Florida to Canadian theme park fans: 'Take off'
The State of Florida is making it harder for Canadians to drive in the Sunshine State, and that's upsetting theme park fans north of the border.
"Welcome to Florida! Unless you're from Canada and don't have the newly correct papers…"
A new law this year in Florida requires that all visitors from foreign countries must carry an international driving permit in addition to their local driver's license when driving a car in Florida. In the past, Canadian drivers had not needed the international permit and were allowed to drive in the US while carrying just their Canadian licenses. (For what it's worth, when we visited Canada two summers ago, we drove around British Columbia on our US licenses. We didn't need an international permit, either.)
Why the change? "Security," of course. An international driving permit translates license information into 10 languages, helping local authorities understand the personal information on licenses issued by foreign countries. Of course, one wonders why Florida police officers would need a translation of the English-language licenses from all those Canadian provinces that aren't spelled "Quebec." [Let's try this as an easy way to translate Canadian English to Floridian English: Swap the "eh" for "y'all" and we're good to go, okay?]
Theme Park Insider reader Kathy McPherson alerted me to the change, emailing me a Toronto Star article about Canadians' reaction to the new law.
"Our local CAA [Canadian auto club] offices are going crazy because this is the only place you can get them," McPherson wrote. "We are heading to Florida in a couple weeks and will have to line up and get ours before we go."
Today, the Florida Highway Patrol reacted to the uproar in Canada by announcing that it won't enforce the new law against Canadian drivers with English-language licenses, at least for the time being. But that doesn't apply to local law enforcement, and some car rental companies are continuing to insist on the international permit to rent to Canadian visitors. So many Canadians who want to visit Walt Disney World or Universal Orlando will need to keep queuing for the permits, or else risk not being pulled over when they drive in Florida (assuming they're bringing their own cars down or can rent one in Florida despite not having the international permit).
Florida tourism officials told The Star that they're hoping to convince Florida lawmakers to change the law when the legislature meets again next month.
As an EU driver I now have to g out and buy an international drivers license?
The local Tampa news tonight reported on this and said that this new law will NOT be enforced. The law will be reviewed and rewritten during the next legislative session.
My favourite statistic about September 11 is that more people died in excess car accidents than through the actual terror attacks within i think 2 years (not exactly sure about the timeframe). Why? Simple, driving cars is far more risky than flying and many people switched from planes to cars afterwards. Risk perception got completly out of control there and it still haunts us today.
So, at least in the US, an international driver's license is only around 15 bucks. I don't think that is going to break anyone's bank. I think this a mountain out of a mole hill sort of situation on both ends. Florida is blowing a non issue way our of proportion as they tend to do. But, come on Canada, it's a few dollars and a little bit of your time. I don't think it has anything to do with our specific dealings with terrorism. It might just be that there are so many international visitors to the state that it's hard to keep up with the different licenses and this simplifies the process.
As a Canadian who goes to Florida quite often, it isn't so much being arrested for not carrying an International Drivers Permit, or IDP, that I worry about. My fear is more that, in the unfortunate event of an accident, the lack of the proper paperwork might be used against me in the United States by insurance companies not wanting to pay, or people suing each other or the like. For now I think I will be lining up and paying, but here's hoping that this inane law goes away before I have to renew next year!
This is what happens when you have crazy republicans in change… Why not add some gerrymandering and limit voting times and fewer voting machines with this new law…
The hysteria over the international driving permit is ridiculous. So people don't want one? It's a international driving permit!!! Yet Florida and Republicans are called backwards for insisting on the permit. Let's heed the international community because the international standard is too onerous. Hilarious.
If Canada is a Friend of the USA and lets Americans drive in their country, Why not let Canadians drive in the USA with a Canadian license?
If the standard is everyone does it so let's keeping doing it this way, then it is a shame.
Hey! Welcome to the Sunshine State for your international vacation! Here's your first dark ride: the Tunnel of DMV Horrors!
Just answer my question… Why not allow Canadian’s to drive in the USA like we can drive in Canada with a USA license…
Why? Why not?
So the whole country of Canada must change for 1 state in the US… Due to a law that will make things more difficult for a visitor from Canada to spend their vacation time and monies in the state of Florida.
The law was not anti-Canada, it applied to ALL foreign country's citizens who drive a car in Florida. The intent was to make sure all foreign driver's licences have an English language translation. Canadians have freaked out because of all the snowbird migration during the January to April time frame and the snowbirds did not know about the new law. Let me tell you as a Florida resident, we did not know of it either. I try to be aware of these types of things and never heard of it.
"So the whole country of Canada must change for 1 state in the US"
Again the republican who is having trouble comprehending this new law and the effects on tourism in the USA, simply calls folks names instead of having an intelligent conversation…
Typical Brian: Needs to bring politics into everything. Loves names calling and fails to see the irony.
Yes saving the World from Nasty Canadian will cure everything…
Brian: Huh? Is that a response? You make absolutely no sense.
It's just been deferred for UK visitors, Alamo are currently the only rental company that have said they will still let you hire a car without one though, it costs £5 in England, hardly gonna eat into your spending money, seems a bit pointless as our licences are in English though!!
Although they are inexpensive, I can't help feel its just a scam to leach yet more money out of us.. But that said I will be getting one as I am planning on visiting Florida next year.
But Florida is not getting the money for issuing the IDPs. That is a local expense to the future tourists. How could it be a money scam by Florida?
This new law is an insult and hindrance to the many Canadians who pour millions of dollars into the Florida economy every year. Security? Come on. We're tourists, not terrorists. Florida is Canada's playground -- especially people from Quebec.
This is in partial reaction to the fact that Canadian drivers from Quebec have a drivers licence in French because they want to be different and don't really like the English very much anyway. Now, see what the result is? However, everyone in your federal, state and local governments are hot on the bandwagon of "security." There is much money in it and of course, the power that comes with it---just look at the gropers at the TSA when you fly.
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