Authorities Refuse to Enforce New International Drivers Permit Law in Florida

The Florida Highway Patrol said the new law, which requires international drivers to obtain a $25 permit to drive in Florida, could violate the Geneva Convention.

Some local law enforcement agencies, including the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office, have announced they are not going to enforce a new state law requiring international drivers to obtain a $25 driving permit to drive in Florida. 

The new law was suppose to go into effect on Jan. 1, but authorities fear the new law violates the Geneva Convention on road traffic.

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles issued a statement Feb. 14 afternoon

"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."

The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office also released a statement Thursday stating it would not enforce the law.

"Until this issue is resolved, deputies will only require that motorists have a valid driver license in their name from their country of residence or territory of the United States," the statement read. 

Do you think the $25 driver permit fee for international drivers in Florida is fair? Join the conversation in the comments section below.

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john doran February 20, 2013 at 04:15 PM
The law is stupid and short-sighted, but not surprising.
John Van Ommen February 20, 2013 at 06:56 PM
They should have given a warning to all snowbirds a long time ago that this change in regards to our drivers license was coming up. We should have had at least a years' notice.
Zigsauered February 20, 2013 at 08:20 PM
They should hang more red light cameras and wield up public rest rooms to generate more money?
BobM February 20, 2013 at 09:06 PM
I can just imagine the queues of angry visitors at the airport hire car desks. Alamo told me they wont release a car to me when I arrive on 1st March 2013 if I dont produce an International Driving Permit!!!!!
Moose John February 20, 2013 at 09:27 PM
Get a permit. It's the law. The Govenor did not waive the law, Department of Motor Vehicles asked police not to make a charge." based solely on the lack of an International Driving Permit" Cost effective think of it at as an additional ammusement entrance fee. Only two of the estimated 400 police angencies have publicly said that it will not be the only reason to stop divers. What about Orlando, Kissime or smaller town that could use the extra income. Pay before you leave or pay the fine when "Jethro" of Hooke Pook FL adds it to your ticket. Your on Holidays do not add to the stress! Better question why is CAA the only supplier of permit? why not ontario licience beaure?
JimR February 21, 2013 at 01:20 AM
What a poor blunder and ill thought out piece of legislation. Canadians spend about $4 billion annually to the state of Florida. The only logical reason for this requirement is to assist the authorities such as the police if presented with a drivers license that is not in english. By imposing this law it posed a great inconvenience and financial burden on over 90% of Canadian visitors to Canada as that is the portion holding a valid driverse license in "english". The base fee for the IDP obtained from the CAA is $25 + admin fee of approx $10 + cost of obtaining passport size photos to go with the application which brings the total to approx $60 - $70. Considering this requirement has to be done on an "annual basis" would cost the average Canadian $350 over a five year period, assuming many of the same Canadians visit Florida annually. Consider that an official Federal Govt issued passport that is valid for the same five year period would cost approximately $100 including the necessary photos. The governor, media, law enforcement, and any others need to get the message out that this law will indeed be repealed and fast and that Canadian's will be excluded from any future attempt at the same legislative objective. I feel that the governor's office should also make it abundantly clear to the car rental companies that the IDP requirement should NOT be enforced, afterall, this is one area that could cause Canadian visitors grief if they were denied a car rental.
J-P Cardinal February 22, 2013 at 08:10 PM
The Ontario License Bureau will not issue IDP since the IDP is only a translation on the official legal drivers license legal in all provinces or states through a reciprocity agreement between Canada and the US. Essantially it as no value unless it is presented along with the official version. Therefore the IDP's sole purpose is to translate an official english language ducument into english ???
J-P Cardinal February 22, 2013 at 08:20 PM
My appologies for the typos; I meant document not ducument and essential not essantial. Bottom line is we regard any visitor from the states as family, this new law was viewed by many as being unwelcomed. Please come and visit Toronto next summer, enjoy the sights and sounds and you'll know what I mean; it's perfectly legal :) Greeting from up North to you all.


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