Authorities Refuse to Enforce New International Drivers Permit Law in Florida

The Florida Highway Patrol said the new law, which requires international drivers to obtain a $25 permit to drive in Florida, could violate the Geneva Convention.

Some local law enforcement agencies, including the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office, have announced they are not going to enforce a new state law requiring international drivers to obtain a $25 driving permit to drive in Florida. 

The new law was suppose to go into effect on Jan. 1, but authorities fear the new law violates the Geneva Convention on road traffic.

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles issued a statement Thursday afternoon

"During the 2012 legislative session, the Florida Legislature amended section 322.04, Florida Statutes, to require visitors from outside the United States to have an International Driving Permit in order to drive lawfully in Florida. This change took effect Jan. 1, 2013.

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.

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 U.S. or from their country of residence. However, the FHP will not take enforcement action based solely on the lack of an International Driving Permit."

The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office also released a statement Thursday stating it would not enforce the law.

"Until this issue is resolved, deputies will only require that motorists have a valid driver license in their name from their country of residence or territory of the United States," the statement read. 

We want to hear from you, Seminole Heights: Do you think the $25 driver permit fee for international drivers in Florida is fair? Join the conversation in the comments section below.


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