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Governor’s Approval Today Resolves Situation for Canadian Drivers in Florida

February 20, 2013

OTTAWA – The Canadian Automobile Association is pleased that the state of Florida today officially repealed a law that made it mandatory for Canadian drivers to carry an International Driving Permit.

The repeal comes after interventions from CAA, other stakeholders and thousands of Canadian drivers caught unaware by the IDP law, which came into effect with no notice. CAA applauds the government of Florida for repealing the law, a process that ended today when Gov. Rick Scott signed the repeal bill.

“Effective immediately, Canadians in Florida can go back to doing what they have always been able to do – drive with peace of mind in the Sunshine State using their provincial driver’s license,” said Jeff Walker, CAA Vice President of Public Affairs. “CAA is pleased that the voices of its members and others were listened to by state officials, and that the state of Florida has removed any uncertainty.”

Florida lawmakers have admitted they never intended to include Canadian drivers under the law, which made it illegal to drive in Florida without a license issued by a U.S. state. The repeal process took several weeks and multiple votes in the Florida legislature. Governor Scott’s signature marks the official repeal.

CAA was the only Canadian non-governmental group invited to attend the signing ceremony in Tallahassee, the state capital, a recognition of our efforts on this issue. Auto Club South Inc., representing the interests of CAA, was the only witness at hearings at the Florida legislature on the repeal bill, and spoke strongly in favour of jettisoning the IDP law. CAA’s actions on this file included representations to the Governor and other top state lawmakers urging that the law be amended to exempt all Canadians.

When the law came to light in mid-February, Florida officials reacted to pressure from CAA and others within hours and said the state highway patrol would not enforce it pending a review. But it was unclear if all local law enforcement would follow suit, some Canadians were refused car rentals, especially in the first few days, and insurance companies would have been within their rights to refuse to honour policies in the event of an accident.

CAA is a federation of nine clubs providing more than 5.8 million Members with exceptional emergency roadside service, complete automotive and travel services, member savings and comprehensive insurance services. CAA also advocates on issues of concern to its members, including road safety, the environment, mobility, infrastructure and consumer protection.

For further information, please contact:

Kristine Simpson
Manager, Public Affairs
CAA National
613-247-0117 ext. 2006
613-796-9404
ksimpson@national.caa.ca



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