Huffpost Miami

Florida Driver's License Law May Violate Geneva Convention, Definitely Angers Canada

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It was Canada against Florida Tea Partiers. Canada won, for now.

A new driving law, introduced last year by Tea Party Caucus member Rep. Ben Albritton (R-Wauchula), not only enraged thousands of Canadians, it may have even been in violation of the Geneva Convention.

The law, which went quietly into effect on January 1, requires International Driving Permits for non-American motorists.

As previously reported by HuffPost Travel Canada, the Florida Highway Patrol was bombarded with calls Thursday after Canadian media reported on the new requirements, which angered snowbirds who have never before had to buy an international drivers license to tool around Florida.

It turns out that the law, which Toronto's Globe and Mail called "sloppy," may also run afoul of a section of the Geneva Convention rules that requires signee countries to accept other countries' driver's licenses.

"No North American jurisdiction has ever asked for an IDP before from another North American jurisdiction. This is a first," said Canadian Automobile Association spokesman Ian Jack.

Thursday FHP issued a statement:

It has come to the Department’s attention that this requirement may violate the Geneva Convention on Road Traffic (1949), an international treaty to which the United States is a signatory. Treaties to which the United States is a party preempt state laws in conflict with them.

The agency also pledged troopers will not enforce the law until the Florida legislature can re-visit it when session starts in March.

This isn't the only piece of 2012 legislation already being challenged.

Rep. Maria Sachs recently sponsored a bill that would reinstate a ban lifted by her opponent Ellyn Bogdanoff, whose 2012 agriculture bill made it once again legal to dye animals.

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