Well I Never!

2 04 2013

I’ve driven in a few places in the States. Never in Florida though.

Turns out it was just as well! Until today, it was illegal to drive in Florida unless you had a driving license issued by one of the US States. Despite what some down there may think… that didn’t include our 10 provinces and 3 territories (one of the questions on the citizenship test, BTW.) Alternatively  you could get an International Driving Permit (which seems to magically make you a better driver).

Apparently the law was never meant to exclude the many Canadian snow birds who pour millions of dollars into Florida’s economy when it gets a bit chilly up North. Like the hardening of the border crossing to a maximum 90 days after 9/11 supposedly wasn’t intended to exclude them either.

Anyway, thanks in part to efforts by Canada’s Automobile Association, it was repealed today.

CAA Applauds Repeal of Florida IDP law.

Mind you… Canada is no better. It may have changed now, but in 2001 when we immigrated to Canada, BC required UK drivers to re-take their driving test in order to drive for more than 90 days. At the time it seemed to make sense. After all the UK drives on the left and the road rules are different here (turning right on red lights, it being perfectly OK to do 50kmh in “the fast lane” on highways while drinking your coffee, petting your maltipoo on your lap and smoking a joint, yada yada…).

But wait… if you emigrated from Japan you could just swap your license. They drive on the left too! Something is rotten in the state of Denmark. Actually – Denmark I’m not so sure about. Austria and Switzerland though – they can drive for free. Weird. But, if we’d immigrated to Alberta, we could have swapped our UK license for a Canadian one there – no trouble. Moving between Provinces is a straight swap too. So hang on…

Moving directly to BC meant we took a test, but if we’d moved to Alberta then BC, we wouldn’t? How does this make me a better qualified driver?

It kind of reminds me of when I applied for my Brazilian visa a few years ago. I just checked – the anecdote is still true. A business visa for a Canadian citizen going to Brazil is $75. For American citizens it is free.


However… there’s a $200 administrative fee if you’re an American citizen! I’m sure this has nothing to do with the way Brazilian tourists were suddenly required to have their fingerprints taken when they entered the US after 9/11. Nothing at all…




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