By Sarah Klein
Having a Canadian-issued driver’s licence won’t be enough to satisfy authorities in Florida if you plan on getting behind the wheel.
New legislation, which quieted went into effect January 1, now requires all non-U.S. residents to carry a valid International Driver’s Permit (IDP) when driving in the state. The permit applies to a visitor’s own vehicle or a rental.
The law was passed so Florida law enforcement officials wouldn’t have to deal with licences in different languages. The law now requires both a valid licence from the home country or province, and an IDP.
The Canadian Automobile Association says it will be requesting that Florida officials amend the law to exclude Canadians. The earliest any changes could be made would be July 1.
Travellers can obtain an IDP through CAA for $25. However, as of Thursday, a local CAA office in Winnipeg couldn’t provide details on an IDP when asked over the phone.
UPDATE: In a release late this afternoon, CAA Manitoba said, “The Government of Florida has announced that the Florida Highway Patrol will not enforce a new law requiring Canadians to have an International Driving Permit. We are grateful that the state of Florida has responded to pressure from CAA and thousands of concerned Canadians on this issue.”
CAA still suggests Canadians be safe than sorry and still purchase an IDP while it works to clarify whether the Canadian exclusion applies to all 400 law enforcement agencies throughout the state.