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Wendy
11-02-2013, 08:53 PM
A friend has alerted me to the fact that an International Driving Permit (IDP) is now required when driving in Florida.

It seems that in 2012 there was an amendment to statute which states that from the 1st January 2013 anyone wishing to legally drive any vehicle in Florida without a Florida Driving Licence will have to have an IDP alongside their valid Driving Licence.

There has been communication with the Deputy Communications Director of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, the answer was pretty clear - you DO need one or run the risk of arrest if you are pulled over!

Here is a copy of the communication:

Customers that wish to drive in Florida without obtaining a Florida driver license will be required to have an International Driving Permit to accompany their out-of-country license. This applies to any vehicle, including rental vehicles. The International Driving Permit must be in the customer's name and from their country of residence.

This is the information from the Florida Statutes:

322.04(c)(1)Persons exempt from obtaining driver license-

(c) A nonresident who is at least 16 years of age operating a motor vehicle of the type for which a Class E driver license is required in this state if the nonresident has in his or her immediate possession:

(2) An International Driving Permit issued in his or her name in his or her country of residence and a valid license issued in that country. When did the law change, and why? January 1, 2013. The purpose of the permit is for the English translation. Obviously, a license issued in the UK is already written in English, so the permit is admittedly a little redundant but that is technically the law at this point.

This information has also been posted today on the Florida Highways Website (https://ffdhsmv.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/118/kw/international%20drivers%20permit) The part which is important for UK drivers is:



If you reside out of country and will be visiting Florida, as of January 1, 2013 a nonresident must have in their possession an International Driving Permit (IDP) issued by their country of residence and a valid license from that country. The IDP serves to translate the information from your existing license into English prior to visiting Florida. Again, this permit is only to be shown in conjunction with a valid driver license issued from your country, not as a substitute. You will need to contact the authorities in your country who issued your driver's license, or the motoring association there, to find out how to obtain an IDP.

If you will need to rent a car while visiting in Florida, you may need to show both your driver license and an IDP. We suggest you contact the rental company in advance to find out more regarding their policy.


So what does this mean for visitors from the UK, basically if you drive without an IDP, you are driving without a valid license and if stopped, law enforcement has the option of being arresting and taken to jail or being given a citation with a mandatory court appearance.

You can obtain an IDP by taking a signed photo, and the required ID, along to a designated Post Office and fill out the form and pay £5.50. You will be issued with your permit which will be valid for 12 months.

I have also emailed the Department of Highways for further clarification and I will post a copy of his reply when I receive it.

keith
11-02-2013, 09:03 PM
Re: International Driving Permit Required for Florida

Thanks Wendy!

There are people saying this is incorrect and a misunderstanding of the legislation but whether or not, given the potential consequences for insurance (who ALWAYS try and get out of paying anyway) etc., it seems prudent to advise all UK drivers who plan on driving over there to grab an IDP. For £5.50 it seems reckless not to

Wendy
11-02-2013, 09:16 PM
Re: International Driving Permit Required for Florida

I know, misunderstanding or not, I'll be getting one each for us, £11 is worth it for piece of mind.

Completely different, but I also found out through reading through different things, that if you don't have a photo driving licence you have to carry your passport with you when you are driving. If you get stopped, you will need to provide id as well as your licence.

I have an old paper one and have been refusing to update it to a photo one, maybe I need to think again, or I could just use it as an excuse not to drive :)

Mari
11-02-2013, 09:25 PM
Re: International Driving Permit Required for Florida

wow!

I have absolutly no idea where we would have to go for an international driving permit here

keith
11-02-2013, 09:28 PM
Re: International Driving Permit Required for Florida



Completely different, but I also found out through reading through different things, that if you don't have a photo driving licence you have to carry your passport with you when you are driving. If you get stopped, you will need to provide id as well as your licence.

Now this one I did know :yes: and that's absolutely true


I have an old paper one and have been refusing to update it to a photo one, maybe I need to think again, or I could just use it as an excuse not to drive :)

I was the same Wen, especially since the photo id only lasts 10 yrs and need to remember to update it etc :/ but yeah, it's free and easy online.

As with all these things, IDP etc, some car rental companies wont care, some police wont care, some insurance companies wont bother but if you happen to hit the ones that do GULP

Johnie
11-02-2013, 10:12 PM
International Driving Permit Required for Florida

I'm not sure how the rest of the US is but in Virginia it is mandatory that all adults have a valid photo ID. You can be fined or jailed for not having it on you. driving without a valid license is also a big deal.

