Minister On Issues Using Driving Licence Abroad

February 2, 2017

Some Bermudians have experienced difficulty renting vehicles abroad using a Bermuda Driving Licence, and the Minister said this is because that Bermuda is not a signatory to an international Convention which allows for drivers licence reciprocity across 178 countries, and unless Bermuda is prepared to have the Treaty extended to Bermuda, Bermudians will continue to have issues using a Bermuda Driving Licence abroad.

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Minister of Tourism, Transport and Municipalities Michael Fahy said, “Bermudians have been experiencing some difficulty in renting vehicles out of Boston’s Logan Airport using a Bermuda Driving Licence.

“The problem appeared to be limited to one car rental agency. As a result of this the Ministry of Tourism, Transport and Municipalities commenced discussions with the State of Massachusetts to consider entering into an agreement for the recognition of the Bermuda Driving Licence in that jurisdiction.

“Those discussions were going well. However, the Ministry was made aware of sporadic problems in Canada and South Africa, and major issues in the Azores.

“The reason for this is that Bermuda is not a signatory to the Geneva Convention on Road Traffic 1949 which essentially allows for reciprocity in the recognition of licences across 178 different countries, including Cayman Islands, Anguilla and other small island nations.

“In short, unless Bermuda is prepared to have the Treaty extended to Bermuda, Bermudians will continue to have issues using a Bermuda Driving Licence when renting or using vehicles abroad.

“As part of the Government’s commitment to consult stakeholders prior to bringing into force any legislation, the Ministry is in the process of consulting key stakeholders that could be affected if the Treaty were to be extended to Bermuda.

“We have met with the Bermuda Taxi Owners and Operators Association, taxi dispatchers and the two mini-bus associations thus far to advise them of this issue and we shall shortly be speaking with the local driving instructors, and the Bermuda Police Service.

“We shall also reach out the local insurance companies. In short, reciprocity of recognition of driving credentials would mean that visitors to Bermuda will be able to use their licences to drive a car in Bermuda – although we are also exploring what reciprocity restrictions we may be able to place on such recognition.

“The Ministry wishes to be absolutely clear that this is not a precursor to the implementation of rental cars and is unrelated to any activity regarding the America’s Cup.

“Rather we wish to ensure that Bermudians are able to travel unhindered to other jurisdictions and use and/or rent vehicles abroad when they travel for holiday, business or medical reasons.

“We have commenced discussions with Government House on how the Treaty might be extended to Bermuda but are keen to speak directly with all stakeholders so they have an opportunity to hear first-hand the issues and give an opportunity for comment and raise any concerns.

“Thus far, our meetings have been very fruitful. It is our view that the impact on our public service vehicles will be minimal but it is important that their concerns if any are heard and addressed.

“We must balance those with the inconvenience to the Bermuda public when they travel if they are unable to rent/use cars abroad. We shall keep the public updated, accordingly.”

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Comments (48)

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  1. asampson says:

    Did that actually say anything?

    • Vesper Lynn says:

      Sampson nothing was really said except we are discussing this! What is there to discuss. Get the treaty done yesterday. Really, how many foreigners are coming her to rent cars. None! Only drivers who qualify for an insured vehicle will be able to use a car in Bermuda anyway. What’s the worry? We drive in the left side and the right side when we travel and we usually come back in one piece. Why should people from outside of Bermuda have a different standard?
      Shaking my head.

      • asampson says:

        THANK YOU…..but that would require a decision LOL

      • Clint Eastwood says:

        He’s giving the public a chance to raise any concerns (complain) about things now, so that after the deal is done we don’t have to hear the whining about lack of transparency and conspiracy theories.

        For that, I say thank you LOL.

        • Fisherman says:

          We complain about tourists on bikes, we sign the treaty it would mean the tourists can drive cars here. We also complain about the number of vehicles on the road, not enough parking in the city – HELLOOO!!

          • James H says:

            We have to give something to get something. Sign it already!

