A curious new Florida law came quietly into effect on January 1, 2013, that requires non-Americans to possess an international driver’s permit, reports The Toronto Star.
Although intended to aid law enforcement in their ability to read licenses in foreign languages, the law has received unexpected backlash from Canadians and British tourists who flock to the Sunshine State each spring. The law has resulted in significant commentary from media and international travel agencies like the Canadian Automobile Assocciation (CAA), which states that Florida regulators are working to alter the law so that English foreign licenses may be accepted without the international permit.
This has brought an interesting twist into my usually benign Disney research trips. In two weeks time I depart for Walt Disney World with a van load of Canadians. Chantale, her son, her cousin, her mother and my two sons are headed for a March Break Disney extravaganza. So the debate begins as to whether we have the time or the inclination to spend the $80 required for the two of us to get the international licence. That’s $25 each for the license, plus the required passport photos.
The only clear message from this story is that nothing is yet clear at all. Law enforcement officials have announced suspension of enforcing the new law while it remains so contentious. Tourism officials seem to be pushing visitors to get the permit out of fear of reprimand. Law makers seem anxious to change the law in order to minimize its effect on tourism.
If you are a subscriber to this blog, chances are you take your travel planning seriously. So it seems reasonable to suggest that having the permit is a good idea. Do so and feel confident that your Disney trip won’t involve a visit to Disney jail – although wouldn’t that be interesting research?
The permit seems notably more important for our many subscribers from Quebec and Brazil, where English is likely not the language of your credentials. Permits can be obtained in Canada from your local CAA office.