Personally, I would get the ID. I'm asked for ID a lot when buying alcohol, getting into bars, sometimes when using my credit card. It seems much safer than carrying your passport around.

Lisa1976
12-02-2013, 06:49 AM
International Driving Permit Required for Florida

Hmm, this wasn't mentioned at all when we picked up our car from Dollar a few weeks ago, will have to look into it for next time we go.

Wendy
12-02-2013, 07:41 AM
International Driving Permit Required for Florida

This is what is worrying Lisa, the rental companies won't care, all they need to see is a valid driving licence.

Hopefully I will get a reply to my email today.

keith
12-02-2013, 09:05 AM
Re: International Driving Permit Required for Florida


Hmm, this wasn't mentioned at all when we picked up our car from Dollar a few weeks ago, will have to look into it for next time we go.

It's something new as of Jan and I think it's pretty much an unintentional consequence of some wording in some updated legislation :/ However, that doesn't mean it's not "the letter of the law" at the moment. Whether it gets fixed/clarified later on is up for debate.

Of course Wendy's also right, the rental companies won't care until they're told to and then I'd imagine they'd tell you and check at rental time.

In the MEANTIME, people could be left with insurance problems and/or police problems if involved in any incidents.

For a few quid it seems irresponsible to advise against getting one, at least until and if the offending section of legislation, and advice from the authorities, changes.

Lisa1976
12-02-2013, 10:03 AM
International Driving Permit Required for Florida

Blimey so glad I've seen this for future trips. Like you say for the sake of £5.50 it's worth it for peace of mind :)

Mags
12-02-2013, 01:55 PM
Re: International Driving Permit Required for Florida

A Facebook friend of mine has been following this very carefully and is flying out to Orlando tomorrow. She is in touch with Simon Calder, the travel journalist, who is now on the case. He is writing something up for this weekend's Independent and intends to broadcast on it too. Once she has reached Orlando she is to ring Simon and let him know how the car rental firms are dealing with this, so watch this space.....:-)

Mags

Wendy
12-02-2013, 02:20 PM
Re: International Driving Permit Required for Florida

Thanks Mags.

Wendy
12-02-2013, 03:26 PM
Re: International Driving Permit Required for Florida

Well, it would seem that it is indeed true, you must now have an IDP when visiting Florida, I have received a response to my email which I have posted below.


Dear Wendy,

Thanks for your question. As of January 1, 2013, per Florida Statute 322.04(c)(2), person(s) that wish to drive in Florida without obtaining a Florida driver license are required to have an International Driving Permit to accompany their out-of-country license. This applies to any vehicle, including rental vehicles. The International Driving Permit must be in the person’s name and from their country of residence. You will need to contact the authorities in your country who issued your driver’s license, or the motoring association there, to find out how to obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP).


Customer Service Center
Correspondence/Email Unit
Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles
www.flhsmv.gov


I will get a thread together with regard to applying for an IDP and post it later today.

Mags
12-02-2013, 03:35 PM
Re: International Driving Permit Required for Florida

Thanks for that Wendy. What a palaver the whole thing has been.

Mags

Wendy
12-02-2013, 03:43 PM
Re: International Driving Permit Required for Florida

I know, hopefully there will be some information in the press otherwise people who don't go onto forums won't know anything about it.

Our friends are going over in July for 3 weeks and they don't come online so they wouldn't have known.

It doesn't bear thinking about does it, being stopped by a state trooper and then being arrested because you are driving illegally. It would certainly put a damper on the holiday.

It is something that they are enforcing, but they won't get any revenue for it as you have to apply for the IDP in your own Country.

Slowhand
12-02-2013, 04:00 PM
WOW, I`m glad I came across this thread. [I knew nowt about it!]
Thanks for the tip off Wendy. :thumbsup:

Wendy
12-02-2013, 05:12 PM
I was going to pm you about it Terry when I got home from physio.

Britchick
12-02-2013, 05:36 PM
This has really irked me, what is the point? they can see everything they need to see from our driving licences, if it was in a different language i would fully support it. We had an issue when we moved to South Carolina where they wouldn't give me a driving licence and i was basically not able to drive until someone at state level intervened and found another condition that allowed me to drive in the US for however long i was there for without getting a US licence. There may be something in the florida law that allows this too. The esta charge now this...i know it's peanuts compared to the cost of the holiday but Grrrr. :sorry:

Mags
12-02-2013, 09:16 PM
Just an update on the situation with two rental firms. Car on the Drive now say that they require an IDP as part of their contract with the driver. Alamo have also confirmed on an Orlando based FB group that an IDP is now required. The AA is also updating their information in the next few days.

