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International driving license needed for Florida car rentals

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London
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International driving license needed for Florida car rentals

Can any locals tell me if this is the case. I've just seen it reported as news but the US embassy in London website says that you don't need one. Also the car hire companies haven't got any information.

Any ideas?

London
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1. Re: International driving license needed for Florida car rentals

Hah. Answered my own question. Alert all international people visiting Florida:

Immediate Release: 14 February 2013

FLORIDA STATE LAW CHANGE LEAVES

BRITISH DRIVERS HIGH AND DRY, SAYS AA

UK drivers without an international driving permit risk prison

A little-publicised law change in Florida means that foreign drivers – including those from the UK – cannot drive unless they have an International Driving Permit (IDP).

Until now, UK visitors to the most popular US destination for Brits have been able to use their UK licence, although the AA has always recommended taking an IDP.

Rosie Sanderson, head of the AA’s International Motoring Services team, said that this ruling came ‘out of the blue’ despite the fact that it was introduced as long ago as 1 January 2013, but not publicised.

The half-term break has brought it to prominence, as holidaymakers are finding their UK licence is no longer acceptable on its own. But there is conflicting advice, since some car hire companies were unaware of the law too, throwing the fly-drive market into chaos.

The penalty for infringing the law is strict and a British driver found to be without an IDP will be regarded as not having a valid licence and could face imprisonment or a citation demanding a mandatory court appearance.

Rosie Sanderson said that even the AAA, the American equivalent of the AA, hadn’t been made aware of the law and had to confirm it with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles following the AA’s enquiry.

“We were first alerted by a customer querying the introduction of the new regulation.

“I understand that the new law was introduced because of the growing number of visitors’ licences that are not in English, making it difficult for police to confirm their validity.

“As a result, the requirement for an International Driving Permit (IDP) has been introduced which is affecting drivers from English-speaking countries, including Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland, despite the fact that their licences are already in English.

“The AA has always recommended that drivers should take an IDP if they plan to drive in the USA since some car hire companies insist on seeing one. Our website advice has been updated to point out that it is now compulsory in Florida and strongly recommended elsewhere in the USA.

“Any driver planning to travel should arrange for an IDP immediately. The quickest way to do so is go to one of 88 designated Post Offices, which issues them on behalf of the AA (not all Post Offices issue them). You will need both parts of your driving licence, your passport and a passport-sized photograph and the IDP will be issued over the counter. It costs £5.50.”

Alternatively, an IDP can be obtained by post by visiting www.theaa.com/idp

Rosie Sanderson added that Florida state laws are ‘unforgiving’ and any foreign driver caught without an IDP could find themselves being treated harshly although it’s not clear how harshly they would be dealt with.

Ends

Niagara-on-the-Lake...
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2. Re: International driving license needed for Florida car rentals

Just waited in line for 90 minutes for a IDL at the local CAA in St.Catharines, Ontario. They are telling all Canadians to be on the safe side and to have one while driving in Florida. Cost was $37 for non members of the CAA and $35 for members. This included the IDL, pictures and tax.

UK
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for Florida
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3. Re: International driving license needed for Florida car rentals

The FL law has apparently (once brought to the US govt's attention as they didn't tell anyone incl FL police depts about the new law) to contravene a law signed by the US under the Geneva convention 1949.

So seems to have been temporarily suspended.

See the orlando forum for details.

peak district
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4. Re: International driving license needed for Florida car rentals

Apparently not going to be enforced.

See todays Naples Daily News.

Waterloo, Canada
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5. Re: International driving license needed for Florida car rentals

We have them for Florida after being told of this 2,days before we left last week when news came out. I was at CAA getting something else when I heard about it. We did not need them for our car rental and when I showed them to the staff person she didn't know anything about this. I think it was a waste of money but when you don't have time to decide, you err on the side of being prepared just in case.

Southampton, United...
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6. Re: International driving license needed for Florida car rentals

The IDP requirement law may not be enforced by the police, but what about insurance companies response to those involved in a rental car accident. I suspect they will not pay out if you do not have an IDP.

UK tourists already have to pay high APD and ESTA taxes and now have to buy an outdated IDP.

We are traveling to Miami very soon, does Florida's local authorities want or welcome UK tourists?

Edited: 11 March 2013, 08:26
essen, germany
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for Walt Disney World, Anna Maria Island, Orlando
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7. Re: International driving license needed for Florida car rentals

You don´t need it :-)

http://www.flhsmv.gov/IDP.htm

UK
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8. Re: International driving license needed for Florida car rentals

My rental (just arranged) has said I don't need one and insurance will be unaffected.

May take their word, may as to speak to the underwriters from confirmation.

Bourton-on-Dunsmore...
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9. Re: International driving license needed for Florida car rentals

We are here in Florida at the moment. Spent £10 for photo and permit. Waste of time. Car hire company didn't even know what it was and state police not enforcing. Save your money.

Regards

Deb

Edited: 11 March 2013, 12:29
UK
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10. Re: International driving license needed for Florida car rentals

Deb, it is the insurance with the car rental we are concerned about. Will be a seperate company to the car rental firm, and they do love their loopholes when trying to not pay out.

Given millions are potentially at stake, it is always wisest to figure this part out. In your case, you are protected as the insurers won't be able to quote that law to you.