A Florida bill requiring international residents to carry a special permit to drive in the state was repealed recently in an effort to boost the state’s tourist-friendly image. Gov. Rick Scott signed HB 7059 after the Senate voted 38-0 to approve it.
The repealed law, which had taken effect January 1, required anyone who was not a U.S. citizen to carry an international driving permit while on Florida roads. This meant that Canadians had to get a $25 permit in their own country. The law was meant to help law enforcement handle accidents, especially when dealing with drivers who don’t know English. It had been so quietly introduced and passed that AAA, a Florida insurance company, was unaware it even existed. Once out in the open, law enforcement announced they would not enforce the law, but drivers were still concerned. Canadian drivers especially feared the law could affect their insurance if they got into an accident while in the state.
What do I do if I’m in an accident on an international vacation?
If you are on an international trip in Florida and are involved in a car accident, it important to take some steps before you get back home:
- Record the scene of the accident — Take pictures of any damage or injuries, get information from everyone involved and get a copy of the police report.
- Get medical attention — Receiving treatment for your injuries is the most important step you can take, and most travel insurance policies cover emergency medical expenses.
- Contact your insurance and car rental companies — Contact your insurance and car rental companies to notify them of the accident as soon as possible, as it may be easier to make an appointment or deal with the aftermath in person or in the country.
- Contact a Florida attorney — An attorney who has jurisdiction in Florida and knowledge of state laws can help you determine your best legal options, as opposed to a lawyer in your home country who may not have as much of an advantage or experience in the state
If you were involved in an accident in Florida but live in a different country, especially if someone else caused the accident, an experienced Florida auto accident attorney who knows the state laws regarding negligence can help you get justice and compensation.