Mags

keith
12-02-2013, 09:41 PM
Just an update on the situation with two rental firms. Car on the Drive now say that they require an IDP as part of their contract with the driver. Alamo have also confirmed on an Orlando based FB group that an IDP is now required. The AA is also updating their information in the next few days.

Mags

Thanks Mags that's excellent information, really appreciate you posting :yes:

Johnie
13-02-2013, 02:15 AM
If y'all would like a personal driver whilst in Florida, I would be glad to oblige :-) justly me tag along lol

robertcraig
13-02-2013, 11:35 AM
Thanks WENDY for the info just another good reason to be a member of SECRETS

welshjim22
13-02-2013, 10:39 PM
Well i hope Alamo at Orlando are honouring rental agreements without IDP's in the short term as rental companies haven't given advanced warning. USrentacar only told late this evening.

Not quite sure how far the police could take the fact you don't have a document translating your English driving licence into (pause for effect) English. One of those things you could imagine a British judge making an example of the copper. But who knows in the US. The whole thing is farcical.

keith
13-02-2013, 11:22 PM
Well i hope Alamo at Orlando are honouring rental agreements without IDP's in the short term as rental companies haven't given advanced warning. USrentacar only told late this evening.

Not quite sure how far the police could take the fact you don't have a document translating your English driving licence into (pause for effect) English. One of those things you could imagine a British judge making an example of the copper. But who knows in the US. The whole thing is farcical.

It's crazy but unfortunately it's not gonna help when you're at the side of the interstate arguing with a trooper who just wants to see the IDP and knows it's the law. It's pretty clear that the offence would be driving without a full and proper license and that in itself is no small thing :(

In terms of the car rental companies, until they're TOLD they HAVE TO see an IDP before renting the vehicle, they'll simply let people drive without one but that wont be a defence if we get pulled over.

Completely crazy but for the cost of a document from the post office, I know what I'm gonna do.

Mags
14-02-2013, 01:42 PM
Lots happening now and many car rental firms as well as holiday firms are currently updating their information. Virgin Holidays have updated (this morning) their incorrect advice given yesterday. Thomson say they are still revising it. ABTA have now released an advisory. Simon Calder's article has appeared in the Independent this morning and an interview with Lisa's husband is contained in the article if anyone would like to look at it. She has worked so hard to bring this to the fore and went armed with her IDP. It looks like car rental firms arent asking for the IDPs but there is no doubt now, it is the law.

Mags

Wendy
14-02-2013, 01:46 PM
Thank you so very much Mags for the information and updates, it's really appreciated.

Wendy
14-02-2013, 02:12 PM
You can read the article in the Independant here (http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/thousands-of-british-holidaymakers-heading-for-halfterm-holidays-in-florida-face-arrest-after-sudden-law-change-8494813.html)

welshjim22
14-02-2013, 03:45 PM
Had this reply today from the Florida Department of Highway Safety:

Questions have recently surfaced aboutrequirements for international visitors to Florida. Effective January 1, 2013,section 322.04, Florida Statutes was amended to require foreign visitors whodrive in Florida to obtain an International Driving Permit in addition to theirvalid home country driver license. “The intent of the change in Florida lawregarding the International Driving Permit was to aid law enforcement inFlorida when interacting with drivers holding a license in a foreign language.The Department of Highway Safety will seek to clarify the law in the upcomingLegislative session, which begins next month, to make it clear that a licensealready written in English would be acceptable. Until the law is clarified,drivers should obtain an IDP,” said Kirsten Olsen-Doolan, Florida Department ofHighway Safety and Motor Vehicles spokesperson.

With luck common sense will prevail and a translation of English to English will no longer be required. Or maybe it is a translation of English to American?

Wendy
14-02-2013, 10:11 PM
It would seem that this has hit the news in Canada as well and the Canadians are not happy at all as there will no doubt be Canadians or Snow Birds as they are referred to, in Florida at the moment.

The Florida Highways Site has released a Statement that says that prosections are suspended, the statement said:


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 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. 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.

More information will be available as soon as we know more. In the meantime, if anyone is visiting in the next few months, it might still be prudent to get an IDP just for peace of mind until a decision has been made.

keith
15-02-2013, 02:58 AM
jeez! what a mess :lol:

Slowhand
15-02-2013, 05:13 PM
jeez! what a mess :lol:
Yep, the words "restrooms" and "breweries" spring to mind. :lol:

Wendy
15-02-2013, 05:22 PM
Yep, the words "restrooms" and "breweries" spring to mind. :lol:

:lol:

Mags
15-02-2013, 05:45 PM
It is like a comedy show. Here is the latest folks! Posted two hours ago in the Toronto Sun. You couldnt make it up. :lol: It looks like it is all over. :-)

Florida has suspended its new law that required non-U.S. residents to get an international driving permit to legally drive in the state.

