A while back, Florida announced a new law that was actually banning some holidaymakers from the UK from renting cars in Florida. The only way around this law was for people to have an international driving permit, which most Brits visiting the United States do not have. Florida apparently noticed that this law was hurting their tourism industry, because the law was cut just as quickly as it was introduced.
The overturn of this law came after many Brits started to complain about not being able to drive cars while visiting Florida. Car rental companies would not rent cars to any Brits that were not carrying an international driver’s licence. The law itself simply called for an International Driving Permit (IDP). This law was first introduced in January of this year without giving any warning to international travellers. Thus, many Brits were completely caught off guard when they arrived in Florida.
People only learned of this new law after a British tourist was told he was not allowed to hire a car after having pre-booked one. The tourist was confused, as he did have a UK driving licenses, but the new law in Florida made this single license not enough to rent a car anymore. Outraged by what had happened, the British tourist called the AA.
The head of AA for International Travel, Rosie Sanderson, said that it was a very ill-considered law that was primarily aimed at people who hold a foreign driver’s licence. It was very confusing for people and ruined a lot of holiday plans. It is not a shock that Florida dropped this law quickly. After all, it was cutting into their very profitable tourism market.
In truth, this new law was really aimed at preventing tourists from countries that speak a foreign language from renting a car if they could not read US road signs. Unfortunately, the law ended up affecting people from countries that do speak English. For example, tourist from Australia, Britain and Canada were affected the most, and these are all countries where English is the primary language.
At least when this problem came to light, Florida very quickly said that it would no longer be enforcing it. It would have been a real problem if the legislature would have tried to continue to enforce it. Of course, the state decided to do away with it to avoid hurting its relationship with international tourist.
Sanderson also said that there was even more confusion when Florida authorities announced the law would not be enforced. However, this still led to some car hire firms to be unsure if they could rent to tourists or not. To avoid breaking the law, most car hire agencies continued to avoid renting cars to any international travellers that did not carry an IDP. She added that she was very relieved this law will no longer be a compulsory requirement for people who want to travel to Florida. This will be great news to all the Brits hoping to visit Florida this year.