FDHSMV: Canadians won't be punished driving in Florida without international permit

Announcement posted on FDHSMV's website says state will review law

MIAMI - Canadian television and travel websites from Toronto and Montreal on Thursday announced a law effective January 1st that would have required Canadians in Florida to carry an international permit to drive in the state.

The problem seemed to be, reports Local 10's Janine Stanwood, that no one seemed to know about it.

"I'm going out with my truck right now at this moment and I don't know if I need that special license -- if I get caught by a Sheriff or something?" said Canadian visitor Frank Lemieux.

Late Thursday, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles announced troopers would not punish those driving without the permit.

Last year, more than 3 million Canadians traveled to Florida. In South Florida, many say they spend winters at mobile home communities in Broward County, visit beaches, and spend money on restaurants and hotels.

The prospect of getting pulled over, fined, and possibly arrested without having a special permit created fear for many Canadians driving and traveling in the state.

"Driver's license is something very important," said Canadian visitor Danielle Daviault.

The special permit is issued by the Canadian Automobile Association, Canada's version of a department of motor vehicles. The intent was to help Florida troopers interpret foreign licenses that might be in other languages, like French.

On the FDHSMV's website, an announcement was posted indicating that state would be reviewing the law:

"It has come to the Department's attention that this requirement may violate the Geneva Convention on Road Traffic (1949), an international treaty to which the United States is a signatory. Treaties to which the United States is a party preempt state laws in conflict with them."

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