International Drivers License

Old Apr 11th, 2003, 07:19 AM
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International Drivers License

We're renting a car for one day while in
Florence this summer.

Will I need to have an International drivers
license, or just be sure to carry along my
US license??
Thanks!
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Old Apr 11th, 2003, 07:24 AM
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DRJ
 
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This topic has been discussed on the Slowtraveler board. I've been to Italy nine times in the past five years and only the last two have I had an IDL, but I wouldn't go back without it. Technically, your US license is no good in Italy.
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Old Apr 11th, 2003, 07:37 AM
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Actually, the international license is not a stand alone document; it is dependent on your home license. Therefore, don't leave your US license behind when you go. Austria also gives out the official word that you need an international license, but Avis representatives in my 2 rentals there have not yet asked for me to show one.

In Switzerland, I have rented a car 4 times and nothing has ever been said about an International license.
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Old Apr 11th, 2003, 07:57 AM
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Technically it is an International Driving Permit (IDP), and as pointed out above, it is not a driving license so you must carry your regular license as well. It is a translation of your regular license into several languages. Some countries require them; some recommend them; some don't care. Even in many of the countries that require one, the police won't ask for it--it's intended to assist policeindividuals who don't speak the language on the driving license. But I suppose you could always run into a policeindividual who is a stickler for the rules.
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Old Apr 11th, 2003, 08:12 AM
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The comment by the flying Rufus is correct. I just pulled my permit out and right on the front: International Driving Permit. Another sentence states "Your valid U.S. driver's license must accompanyd the IDP at all times."

The thing that gripes me is that you have to spend $10.00 each year to get one of the silly things.

I have purchased an IDP just to be ultra conservative; one of those "just in case some rascal wants to see it" defensive moves. So far, no one has ever asked me for it. Fortunately, I have yet to engage any type of European law enforcement official in conversation. Such an event is not on my list of tourist attractions.
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Old Apr 11th, 2003, 08:56 AM
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Liz,
This issue has come up so many times with all kinds of answers about International Drivers Permits/Licenses, etc.

So, in an effort to clear this up, I called the Italian Gov't Tourist Board in NYC.

The jist of the conversation:
1. Legally, you should have a written translation (into Italian )of your US License Data. I asked if this could be written on plain paper and the agent said "I guess so" meaning if you're fluent in the language, that would get you by. Not fluent in Italian; they
_recommend_ the AAA International Drivers PERMIT. He (kind of) laughed when I mentioned other IDLs saying, get the AAA one... La Polizia know it well and can readily find the info they need.

2. Most officers will not request anything more than your US license but...hey, you never know (read 1 above).

Have a great trip.

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Old Apr 11th, 2003, 09:19 AM
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Hi

my understanding is :

you can use your home driving license as a tourist for a limited period, typically 3 months.

If it is in a foreign language you should carry a certified translation.

An IDL is the cheapest form of certified translation ! It is used with the home license, not instead of.

I'm not certain how this impacts use in the EU. Any EU license is valid in any EU country regardless of language. However they are standardised e.g. box 2 is the same for all of them. I don't think you could read into this that a license from say, Brazil, is valid because it is in Portuguese which is an EU language. I rather think an IDL would be required in this case for use in EU countries outside Portugal.

Peter
http://tlp.netfirms.com
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Old Apr 11th, 2003, 09:23 AM
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Gino
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mj
Did you ask them if you could use last years IDP AAA translation? They are supposed to expire after one year but I wonder why, the translation is still there as they require. The only thing that has changed is the year.
 
Old Apr 11th, 2003, 10:22 AM
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We are probably the only people here who have had 3 encounters with European police regarding driving. At least they make for good stories to tell your friends when you get home. At no time have we needed an IDP, so we quit spending the money on them.

In Krakow we were really, really lost and could not figure out how to get into the walled city and on all the one way streets to our hotel. It was also dark out and raining (really bad time to be driving there). After about the 5th try to get into the walled area my husband was certain he had it figured out. Well, unfortunately he was going the wrong way on the road around the main square. Soon there were lots of flashing police lights. We tried English, French and German, but they only spoke Polish. They did accept a US license with no hassle, and when we were finally able to communicate our problem, they were nice enough to lead us to our hotel.

In Romania our parked car was hit by another driver. Even though the damage was very very minor this entailed a trip to the police station and an hour's worth of paperwork one day and a trip to the other driver's insurance company the next day. Once again, nothig was said about an IDP.

In France last summer all of our hubcaps were stolen when the car was parked outside of our hotel overnight. Once again a trip to the police station to report the theft and more paperwork to complete. Our US license was just fine. That's why we don't bother any more with an IDP.
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Old Apr 11th, 2003, 10:38 AM
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Thanks for all the great input - especially thanks to mj, who phoned the
Italian Tourist Board!
We'll ponder the pros and cons (cost) of getting one.
Appreciate the help!!
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Old Apr 11th, 2003, 01:32 PM
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Hi

I see the comments above.
My advice is take one.

There is a difference in having hubcaps stolen and something more serious.

If you had the misfortune to kill someone :

the local police would be more serious

your car rental company and their insurance would search very hard to see a means of declining the claim.

Maybe this cynicism (realism ?) is the result of age !

Peter
http://tlp.netfirms.com



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Old Apr 11th, 2003, 02:27 PM
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mj
 
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Gino,
No, I didn't think to ask.

I don't have an IDP/IDL and have driven thruout Europe for ~20 years with my NYS license only.

In that time I've been stopped only once for speeding - radar trap coming out of St. Gotthard Tunnel. Officer told me it was to catch "crazy Italian drivers" and he did not ask for an IDP. May have been helpful that I could speak to him in German and then we switched to French when he told me it (French) was his native language.

So Eliz, if you don't trust or can't speak Italian, get the IDP from AAA.
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Old Apr 11th, 2003, 02:31 PM
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Pulling off of the Autostrada near Assisi last week we were stopped by Italian police - they wanted car rental documents, Passports ( carry yours at all times ) AND my international Driver's License - they were not interested in my state license. They were stopping every other car to check documents. Worth the $10 to avoid problems.
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