In the Know: What's latest on Florida's law for international driver licenses?

TIM ATEN

Gov. Rick Scott signs first 2013 bill

Repeals law requiring international driving permit.

Q: What is the current position on new regulations on international driving licenses? I am wanting to book for next winter but concerned about this issue.

— James Butcher

A: No need to be concerned about it now.

Last Wednesday, the Florida Senate unanimously voted to repeal a state statute that took effect Jan. 1 requiring foreign visitors to get international diving permits before leaving their home countries. The amendment passed the House the week before, and Gov. Rick Scott has indicated he will sign the legislation.

The special permits, which were required in addition to regular driver’s licenses, were intended to make it easier for Florida law-enforcement officers responding to traffic incidents involving international visitors who don’t speak English.

The amended statute demonstrates that international visitors are welcome in Florida, Scott said, in a news release.

“This legislation promotes tourism and will ensure visitors from across the globe continue to choose Florida as their vacation and business destination,” he said.

Of course, that’s not how visitors felt when they first heard about the state mandate this winter season.

Many Canadian seasonal residents and visitors especially were concerned because they didn’t know about the new law until they already were in the Sunshine State. They were afraid they would be stopped while driving.

The puzzling provision caused so much confusion that the state Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles announced that the Florida Highway Patrol would not enforce the international driving permit. State officials also were concerned that the statute might potentially violate an international treaty — the Geneva Convention on Road Traffic.

A cane toad, also known as a giant toad or marine toad.

Photo by Marco Eagle file

A cane toad, also known as a giant toad or marine toad.

Wait, there’s more!

A North Naples reader named Ben corresponded regarding the March 11 column on strange night noises:

“I live in Ibis Cove off of Immokalee Road and heard the ‘woodpecker on steroids’ this evening by the lake. I circled around the lake and got within 10 feet of it before it stopped. It’s definitely deafening! I listened to the audio samples you provided in your article a few weeks back and it sounds just like a cane toad. I think the North Naples mystery noise has been solved.”

■ KNOW MORE NOW: When is Fresh Market opening in East Naples? CLICK HERE for the answer.

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Have a local question? Email it with your name and city of residence to intheknow@naplesnews.com.

"In the Know" is published Mondays and Wednesdays in the Naples Daily News. Find a complete archive of "In the Know" columns at naplesnews.com/intheknow.

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