Officials recommend Canadians get international driving permit in Florida

An aerial photograph shows traffic on the southern portion of the 18-Mile Stretch, a facet of U.S....

An aerial photograph shows traffic on the southern portion of the 18-Mile Stretch, a facet of U.S. Highway 1 that connects South Florida with the Florida Keys in Key Largo, Florida, September 28, 2011. (REUTERS/Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau/Handout)

Kristy Brownlee, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:51 PM ET

Canadians technically now need an international driving permit to get behind the wheel in Florida, but police assure they won't be going after snowbirds from north of the border.

Legislators in the Sunshine State passed a law that requires non-U.S. motorists to have an international permit in addition to their regular driver's licence as of Jan. 1, said Ian Jack, spokesman for the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA).

The Florida Department of Highway Safety said it will ask lawmakers to clarify the rules to allow drivers with English-language licences to operate a vehicle in the state without the permit.

"The intent of the change in Florida law regarding the International Driving Permit was to aid law enforcement in Florida when interacting with drivers holding a licence in a foreign language," Kirsten Olsen-Doolan, spokeswoman with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, said in a statement.

Unfortunately it will likely take until the summer to close the loophole, as the next legislative session isn't until March. So, until then, the permit will technically, by law, be required for the Canadian spring breakers and snowbirds who head south over the winter months.


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