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Thread: New Florida Law and International Drivers Permits

  1. #1
    Barracuda
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    New Florida Law and International Drivers Permits

    There has been a lot of articles in the past couple of hours about a new law in Florida that requires non-USA residents to have an International Drivers Permit. The purpose of the law was to have English text available to any police telling them the holder is permitted to drive. It is causing an uproar here in Canada because 9 of the 10 provinces have English on their drivers license already so why is it needed.

    The latest to come out is at HSMV: New Law Impacts International Drivers (under Official Website Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles) .

    My question is: Would this cover all State / County / City / Town / Village Police in the state or is it only the policy at the State level? If some hamlet is short on cash could they put in a blitz to ticket non-residents, regardless of the Florida Highway Patrol policy?

    Statement from DHSMV on International Driving Permits

    During the 2012 legislative session, the Florida Legislature amended section 322.04, Florida Statutes, to require visitors from outside the United States to have an International Driving Permit in order to drive lawfully in Florida. This change took effect Jan. 1, 2013.
    It has come to the Departmentís attention that this requirement may violate the Geneva Convention on Road Traffic (1949), an international treaty to which the United States is a signatory. Treaties to which the United States is a party preempt state laws in conflict with them.
    Therefore, the Florida Highway Patrol will defer enforcement of violations of the amended statutory section until a final determination of the alignment of the amendment with the treaty can be made. Non-resident visitors to Florida who wish to drive while here will be required to have in their immediate possession a valid driver license issued in his or her name from another state or territory of the U.S. or from their country of residence. However, the FHP will not take enforcement action based solely on the lack of an International Driving Permit.
    And on the eighth day, God said, "OK, Murphy, you take over"

  2. #2
    Barracuda
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    Actually this has been around a long time. I have my internatinal DL from Libya from 1970 where I lived at the time. It was iussed by the AAA club of Libya. It is usually iussed by an auto club and basically is a translation of your home DL. In facr youmust carry both with you. I have been an officer for 34 years and have not seen anyone with one. Most officers have never seen one. I show my old one off allthe time. Believe it or not I would need one for Canada if a mountie decided to get picky. Car rental companies may present trouble, who knows.

  3. #3
    Barracuda
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    Yes, the IDP has been around since the '30's. But it has never before been needed within North America for other drivers from North America.

    Anyway, I picked mine up yesterday on the "Better safe than sorry" philosophy. The CAA branch I went to was SWAMPED, many people leaving today or this weekend and also figuring BSTS since the news and directions changed about every 2 hours. Apparently the branch sold over 200 IDPs yesterday - normally they might sell 15 in a month! There is still confusion as to whether or not car rental agencies will / can rent to people who do not have the IDP since, technically, drivers without it are driving without a valid permit.

    I can see this generating some interesting backlash unless it is handled very carefully. The stated intent is to provide police with a driving permit in English. The only jurisdiction in Canada that does not have English on their licenses is the province of Quebec (does Mexico have bilingual drivers licenses?), where the government is rabidly anti-English on anything official or government related. And one of the largest "foreign" populations in Florida is from (you guessed it) Quebec. Blanket exemption for Canada or North America and the police are left trying to read French or Spanish licenses. Exempt only licenses with English on them and Quebec (and Mexico) will scream about discrimination and assimilation. Try and enforce the law as written and Florida becomes (continues as) the laughing stock where the police need to have English translated into English. Stay Tuned!
    And on the eighth day, God said, "OK, Murphy, you take over"

  4. #4
    Shark
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    sounds like a bunch of bull, another revenue generator.

    Sine Timore!

  5. #5
    Shark
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    Just ignore it.

    You'll never get anything done if you obey the law all of the time.

  6. #6
    Grouper
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    We've got owners/snowbirds in our condo building in Islamorada who are Canadian, including at least 1 from Quebec. Haven't heard any concern about this from any of them. Also haven't heard or seen any news stories about it here. Non-issue as far as I can tell...

  7. #7
    Shark
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    I don't think that the law was aimed at Canadians. Imagine being a cop in FL and having to deal with driving licenses in Arabic, or Russian, or Finnish.

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