Take it easy. Florida’s legislators are fixing the law that would require you to have an international driver’s license in addition to your provincial one. You will not need it, and law enforcement officers have been told not to enforce the law. The new session of the legislature is about to begin and this is a top priority.
Originally, the intent was to make it easier to allow troopers to have a common license, written in English, that they could read and understand. The effect this would have on the millions of Canadians who visit the state every year has changed their minds very quickly
We have also had many calls from Canadians wondering what effect this law—which is still on the books—even though it is deferred, might have if they have an accident since it might be argued that they were unlicensed drivers at the time of the accident.
On that issue the Florida officials, who do not regulate out-of-state or out-of-country insurance companies, suggest it would be best for drivers of Canadian cars to simply call their insurer and get a clear commitment from them.
We suggest that if you are concerned about this issue, you call your insurer to get this commitment before you spend money on an international driver’s license which will likely be rendered useless in a few days or weeks.
Of course, once the law is changed by the legislature—which might be very soon—that question will be moot.
Following is a press release put out by the State of Florida.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Whether you fly or drive to Florida, visitors can be assured the Sunshine State is doing business as usual. Earlier today, DHSMV released a statement to media around the world that the Florida Highway Patrol will defer enforcement of a law that requires visitors from outside the United States to have an International Driving Permit to drive lawfully in Florida. The statement explained that the law may potentially conflict with an international treaty.
The Department understands the concerns of the international community and is working with its partners to ensure that visitors are not inconvenienced. Visit Florida, AAA, Canada Automobile Association and law enforcement agencies around the state are helping DHSMV get the message out that Florida’s doors and roadways are open as usual to all visitors.
The Department will be working with the Florida Legislature in the coming months to ensure that the law reflects Florida’s rich history of welcoming our friends from around the world to the Sunshine State.
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles provides highway safety and security through excellence in service, education and enforcement. The Department is leading the way to a safer Florida through the efficient and professional execution of its core mission: the issuance of driver licenses, vehicle tags and titles and operation of the Florida Highway Patrol. To learn more about DHSMV and the services offered, visit www.flhsmv.gov, follow us on Twitter at @FDHSMV or find us on Facebook.