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Posts Tagged ‘Florida’

Statement from Florida DHSMV on International Driving Permits

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

During the 2012 legislative session, the Florida Legislature amended section 322.04, Florida Statutes, to require visitors from outside the United States to have an International Driving Permit in order to drive lawfully in Florida. This change took effect Jan. 1, 2013.

It has come to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ 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.

Therefore, the Florida Highway Patrol will defer enforcement of violations of the amended statutory section until a final determination of the alignment of the amendment with the treaty can be made. Non-resident visitors to Florida who wish to drive while here will be required to have in their immediate possession a valid driver license issued in his or her name from another state or territory of the U.S. or from their country of residence. However, the FHP will not take enforcement action based solely on the lack of an International Driving Permit.

Legoland Florida’s water park doubles up on bricks

Sunday, March 10th, 2013

When the Legoland Florida water park reopenes for the season this weekend, guests will see even more figures and scenes constructed of Lego bricks. Two million bricks have been added since the Winter Haven water park opened last year, bringing its total to 4 million.

Legoland Florida Water park doubles up on bricks

Legoland Florida Water park doubles up on bricks

Sealife has strong representation among the new additions, including Moby Dick (made of more than 200,000 Duplo bricks) along the Build-A-Raft River and a shark (nearly 250,000) near the wave pool.

A 15-foot tall Lego Mermaid (176,000 bricks) now stands at the water park entrance amide water spouts and bubbles. Surfers, seahorses, clams and shells can also be seen.

Legoland has also added a hotdog vendor called Waveside Grill near the pool.

Legoland’s water park is only available as an add-on to a regular Legoland Florida ticket. (There is no water-park-only ticket.) A one-day pass to Legoland with water park is $91 ($81 for ages 3-12). There are discounts for Florida residents who pick a specific day and purchase tickets in advance. Floridians can also opt to buy an annual pass, which includes the water park, for $99.

Water park hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

The Legoland Florida calendar opens up a bit next week when it operates seven days a week during the Spring Break season. The park commonly is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays … and sometimes the water park only operates on weekends. To double-check the operating hours and days (and for other information), go to www.legoland.com.

Florida tourism hits new high

Sunday, February 24th, 2013

89.3 million people visited Florida in 2012, a new tourism record for the state.  In 2011, there were 2.3 percent less visitors, with the numbers coming in at 87.3 million.  These numbers were compiled in an annual report from the state’s tourism marketing firm, Visit Florida.  Interestingly, the report even goes so far as to break down the numbers by domestic and overseas visitors.  10.2 million of the tourists visiting Florida came from overseas and there were 1.2 percent more domestic visitors than last year.

Visit Florida Board of Directors Chairman Glenn Hastings said, “Surpassing the 10 million overseas visitor mark for the first time ever is a significant milestone for Florida’s tourism industry.  With over 10 percent of all Canadians traveling to Florida last year, we are exceedingly grateful for the loyalty of our friends and family to the North.”

British holidaymakers in Florida embroiled in bureaucratic bungling as they’re told they’ll need International Driving Permit – but won’t be punished if they don’t have one

Saturday, February 16th, 2013

As the main half-term holiday rush gets underway, British holidaymakers heading to Florida and planning to rent a car could find themselves embroiled in bureaucratic bungling.

Last month Florida’s legislature broke ranks with the other 49 American states and made it mandatory for overseas visitors to carry an International Driving Permit (IDP) as well as their national licence. Earlier this week, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles warned that any British driver who broke the new rule would face a mandatory court appearance and possibly jail.

Florida U-turn on International Driving Permit

Florida U-turn on International Driving Permit

Few British motorists carry the IDP, because the vast majority of holidays and business trips are to places that do not require it. The permits are issued by the AA and RAC by post, or in person at Post Offices – but only by 88 branches in the entire UK, which is less than one per cent of the total.

Leading car-rental companies changed their policies to reflect the new rule, and refused to hire vehicles to motorists who did not have the right paperwork. But last night officials in Florida said that while the law would remain on the statute, drivers who broke it would not be punished.

The department said: “The Florida Highway Patrol will defer enforcement of a law that requires visitors from outside the United States to have an International Driving Permit to drive lawfully in Florida”.

A foreign motorist without the IDP will still technically be breaking state law, and there are fears that anyone involved in an accident could face difficulties with insurance cover as a result. The AA is still recommending that travellers obtain the permit.

The official explanation given for the sudden change of heart was that “the law may potentially conflict with an international treaty”. It is widely believed that pressure from local tourism officials, the Foreign Office and motoring organisations triggered the abrupt change of mind. “The Sunshine State is doing business as usual,” the statement added. “Florida’s doors and roadways are open as usual to all visitors.”

About one million UK citizens visit Florida annually. Rosie Sanderson, who runs the AA’s International Division, said the new law “has thrown the fly-drive market into chaos, with a lot of conflicting advice”.

Rental companies are expected to revoke their rule changes, though the process of informing customers and staff may not take place quickly enough to benefit British families flying to Florida this weekend.