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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 Departments 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.
I think it is just Florida. We are members of Florida Homes and Travel as we own property out there and they did mention possible changes a few months ago but seemed sure that rental cars were excluded. They've just updated to say not which is a real shock. I'm trying to warn as many as possible.
I have a picture in my mind of bored Highway patrol men sitting up on the main roads outside the airports waiting for holiday makers. It is so easy to tell which are rental cars so easy pickings for malicious police officers! This apparently came in on 1st January but so many people don't know as they've not really advertised it. Am wondering if when people arrive to pick up their cars they are told they can't hire them as they don't have IDP. I mean, how many of us actually have them? I've been going to Florida regularly for over 20 years and have never had one.
Urgent Changes to Licence Requirements for Florida
We have now had definitive clarification from the Deputy Communications Director of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and the situation is clear and quoted directly below:
"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 customers 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 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.
What will happen to British drivers who drive without an IDP?
Without an IDP, a driver is therefore driving without a valid license and if stopped, law enforcement has the option of 1/ arresting the driver and taking him/her to jail 2/ giving the driver a citation with a mandatory court appearance."
You can apply for an International Driving Permit in person from the Post Office - please follow this link to find your nearest branch that will issue the IDP (not all branches do): The Post Office The cost from the Post Office is only £5.50, the IDP lasts for 12 months and the start date can be delayed by up to 3 months.
Please let anyone who is going to Florida soon know about this recent change in the law and keep bumped. Thanks