vehicle in Florida.

State officials say the law was passed so that Florida law enforcement officials would not be faced with license documents in languages they could not read, but the law captures drivers from all countries, including Canada. The law now requires both a valid license from the home country or province, and an IDP.

CAA has obtained the following official comment from the state of Florida regarding this change:

Effective January 1, 2013, section 322.04, Florida Statutes were amended to require foreign visitors who drive in Florida to obtain an International Driving Permit in addition to their valid home country driver license.

"The intent of the change in Florida law regarding the International Driving Permit was to aid law enforcement in Florida when interacting with drivers holding a license in a foreign language. The Department of Highway Safety will seek to clarify the law in the upcoming Legislative session, which begins next month, to make it clear that a license already written in English would be acceptable. Until the law is clarified, drivers should obtain an IDP," said Kirsten Olsen-Doolan, Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles spokesperson.

International Driving Permits should be obtained before arriving in the U.S. Individuals should contact their home country agency for assistance. For more information, and a list of agencies issuing IDPs, go to DHSMVâ??s International Driving Permit page at http://www.flhsmv.gov/ddl/idp.html.

CAA will be requesting that Florida officials follow through and amend this law. Millions of Canadians have driven in Florida for decades without incidents related to the lack of an international driving permit.

In the meantime, however, CAA believes that given the law as it stands today, Canadians planning on driving in Florida should consider acquiring an International Driver's Permit. An IDP is a special document which allows motorists to drive internationally, when accompanied by a valid driver's license from their country.

CAA is the only organization in Canada authorized to issue an International Driving Permit. For more information on IDPs, visit caaneo.ca/idp.

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