The Florida Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles said Thursday afternoon it has suspended the new law pending further study as it may violate the Geneva Convention of Road Traffic.

"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," a statement released Thursday afternoon said.

The new law, effective Jan. 1, had required Canadian and other visitors to get an international driving permit in addition to their regular driver's licence to rent cars and drive their own vehicles there.


Mags

Suebeattie
19-02-2013, 09:11 AM
Sorry if I'm being a bit thick :surrender:

Do we need to get a IDP? I'm a little confused.

:wiggle:

keith
19-02-2013, 09:43 AM
Sorry if I'm being a bit thick :surrender:

Do we need to get a IDP? I'm a little confused.

:wiggle:

Well everyone is working towards not needing one if youre from a country which already issues licenses in English and they've said they're not going to take action against anyone who doesn't have one (for now). The most likely outcome is that they'll change the legislation to clarify that an IDP won't be needed.

However for £5.50 and 5mins at a post office I'm going to get one anyway

Mags
19-02-2013, 10:54 AM
The alert to what was happening initially came from the Tripwheels site and they have been working incredibly hard on the case to keep everyone updated. This is the latest series of updates from them. Insurance seems to be the only issue people are worried about.

Further to the announcement yesterday on the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles website we just wanted to draw together the updates into one post for easy reading. The FDHSMV post is below:

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 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. 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.
Whilst this statement made it clear that no tourists were going to be arrested or receive a citation for not carrying an IDP, the law is still (at present) in the statutes, so our next job has been to clarify the issue with regard to insurance. We were pleased to receive the following statement from Alamo today:

The car rental contract is with Alamo or National and the rental agreement is the customers certificate of insurance. If the customer chooses not to purchase the IDP this will not invalidate the insurance or customers liability.
We do prefer to deal with facts and traceable accountability than supposition, so we are hesitant to extend Alamo’s statement to all car hire suppliers, however, a Hertz employee has now replied on Facebook to a question posed about insurance coverage that:

The insurance coverage will remain the same
So far so good!

We are still awaiting a statement from the Association of British Insurers concerning the validity of British tourists travel insurance at the moment, but hopefully this whole nightmare is nearly put to bed. Now we just need the Florida Legislature to sort the mess out in March and get whatever bill is required passed!

Update: 16/02/13

An article in the Orlando Sentinel today has revealed that the law was an ‘unintended consequence’:

The requirement that international visitors have the added permit in addition to a driver’s license from their home country was part of a 105-page piece of legislation, introduced last year by state Rep. Ben Albritton, R-Wauchula, that dealt with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Albritton said the disruption caused by the requirement was “clearly an unintended consequence,” and he was working to address the issue during the Florida Legislature’s upcoming session.
Another article on the Mail Online website refers to the concerns of the AA as to the issue of insurance:

“The unknown is what might happen if a UK driver without an IDP is involved in a crash because lawyers will point out that the law has been infringed regardless of whether enforcement has been deferred or not.”
And Rosie Sanderson, head of the AA’s International Motoring Services team, pointed out that although the legislation will not yet be enforced, drivers are still legally required to carry the permit.
This is the current statement from the website of the AA:

UPDATE 15 February 2013
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has since released a Statement from DHSMV on International Driving Permits. This says that the Florida law will not be enforced until a final determination regarding the Geneva Convention on Road Traffic can be made. Although the DHSMV states the law will not be enforced, theoretically this law still exists.
Consequently, the AA strongly advises that you should obtain an IDP if you intend to drive in Florida until the possible repeal of the law in March.

Mags

Wendy
19-02-2013, 11:09 AM
Thank you for the update Mags :hug2:

I don't know about anyone else, but if I was going before a final decision has been made I would pay the £5.50 for an IDP.

I know theoretically they say it is deferred, but for my own personal piece of mind I would rather have one.

Slowhand
19-02-2013, 02:30 PM
I don't know about anyone else, but if I was going before a final decision has been made I would pay the £5.50 for an IDP.



