Monday, March 25, 2013
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Gwinnett Daily Post
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.