Bill would allow for driver's license reciprocity

ATLANTA -- Recognizing the driver's licenses of other countries could help Georgia with economic development, a Gwinnett lawmaker said.

State Rep. B.J. Pak, R-Lilburn, is sponsoring a bill that would allow the residents with certain foreign driver's licenses to forego the state's written and driving tests to receive Georgia licenses. The "reciprocity" law would also allow Georgians who reside in those countries the same courtesy, Pak said, citing an example of a military spouse living in Germany who could have to pay a large fee or spend hours of supervised driving without the agreement.

Pak said the bill would not affect illegal immigrants, who cannot receive a driver's license without documentation.

He also doesn't expect to see an affect on safety, since foreigners can now drive legally here during a short-term vacation, if the license is in English or they have an international version.

"Traffic laws are uniform no matter where you go," he said of the countries that have sought reciprocity, which include Germany, Canada and South Korea. But he added some countries won't qualify, like the United Kingdom, where people drive on the opposite side of the road.

"There's nothing that shows people driving with an international driver's license are a bigger risk," he said, adding that international driver's licenses have been the law since the 1940s. "I think the fear is overblown."

The reciprocity would be helpful for businesses who send employees to Georgia for short-term assignments but that are longer than the 30-day threshold the state has for obtaining a driver's license.

The proposal has passed the state House. It could come before the Senate this week, the last of the Legislature's 2013 session.


kevin 2 years, 6 months ago

NOT a good bill for people in Ga. Like we are now going to run over to another country and drive to test the law! This desperate lawmaker needs to be voted out.


Say_that_again 2 years, 6 months ago

You do realize that the only difference is taking a test?

Pro's: Requires less time to process, requires less paper work, has lower cost for the state.

Con's: Doesn't allow unnecessary discrimination against legal immigrants.


R 2 years, 6 months ago

Vision among others things...

Besides legal immigrants have valid methods right now to get a license. this isn't for them at all.

And if there is a cost to the state to administer, there's this really cutting edge thing called a fee - that can be charged to the applicant, since driving is a lifestyle choice, not a life requirement.


R 2 years, 6 months ago

Gee there are limitations to HB 475?

If you read the actual bill, there are no country restrictions, qualifications to become eligible or military spousal limitations - there are in fact NO limitations at all - it can truly be "everything" they tell you, and a whole lot more they haven't defined or even considered possible in its current text form.

Why I didn't think GA had military deployed overseas, for the longest time I thought that was USA or Uncle Sam. Sure wish the national military could negotiate terms of deployment with the hosting countries... Seems I recall that they in fact DO.

"Traffic laws are uniform no matter where you go,"

Yeah the signage and speed - not so much...

Anyone who has really traveled internationally knows this. And if you think we're bad around here, you haven't lived until you drive the "wrong way" down one way blind cornered streets in Italy, did you know its OK - if you honk your horn first? Signs say No! but the horn says Yes!...

This bill needs to be put on the back-burner and let simmer some more.

There are no limitations, it's too friggin broad as currently written, even if you are inclined to explore the possibly. Besides doesn't it seem strange to grant freedoms to those "just visiting" that aren't given to the citizens themselves? I mean we wouldn't want to confirm vision/eyesight or anything...

Just for moment, image you yourself have had a serious collision with such a holder, are you going to fly to Europe or "wherever" to deal with THEIR insurance company? This law as currently written doesn't even require an insurance carrier that has operations in the states... Mutual of Liberia this is going to get GOOD. No worries! why sure you can slug it out with an EU court...

Job growth? EMTs, hospitals and lawyers - check

Citizens - just hope they don't total that car you just paid 6.5 percent to register and if they did, enjoy getting to do so again with the replacement...

"Mayhem - he's everywhere and wherever this bill is, he's in the room grinning ear to ear...


Sandykin 2 years, 6 months ago

Several years ago, I spent a lot of time in Canada on business. We were allowed to drive there with our US licenses. They are on the metric system, so judging time, distance and speed was something of an issue, minor irritation, but still. They also did not use turn arrows. The green light simply flashed to let you know it was okay to make a left turn - something a Canadian customer had to clue me into.

I would imagine a reverse situation would happen with a Canadian driver here. How about intersections where U turns are permissible and where they are not? How to use a chicken lane? (I mean turn lane) School zones? Roads without speed limits marked? Would someone from another country know what speed to go? If you're going to be here a significant amount of time, how about being able to obtain a temporary license which would not require you to remit your license from your country of origin but would require you to pass a written test? Perhaps, you could even offer it online so that it could be complete ahead of your trip. Charging a reasonable fee could also generate some money that could go towards some of the local road projects.


dgh33 2 years, 6 months ago

The consequences of passing this bill must be considered. First, at least one legislator from another state has written to Georgia stating that if GA issues driver's licenses to people who don't speak English they will refuse to honor the Georgia license of people driving in their state. Will that happen? I don't know, but it could. They fear that a non-English speaker will not be able to read and understand the rules of the road in their state. And remember that a license is used for ID also. There are all kinds of devilment one can get into with a valid driver's license. BJ is a nice guy, but remember that he is the rep who killed the 2011 effort that would require mandatory English for GA Driver's license exams.


HonestIngine 2 years, 6 months ago

So now the illegals can get a GA license without even knowing our laws? Much less know our language... What is this country going too.?


Say_that_again 2 years, 6 months ago

You need to read the article again. It specifically states that this requires papers proving the applicant is legal. Illegals still will not be able to get a drivers license.


toby 2 years, 6 months ago

When they kill another person, then they can sue the state for not forcing them to learn how to drive. Must be a lawyer involved.


gamapleleaf 2 years, 6 months ago

This is frigthening on so many levels - no insurance requirement and who knows what kind of driver training, if any, the person may have received? The lawmakers won't allow this for a driver from England because of the opposite side of the road issue? I've driven in England and Scotland, as well as Japan, and I'd take the UK driver over the Asian any day. By the way toby, BJ Pak is a lawyer...


R 2 years, 6 months ago

Folks this bill has NO restrictions or requirements on how another country qualifies.

Just think of it as Capital Ethics reform for DMVS,

or AKA FEMA "Slow to respond with disappointing results,,,"


SuxBeanU 2 years, 6 months ago

just what we need, another solution to a non-existant problem. here ya' go another politician trying to look like he's working.


Kat 2 years, 6 months ago

People from foreign countries can already drive for up to one year in Georgia as long as they have a valid/unexpired license from their country. This is the info from GA DDS. If you are here longer you should be required to get a GA DL.


AliceJohnson 2 years, 6 months ago

BJ Pak obviously got contacted by one of his Korean business buddies who got stopped when driving and was angry. Wish I had a friend in the legislature like this!


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