We’ve been hearing a lot about this topic in the news over the last couple of weeks, and is of great interest for those of us in Ontario who drive south in the winter, especially for March Break!
Florida has passed a law requiring all out-of-country drivers to have an International Driver’s Permit (IDP). Failure to do so could result in fines and/or other charges. It’s not clear what the intention of this legislation was, and if it was to ensure that tourists from overseas were confirmed to be properly licenced. Those of us who have handled auto claims know that it can be quite arduous to confirm licence details from drivers from overseas, further hindered by communication and language barriers. In all likelihood, this law stemmed from such issues, and not because of us, their cousins north of the border.
In Ontario, anyone staying in the province for less than 3 months does not need an IDP. These drivers only need a valid licence from their home province or country, and need to be at least 16 years old. After 3 months, an IDP is needed. More information can be found here on the government’s website.
What are the implications of failing to get your IDP for your Florida vacation? One is that your insurance company might not cover you if you are in an accident. This can have dire consequences for large repair and medical bills. As per CAA (the only place in Canada where you can get an IDP) this new law is not being enforced for Canadian drivers, pending further review of the law. However, strictly speaking, if you do not have a valid licence, your insurer can deny coverage. So, what now?
You’ll likely want to err on the side of caution, and join the lineups at CAA to get your International Driver’s Permit. It’s a quick process, the cost is $25, and you must be at least 18. Don’t worry! It’s just a translation of your information. You don’t have to write a test.
Stay tuned for further updates!