Canadians in a Panic over New Florida Requirement

Florida has been front page news and a lead television story across Canada and the UK since Wednesday.

“They haven’t told anybody about this. We know for a fact they didn’t tell the car rental agencies in Florida about this.”

The concern: not having one of these, An International Driving Permit. All foreign drivers in Florida were required to have one starting January first to help police understand a foreign language. Seems Lawmakers never considered English is the language of most of Canada and the UK.

Just over three million Canadians come to Florida every year. That’s almost one of every ten residents.

Because so many Canadians are snow birds, even Disney started asking questions. The Panic that started Wednesday morning has been solved.

“And ah, while we figure out the language of it, they won’t be enforcing it. Folks just need to have a valid license from their country in order to drive in Florida,” said Highway Safety Spokesperson Kirsten Olsen-Doolan.

The state has talked with the Sheriffs and Police Chiefs Associations. All have agreed to defer enforcement.

Some visitors are asking about their auto insurance. The Office of Insurance Regulation says it is reviewing the matter. Until they have a better answer, the state is offering this advice to our Canadian visitors.

“If they want to feel safe about it, they need to call their carrier,” said Olsen-Doolan.

Canadian officials are quoted as saying they will seek a total repeal of the law. Tourism officials will likely join them.

In deferring enforcement of the law, the state says it is basing the deferral of the law on the fact it may violate an international treaty with Canada. State Insurance officials don’t expect to be able to answer our question about coverage before Monday.


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