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British drivers warned to carry International Driving Permit in Florida

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A new law in Florida means British travellers without an International Driving Permit face trouble if they want to hire a car.


The AA has warned holidaymakers that a new law in Florida may prevent them from being able to drive on their trip.

Previously visitors to Florida could rely on using their UK driving licence. However a new law means that you must have an International Driving Permit if you want to hit the roads.

What happens if you don’t have an International Driving Permit?

If drivers are caught without an International Driving Permit, the law states that they may be given a citation with a mandatory court appearance or even arrested and taken to jail.

However, following pressure from the AA and other motoring groups, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has said it will defer enforcement of this new law.

The trouble is that some car hire firms are already refusing to hire cars to drivers without the permit. So while the police are not enforcing the law yet, it's simply a lot safer to make sure you get the permit before you arrive in the States.

How to get an International Driving Permit

It’s always been a good idea to get an International Driving Permit before heading Stateside anyway as some car hire firms have long insisted on seeing one, even though they weren’t required by law.

There are two types – the 1949 and the 1926. You'll need the 1949 version for the US. The AA has full information on which countries require which version of the permit.

The permit costs £5.50 and you can get one from the AA, the RAC or the Post Office. You will need both parts of your driving licence, your passport and a passport photo when you apply.

To qualify for an International Driving Permit you need to be 18 or over, have a full UK driving licence and be a permanent resident of the UK. It’s valid for a full year.

Driving in Europe

With half-term upon us, many people will be heading to Europe for holidays too. If you’re one of them, remember that there may be other requirements that you need to meet if you’re going to be driving during your break.

Read Driving in Europe: what you need to know for a full guide.

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