After sending snowbirds to licence offices in a panic, Florida now says it won’t enforce a requirement for all non-U.S. residents to obtain an International Driving Permit.

Earlier today, employees at CAA offices fielded an unprecedented flurry of phone calls and inquiries from people planning to go to Florida after the surprise realization that since Jan. 1, all non-U.S. residents need an International Driving Permit.

Florida Highway Patrol, International Drivers Permit, IDP, FHP, WTF, CAA

“We were informed only two days ago, but it was on the radio today so everyone’s here,” said a harried employee taking names from those in line to get the international licence.

On Jan. 1, Florida passed statute 322.04, a new law mandating the international permit, a paper document written in 10 languages.

According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV), the purpose of the new law is for everyone to have “a licence in a language that police officers can understand.”

An IDP is the internationally recognized licence people need when they rent a car and drive in Europe. On an average summer day, with vacationers going abroad, CAA-Quebec’s large office on Drummond normally issues 60 to 75 of these a day, but very rarely in the winter, the staff said.

To get an international driving licence, you need a valid driving permit, $25 and a passport-size photograph.

If you don’t have the photo handy, CAA can take one for you for $13. Grand total: $38.74, taxes in.

“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,” a spokesperson for the Florida Department of Highway Safety said Thursday.

Florida Highway Patrol, International Drivers Permit, IDP, FHP, WTF, CAA

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