New Florida drivers license law irks international drivers

New Florida drivers license law irks some international drivers

A new Florida law has some Canadians and international drivers less than thrilled with the Sunshine State.

On Jan. 1, a law went into effect requiring all international drivers visiting Florida to get an international drivers permit so law enforcement here can translate the license.

In Canada, it will cost $25.

A Thursday web post from the Toronto Sun read: "Canada supplies more tourists to Florida than any other foreign country, and this is the thanks we get."

On Thursday afternoon, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles released a statement saying law enforcement wouldn't enforce the new law, because it "may violate the Geneva Convention on Road Traffic."

"It didn't rattle me really," Canadian Jackie Jonescu said.

Jonescu already had taken action by the time that statement was released.

Since 2000, the Kitchener, Ontario, native has spent a few months a year in St. Petersburg avoiding the cold Canadian winter.

She received an e-mail from a friend warning her of the new law.

"They told me that I can be fined if I was in an accident or if I had any kind of violation," said Jonescu.

International visitors cannot get the permit if they are already here in the U.S.

"If you're from Canada, you have to get the international driver's license in Canada," said Mark Lee of AAA.

Jonescu called the Canadian Automobile Association to get an application.

She said she doesn't really mind getting the permit, but she also agrees with the author of the Toronto Sun story.

"I've probably spent close to $100,000 in the last three months that I've been here to get established, and I would think that's a valuable contribution to this economy," Jonescu said.

"Yeah, I was a little bit ticked, but not enough to be annoyed with any, you know, I'm happy to be here," she said.

Even if being here might require a $25 permit to drive around.

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