March Breakers can relax - new Florida licence law shelved for now

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Florida driving

A new law in the state of Florida that was to take aim at the tidal wave of sunbathers who head south from Canada to escape snow and cold is being shelved, for now.

The controversial new law, requiring Canadian drivers to carry a $25 international driving permit along with their drivers licence, will not be enforced by the Florida Highway Patrol because it may contravene the Geneva Convention on Road Traffic.

The state law, which came into effect Jan. 1, 2013 would require all non U.S. residents to have an international driver’s permit, which are issued in Canada by the CAA.

Local MPP Jim McDonell said the governing Liberals in Queen's Park should be working with Florida officials to make the transition easier.

"The legislature may be prorogued, but the Minister of Transportation should be working with Florida authorities to ensure Ontarians are not inconvenienced any furthey," said McDonell. "It appears that Florida introduced this regulation, which applies to all non-US licences, in order to make the interpretation of foreign licences written in different languages, easier. Lawmakers forgot to issue an exemption for English-language licences."

Korey Kennedy, a former city councillor who is now a spokesperson for CAA, said his office has been inundated with requests for information since the news broke about the new Florida law.

Kennedy reserved comment on the issue until more concrete facts are provided to his office.

Organizations: Geneva Convention, CAA

Geographic location: Florida, Canada, U.S. Queen's

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