The Florida Highway Patrol will not enforce a new Florida law that prohibits Cayman Islands (and other non-US) residents from driving in the state unless they obtained international driving permits.
Florida legislators approved the law last year, and it took effect 1 January. The law has sparked an outcry in the media in Canada and the United Kingdom, whose residents visit the Sunshine State in large numbers.
However, according to the website of Florida’s Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there are concerns that the new law conflicts with the Geneva Convention on Road Traffic, a 1945 international treaty the US signed.
According to the department, “Therefore, the Florida Highway Patrol will defer enforcement of violations of the amended statutory section until a final determination of the alignment of the amendment with the treaty can be made.
Non-resident visitors to Florida who wish to drive while here will be required to have in their immediate possession a valid driver license issued in his or her name from another state or territory of the US or from their country of residence.
However, the FHP will not take enforcement action based solely on the lack of an International Driving Permit.”
Before the Florida law took effect, non-US residents age 16 and older were generally able to drive non-commercial vehicles in the state as long as they had driver’s licence from their home countries.
Cayman residents who have Cayman driver’s licences can obtain international driving permits from the Cayman Islands Department of Vehicle and Drivers’ Licensing. Requirements are a full Cayman driver’s licence, two full-face passport-sized photos and a $60 fee. The permit is valid for one year.
American visitors to Cayman already have to apply for visitor driving permits in order to operate cars here. A visitors permit is $16 and is good for the duration of their stay in the islands, depending on how much time is authorised by the Department of Immigration.
In addition to the fee, requirements are a US driver’s licence and passport. Cayman’s rental car agencies will typically make arrangements to obtain visitor permits for their customers.
In the US, AAA issues international driving permits for US drivers to drive in other countries. The fee is US$15.