Last month, a new law took effect in Florida that requires international drivers to obtain an international driving permit from their country of origin, in addition to their non-driver’s license.
However, last week, it was announced that the Florida Highway Patrol will not be enforcing the new law until it can be determined whether or not the law violates international treaty on road travel.
“The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has learned that the amended state law may violate the Geneva Convention on Road Traffic (1949), an international treaty to which the United States is a signatory,” Tampa Bay Online reported.
“Treaties to which the United States is a party pre-empt state laws in conflict with them,” the department stated in a news release.
Until this point, visitors from other countries were allowed to drive in the U.S. as long as they are at least 16 years of age and have a driver’s license from their home country.
The new law reads, “The person must be in immediate possession of either of the following: a valid non-commercial driver‘s license issued in his or her name from another state or territory of the United States; or an IDP issued in his or her name in his or her country of residence and a valid license issued in that country.”
Truck drivers are exempt from the new law.
On Thursday, Florida Highway Patrol released this statement:
FLORIDA’S DOORS AND ROADWAYS REMAIN OPEN TO VISITORS
~ Highway Safety agency reassures visitors that travel to the Sunshine State is business as usual ~
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Whether you fly or drive to Florida, visitors can be assured the Sunshine State is doing business as usual. Earlier today, DHSMV released a statement to media around the world that the Florida Highway Patrol will defer enforcement of a law that requires visitors from outside the United States to have an International Driving Permit to drive lawfully in Florida. The statement explained that the law may potentially conflict with an international treaty.
The Department understands the concerns of the international community and is working with its partners to ensure that visitors are not inconvenienced. Visit Florida, AAA, Canada Automobile Association and law enforcement agencies around the state are helping DHSMV get the message out that Florida’s doors and roadways are open as usual to all visitors.
The Department will be working with the Florida Legislature in the coming months to ensure that the law reflects Florida’s rich history of welcoming our friends from around the world to the Sunshine State.