          • sage says:

            How can they drive cars if they aren’t available for rent? Steal them? Problems renting cars is probably as a direct result of us demanding that the 80 vehicles to be imported for AC35 must be driven soley by Bermudians ( not a peep about that since, mind you), and when they were talking about rental mini-cars Fahy said tourists would have to get a Bermuda license, soon after reports about Mass. rental companies not recognizing our “licenses” were in the news. I bet there were no cases from 1949 until 2016 at least I have never heard of it.

            • James H says:

              My brother who will visit from the UK this June would be able to drive my car while I am at work. It’s not all about rentals.

          • What?? says:

            This will not alter the number of cars on the road. It will simply allow a visitor to drive a local’s car.

            • Calamityjane61 says:

              Any update on this? I’ve been coming from the uk to Bermuda almost every year for 20 years but still I can’t drive my brothers car, who is a resident. It’s so annoying, road rules same as uk etc etc. we know you can’t have rental cars, there is no room for any more cars, but seriously, let me just drive my brothers car to the grocery store ffs!!!!

    • Vesper Lynn says:

      If you check the Massachusetts rules, drivers from Cuba can drive on their roads. CUBA! But not Bermudians!

    • RBYC member says:

      Fahy you need to worry about winning the 2017 election and leave that alone before you stare up a BEES NEST like you did with the Pathway to Bermuda Status. You alone cause a mass walk out in the streets of Hamilton by supporters in both PLP & OBA. If you stick that nose out anymore it will bring attention to the problem and might affect us with other car rental companies in the United States.

      You can always drive in Canada Fahy I wonder why.

      • Clint Eastwood says:

        1) Actually he’s doing his job, dealing with a situation that has affected many Bermudians negatively when they travel.
        He’s giving the public an update (unheard of?) on an issue that many people want to be fixed quickly.

        2) Newsflash: not everyone in Bermuda was against the Pathways issue.

        3) We can all drive in Canada, what’s your point?

        • Ja says:

          Everyone was that’s why the oba back down. Now go back to Canada where you came from.

          • James H says:

            Not true. Just a few trouble makers outsid parliament. Mental cases mostly.

    • And Americas Cup brings in their vehicles

  2. Slow and Steady says:

    If you don’t let our citizens drive in your jurisdiction we won’t let your citizens drive in ours. I’m surprised more states haven’t taken this position.

  3. M.C. Beauchamp says:

    Hilariously funny. Bermuda really is another world. Better sign that treaty or the Bermudian license won’t be worth the plastic it’s wrapped in outside Bermuda.

  4. Sandgrownan says:

    Just sign the damn thing

    • …now… forget poncing around about Brexit.

    • serengeti says:

      The problem if he were to sign it without jumping through all these stupid hoops is that the perennial complainers would whine about how they were ‘not consulted’. So we have to exist without action for another few months. Otherwise we know that usual complainers will come out and say they’re ‘concerned’ and ‘the minister should resign’ blah blah blah.
      That’s why it takes so long to do any simple thing around here.

  5. Chaos Theory says:

    It is not quite that straight forward. Bermuda is not a signatory as it was not extended to Bermuda by the UK (most probably at our request). The reference to Cayman is a bit of a red herring as they were grandfathered when Jamaica when independent (Cayman was a dependency of Jamaica prior to its independence). The UK specifically reserved the right to extend the convention to any jurisdiction over which it had authority for international relations (i.e. like Bermuda).

    While we could have a specific deal with Mass. for recognition, we would need to do that on a case by case basis (i.e. Vermont) on every other jurisdiction that incorporates the Geneva Convention into their rules. Also, as it is an international agreement, we would need to get permission from the UK (or an entrustment) for each one – which is plain stupid.

    I say just ask the UK to extend the Geneva Convention to Bermuda, and tell all the taxi drivers and other complainers to go to hell (I expect the PLP/BIU/PC to object as a matter of course, but that would be standard operating procedure. )

  6. Kangoocar says:

    Attention all xenophobes! Either you get over you xenophobic ways and accept that tourists should be able to drive cars locally, or soon, none of us will be able to drive in the US! I can tell you there is more to this because other cars rentals have recently come out and said they will not rent to Bermudians, and it is in other states! We can’t only have it our way!

