Florida-bound Canadians face licence debacle
Travellers told they need special licence to drive in the state
Posted: Feb 14, 2013 6:37 PM CST
Last Updated: Feb 14, 2013 8:18 PM CST
Canadians heading to Florida got a big shock Thursday when they were told they wouldn’t be allowed to drive in the state unless they had an international driving permit.
Bob McIlwraith and his wife were on their way to Winnipeg’s airport Thursday when they found out they would not be able to drive a car once they got there.
So McIlwraith turned the car around and headed to a CAA Manitoba office — the only place in the city where the permits are sold.
“I’m waiting in line for an international driver’s licence that 20 minutes ago I didn’t know I needed,” said McIlwraith.
The CAA office was filled with travellers looking to get one of the permits on Thursday.
For many of them, it was a frustrating race against time.
McIlwraith was number 76 in line when he had just an hour and a half to catch his flight to Florida.
McIlwraith made his flight, but CBC learned late Thursday afternoon,even if they hadn’t had the permit, Florida police have agreed not to issue tickets to Canadians without the special driving permits.
CAA representatives said late Thursday Florida’s government announced they won’t enforce the new law for Canadians, at least for now.
It still remains unclear if that will apply to all 400 of the law enforcement agencies that exist in Florida.
Winnipegger Steve Klassen was similarly caught off guard when he heard the news.
“I heard about this half an hour ago. My sister called me and told me,” said Klassen.
Tim Scott of CAA Manitoba said the new rules were surprising to them as well.
“[The] last 48 hours this came to light,” said Scott.
The new law has been in place in Florida since January, but officials failed to notify Canada.
The move was motivated by an increasing number of licences showing up in the state that were not in English.
Police in the state want a standardized licence in English.
“They didn’t even think to exempt Canada, which is an English-speaking country,” said Liz Peters of CAA Manitoba.
So CAA spent the afternoon in a mad dash to prepare travellers. The process required a form, a photo and a special typewriter to create the permit. It translates the license into 10 different languages.
Canadians already in Florida were worried about what it would mean for them.
Peters said they could call CAA and mail out the permits.
For more updates on what Florida's government will require from Canadian drivers going forward, visit CAA's website.
Latest Manitoba News Headlines
- Winnipeg couple fights schizophrenia challenges together
- Winnipeggers Sean and Doris Miller have been married for 14 years, but reaching that anniversary has been a feat in itself since Sean was diagnosed with schizophrenia. more »
- Manitoba grandparents prep for provincial bodybuilding contest
- One Manitoba couple is among dozens going to great lengths to grab a title from an amateur bodybuilding competition this weekend. more »
- Man breaks into Wellington Crescent home while girl sleeps
- Winnipeg police are looking for a suspect after a man broke into a home on Wellington Crescent while a girl slept inside. more »
- Doors Open Winnipeg offers access to architectural gems
- The 10th annual Doors Open Winnipeg is an initiative of Heritage Winnipeg that opens the doors of more than 80 buildings and sites on May 25 and 26. more »
Top News Headlines
- Washington police blame bridge collapse on Alberta trucker
- Washington State police say an Alberta trucker was responsible for hitting a steel beam precipitating a bridge collapse on one of the busiest routes in the American northwest. more »
- Royal Bank pledges not to outsource jobs for cash savings
- Royal Bank has promised it will never outsource a Canadian job to a foreign worker solely to save money. more »
- Canada ranks 3rd last in paid vacations
- Canada ranks third last among economically advanced countries in the amount of paid vacation time it guarantees its workers, a new U.S. study indicates. more »
- Group calls for probe of Tory database used in election robocalls
- The Council of Canadians is calling on the Conservative Party to make a list of everyone who had access to its electoral database during the last federal election and turn the information over to the RCMP and the commissioner of elections. "Anything less at this point would be a coverup," the council said in a press release Friday. more »
- Massive church service to test Bomber’s parking plan
- Skyscraper developers ordered to pay $3M in 2011
- Window shattered on bus in Winnipeg
- Early summer bad time for crashes, Manitoba RCMP say
- Winnipeg gets first urban reserve
- MTS to sell Allstream, put $200M to pension and debt
- Manitoba ex-MPs 'vindicated' with robocalls ruling
- Survivors of day schools share stories of abuse, pain
- Possible explosive device prompts large police presence