Same here.
It would be just my luck for them to change the law when we are there and then we find out that we need one.

keith
19-02-2013, 03:20 PM
or for insurance claims to be turned down with a "well they may have suspended prosecutions but you were still driving without all the documents you needed"

shudder

Slowhand
19-02-2013, 03:27 PM
or for insurance claims to be turned down with a "well they may have suspended prosecutions but you were still driving without all the documents you needed"

shudder
Yeah, it doesn`t bear thinking about for the sake of spending £5.50 or so for peace of mind. :yes:

Suebeattie
19-02-2013, 09:59 PM
Hopefully they clarify and sort out the legislation before we go in october. If not I will probably just swallow the cost just for peace of mind :rolleyes:

:wiggle:

Wendy
19-02-2013, 10:05 PM
Hopefully they clarify and sort out the legislation before we go in october. If not I will probably just swallow the cost just for peace of mind :rolleyes:

:wiggle:

I completely agree with you Sue :yes:

welshjim22
20-02-2013, 09:46 AM
Well i won't be bothering until it's sorted. It should be noted not all Post Offices issues these IDP's. It amazes me that we actually issue an IDP in the Uk translating English into English. bearing in mind that is it's sole job.

robertcraig
02-03-2013, 11:21 PM
I HAVE JUST BOOKED MY CAR HIRE FROM DOLLAR AND THEY REQUEST AN INTERNATIONAL DRIVING LISCENCE

Wendy
03-03-2013, 09:00 AM
Thank you so much for this Robert, that's really useful information.

Isafari
03-03-2013, 10:18 AM
I HAVE JUST BOOKED MY CAR HIRE FROM DOLLAR AND THEY REQUEST AN INTERNATIONAL DRIVING LISCENCE

Thanks Robert - I was actually going to look into booking our car hire today (we use Dollar)

welshjim22
03-03-2013, 10:54 AM
To be clear did they say licence or permit they are NOT the same thing?

not to mention doesn't this break the same international law Geneva Convention on Road Traffic (1949) that forced them to abandon enforcing the new law.

Wendy
03-03-2013, 11:11 AM
To be clear did they say licence or permit they are NOT the same thing?

not to mention doesn't this break the same international law Geneva Convention on Road Traffic (1949) that forced them to abandon enforcing the new law.

The thing is some people will still be happier to get the IDP. The change in law hasn't been abandoned it had been suspended until the next meeting when it be discussed again.

Now I for one would get the IDP if I was going in the next few months. If nothing has been permanently decided in August then I will be getting one then.

Worse case scenario they find a way around the Geneva Convention and it is decided whilst someone is on holiday that it will stand and an IDP is required there will be no use saying "sorry officer but when I arrived I didn't need one" :shrug:

Each to their own I guess but for such a small amount of money I would advise people to get one, until there has been a permanent change back to the way it used to be, I know I will be.

welshjim22
03-03-2013, 11:18 AM
In fact they have made it clear this law is an unintended consequence. I have simply asked did Dollar ask for a international licence or permit they ate different!

Would be a lot easier if it could be got from all post offices.

keith
03-03-2013, 11:25 AM
In fact they have made it clear this law is an unintended consequence. I have simply asked did Dollar ask for a international licence or permit they ate different!

Would be a lot easier if it could be got from all post offices.

It would definitely be easier if it could be got from all post offices, although you can do it via post for a few quid more.

I had a pre-booking with Dollar and just paid the balance, in the final paperwork they mention they'll need to see an IDP at time of rental.

Now, by the time I come to rent, the law may have been changed and everyone told its not needed. Everyone may have got the message that the law was a silly unintended consequence and that prosecutions have been suspended.

Or .... Not ....

It's stupid, silly, a crazy oversight but there's just no way I'm going to take the chance for the few quid it costs. Even if they changed the law a week before I go out, I'll still be taking an IDP with me even if I think it's daft ;-)

Wendy
03-03-2013, 11:49 AM
I would think Robert means Permit, but I am sure he will clarify this at some point.

Actually, according to the AA, an International Driving Licence is not a legally recognised document and if you pay to get one of these from various Comapanies in the internet, you will not be able to use this to meet national requirements to carry an IDP.

In their update of 15 February 2013 they state:

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) has since released a Statement on International Driving Permits. This says that the Florida law will not be enforced until a final determination regarding the Geneva Convention on Road Traffic can be made. Although the DHSMV states the law will not be enforced, theoretically this law still exists.

Consequently, the AA strongly advises that you should obtain an IDP if you intend to drive in Florida before the possible repeal of the law in March.

The UK licence is a licence issued in the UK which can be used throughout Europe, it is not an international one.

Mags
14-03-2013, 09:33 AM
Here is today's good news. Common sense has prevailed and it has been repealed. We can all breathe easily now.

http://www.globalnews.ca/florida+repeals+law+requiring+international+drivin g+permit/6442827944/story.html

Mags

Wendy
14-03-2013, 09:39 AM
Great news, thank Mags :D