NEW! You Won’t Require An International Driving Permit To Drive In Florida

Morning all,

When it comes to Florida car hire there’s nothing like complicating matters andflorida senate amendment as we reported back in February thats exactly what the Florida senate decided to do. By altering driving laws so that non-residence required an international driving permit it placed unnecessary cost and stress upon UK holiday makers everywhere.

Now we are pretty sure that the state of Florida didn’t do this on purpose, the idea of the alteration was to make it easier for Florida highway patrol to read and understand driving licences written in a foreign language (not English) and it is to their credit that they have acted quickly in overturning this law.

Spotted by U.S. Rent A Car customer, Darren Greaves, the Florida Senate yesterday passed a new bill (HB 7059) removing these restraints.

Driver Licensing; Revises provisions for exemption from obtaining driver license issued by this state; removes requirement that certain nonresidents possess an International Driving Permit; provides that nonresident of certain age possessing valid noncommercial driver license issued outside this state may operate noncommercial motor vehicle in this state; provides for retroactive application.

Looks like this drama is finally over and I sincerely hope the Florida Senate stays as far away from driving licence amendments as possible, :-)

regards,

James,

 car hire USA

What We’ve Learnt From The Florida International Driving Permit Fiasco

Hi all,

A week has passed since we broke the alterations to the Florida senate law tomystery our customers regarding UK drivers needing an International Driving Permit.

Since then we were one of the first to confirm that the Florida senate had frozen the alteration while they investigated it further and would not be penalising UK drivers for not having an IDP.

So what have we learnt?

Well obviously the first thing we’ve learnt is that the Florida law makers definitely didn’t think this one through, not only has the introduction of the IDP been met with amazement in the UK, but also in Canada where the majority of the pressure to alter the law has come from.

The second thing we’ve learnt is the value of car hire USA brokers, it wasn’t the suppliers who found out about this law (Alamo, Budget, Dollar etc), it was car rental brokers, I personally emailed each and everyone of our suppliers warning them to the alteration and asking for their official stance.

On the day we ran with the story and notified all our customers I called each supplier pretending to be a customer and asked them one very specific question.

Do I require an International Driving Permit to hire in Florida?

These were my replies.

Supplier: Alamo Rent A Car

Date: 13/02/13

Time: 15:35

Agents name: Bob

Answer: Bob immediately stated that an IDP was not required. When I informed him of the rule change he popped me on hold to double check and then returned to state that again no IDP was required.

Verdict: Bob was wrong.

 

Supplier: Budget Rent A Car

Date: 13/02/13

Time: 15:51

Agents name: Natalie

Answer: Again Natalie hadn’t heard about the IDP change and told me it wasn’t required. When I told her, she popped me on hold and returned to state that Budget wouldn’t stop me from renting the vehicle however if I felt it was necessary to have one then I should get one. She’d didn’t know where I could get one from though.

Verdict: Although she wasn’t fully equipped with the information I thought her advise was ok.

 

Supplier: Dollar Rent A Car

Date: 13/02/13

Time: 16:00

Agents name: Charles

Answer: Actually I first spoke to their customer services department, who stated they didn’t know anything and sent me to reservations. Charles stated I definitely only needed a UK driving licence, again I informed him of the change in law, he popped me on hold to verify. Charles returned some time after to confirm I definitely did not need an IDP.

Verdict: Charles was wrong.

On Friday after we posted and contacted our customers to confirm that the amended law would not be actioned until further notice, I repeated the above calls.

I obviously didn’t get through to the same people but each of the suppliers then confirmed I would require an IDP…

What did I learn? 

When picking your Florida Car Hire supplier, remember its not just price you should be thinking about, its also the after care…

regards,

James

 car hire USA

NEW: You Will Require An International Driving Permit To Drive In Florida

Hi all,

BREAKING NEWS – Statement From DHSMV On International Driving Permits

There’s nothing better than altering a law and then not actually telling anyone, and this is what appears to have happened in Florida this year.idp

Florida Statute 322.04 that became valid on January 1st 2013 now states that non-residence full driving licences (paper and card parts) must be accompanied by an International Driving permit.

What is an International Driving Permit?

An International Driving Permit (IDP) is a document recognized by many countries which allows the permit-holder to drive a private motor vehicle in that country. To be valid the IDP must be accompanied by a valid license from the home country. The document is slightly larger than a standard passport and is essentially a multiple language translation of the permit-holder’s normal driver’s license, complete with photograph and vital statistics.

There are two type of International Driving Permit the one you will require for the U.S. is the 1949 IDP.

The actual law change

The specific law alteration is -

322.04(c)(1)Persons exempt from obtaining driver license-

(c) A nonresident who is at least 16 years of age operating a motor vehicle of the type for which a Class E driver license is required in this state if the nonresident has in his or her immediate possession:

(2) An International Driving Permit issued in his or her name in his or her country of residence and a valid license issued in that country.

What could happen

With regards to car rental, our contracts state that the driver(s) must supply their full driving licence and specifically mentions that an International Driving Permit is not required, so the supplier is still covering you against accidents.

The main issue that could arise is if you are pulled over by the Police and asked to provide your licence and supporting IDP, in this case according to information I have seen the officer if sticking to the letter of the law, could arrest the driver and take him/her to jail or issue the driver a citation with a mandatory court appearance.

What our suppliers say

Alamo/National Rent A Car state this;

For rentals in the State of Florida an International Drivers Permit is also required for each driver of the vehicle. The International Drivers Permit must be issued by the driver’s country of residence

Alamo/National have also confirmed that they will not refuse pick ups that do not have the IDP over the next week or so.

Budget Rent A Car state this;

Yet to offer official statement, will update when they do.

Dollar/Thrifty Rent A Car state this;

DTAG does not require the customer to have an International Driving Policy to rent our cars in Florida. usrentacar.co.uk customers would still be fully insured in case of an accident (subject to our normal terms and conditions).

Sixt Rent A Car state this;

Yet to offer official statement, will update when they do.

Where can I get an International Driving Permit?

You can purchase an International Driving Permit from your Post Office (http://www.postoffice.co.uk/international-driving-permit), they cost £5.50 for 12 months, to apply for one you will need to produce your full driving licence and supply a passport photo, please be aware that not all post offices are equipped to issue IDP’s immediately, I would suggest contacting the Post Office to clarify before heading down to one.

I believe you can also do this through the AA (http://www.theaa.com/getaway/idp/index.html) and RAC (http://www.rac.co.uk/travel/driving-abroad/international-driving-permit/).

U.S. Rent A Car’s view

We are pretty amazed that this law amendment has been passed, we’d understand if an International Driving Policy offered something more than a UK driving licence does but it really doesn’t. We are also surprised how quietly this law has been altered, we contacted all our suppliers when we first heard about this from a customer, Mr John Marshall (thanks John) none of them had heard about this alteration, we also called a few tourist board representatives and they to had heard nothing.

We will continue to monitor this and will update you all on any changes however for now we would recommend that all drivers carry with them an International Driving Policy to avoid inconvenience and for piece of mind but this is obviously a customer choice.

Kind regards,

James

 car hire USA


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