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Florida defers enforcement of International Driving Permit

The Florida Highway Patrol will defer enforcement of a new law that requires visitors from outside the United States to have an International Driving Permit to drive lawfully in Florida.

In a statement, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) explained that the law could 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.

According to the satement, "The Florida Highway Patrol will defer enforcement "until a final determination of the alignment of the amendment with the treaty can be made."

The agency issued a press release stating that it understands the concerns of the international community and is working with its partners to ensure that visitors are not inconvenienced. Visit Florida, AAA, Canada Automobile Association and law enforcement agencies are spreading the word that "Florida’s doors and roadways are open as usual to all visitors," the release said.

According to the press release, "The Department will be working with the Florida Legislature in the coming months to ensure that the law reflects Florida’s rich history of welcoming our friends from around the world to the Sunshine State."

The International Driving Permit, available from the Canadian Automobile Association, costs $25 and is valid for one year. Applicants must be age 18 or older, hold a valid Canadian driver's license, and provide two passport-type photos.

Non-residents still must carry a valid driver's license from their home country if they wish to drive in Florida.

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