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 The part which is important for UK drivers is:
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.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.
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.