Changes in Florida affecting British Travellers

British travellers are being warned over an allegedly unpublicised law calling for all foreign drivers to carry an International Driving Permit (IDP) in Florida, USA. Since January 2013 travellers have been legally required to provide proof that they hold a IDP despite car hire firms, holidaymakers and the AAA (US equivalent to AA) being seemingly unaware. It is understood the law was introduced owing to the growing number of visitors’ licences that were not in English which made it difficult for the police to confirm their validity.
 
On 5th April 2013 the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) announced it is to defer enforcement and a Bill has been introduced to repeal the law. However, British travellers are still advised to buy an IDP before travelling to Florida to ensure they are able to hire a vehicle. Furthermore, despite the DHSMV’s decision to defer enforcement it is unknown what the consequences will be if a British driver without an IDP is involved in a road traffic accident in Florida. It is presumed that the US legal system will argue the British driver does not have a valid licence and has therefore breached the law in Florida. The driver may then face imprisonment or a citation demanding a mandatory court appearance.