  7. Triangle Drifter says:

    Hmmmm…so how about Bermudians who own vehicles in the US? Guess they are driving illegally too.

    • Clint Eastwood says:

      Guess they just turn the key and go lol

    • Arthur - Atlanta says:

      Maybe they (like me) have a US driver license also.

      • Beware – can’t use your UK licence (or renew it) if you are not resident there. So UK persons may be unlicenced/uninsured. Can we get “international licences”? Maybe our Governor can represent us on this?

        • Bronya Hillier says:

          not true, call DVLA in uk and they will send your uk license to Bermuda address, just done it

        • What?? says:

          The international license is not actually a license. It’s simply an certified translation of your current license.

  8. James H says:

    Yet another way Bermuda thinks she is ‘special’. Just sign the agreement already. Should have been done decades ago.

  9. Yur joking says:

    So how are tourists supposed to rent these new rental cars that are coming…??? They don’t have local license and we don’t accept foreign license ??

  10. Kathy says:

    We need reciprocity. End of story. Sign what needs to be signed and get on with it!

  11. The kid says:

    get a grip, sign the treaty

  12. Aware says:

    Back in the day there may have been sense to this, now there is none. Good on you Michael Fahy for giving interested parties a chance to speak up before you have ahead, however hopefully all will agree this is the way forward. As one specific area, it would mean that family house guests could drive the host’s car when they are at work. Mine as an example rarely take a cab, are too elderly now for bikes, so this would be a real advantage. They would then go out and about during their visit buying lunch, visiting tourist areas etc. win win.

    • Calamityjane61 says:

      And try getting a cab to even come out to places like The Narrows, no way! Yes house guests using residents cars is what is needed. Don’t need rental cars, everyone knows that’s not a good idea, too many cars on the road.

  13. Will says:

    This has more to do with transferring of licenses than it does with car rentals. It’s stupid that as a bermudian in order to get a uk license you have to do all the testing again whereas an American license can transfer automatically even though driving is completely different in the two countries. This has to do with governement trying to squeeze every penny out of people here in Bermuda as we all know the reason you can’t transfer a license here is tcd and driving instructors lose out but it’s time to move with the rest of the world on this and many other issues before we’re are left in the dark ages.

  14. This is a major problem. Technically my UK licence is not valid if I am resident elswhere which means I have to rely on my Bermuda licence. This is unacceptable. Sign the convention.

  15. But if he signs it, wont PLP protest? and call a strike!! smdh

  16. Simons says:

    Why cant we fall under the same as UK Geneva Convention?, after all this is UK territory. Think tank needed. Sounds like an insurance issue on the rental cars in some areas.

  17. Just the Tip says:

    Just wondering but what else happens when we sign the Treaty? Are there requirements that need to be met? Does this effect other laws that we might have?

  18. overboard says:

    Sign, and lots get on with it.

  19. James H says:

    Once again, Bermuda needs to be dragged forward into last century. Sign the damn thing!

  20. Walter Burgess says:

    This issue is not new for those of us you travel to the Azores.

    I have been in communications as of Sept 2016 with Bda Government, (Premier Dunkley, Minister of Transportation, Azores Government) and to date while Premier Dunkley has always been the only person that has replied to my emails he as not detailed the true issue at hand.

    This article goes along way in explaining what has the problem is, (not sure why this could not have been shared by Premier at outset) its not to difficult for the average person to understand.

    Now the issue is what will the OBA do and when will they do it????

  21. Name of rental company says:

    The Minister stated one rental company in particular in Azores, does any one know the name of the rental company?

  22. James says:

    There is no insurance issue.
    It is the vehicle that is insured in Bermuda. Not the driver.
    The insurance companies would like you to believe otherwise.
    Years ago a guy was killed on a bike he had bought from someone who had left the island. The insurance policy was still in force and they paid out for the damage to the other party. Because they had to.