If you have a Cayman Islands driver’s licence, you might want to think twice about driving a friend or relative’s car the next time you’re in the US.
According to New York State Police, Cayman Islands’ drivers licences aren’t valid internationally and are not considered legal licences anywhere in America.
“I thought this was common knowledge,” said local travel agent and former head of the US consulate office in Cayman, Gail Duquesnay.
The issue came up over this past weekend when a man with a Cayman Islands licence was involved in a fatal car accident north of Albany, the capitol of New York State.
State Police said Paul Mosticchio, 45, was charged with reckless driving in a crash along US Interstate 87 that caused the death of an 81-year-old passenger in another vehicle. According to published reports in New York media, Mr. Mosticchio was headed south-bound on the interstate when he swerved and clipped the back end of another vehicle.
The accident sent both cars off the road; Mr. Mosticchio’s into the median, and the victim’s car off the side of the freeway.
In addition to reckless driving, police said Mr. Mosticchio was charged with unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle. According to investigators, the Cayman Islands driver’s licence Mr. Mosticchio held does not have international status and does not make it legal for someone to drive in the US.
According to Mrs. Duquesnay, there are some exceptions to the rule.
First is if the driver is from the US and still possesses a valid US driver’s licence. For instance, if a US citizen who moved to Cayman from Florida in 2007 and had a valid licence in that state through 2010, they could still drive in the US legally with that licence. When it expired they would have to renew.
Those who rent vehicles in the US are also allowed to purchase temporary driver’s licences for their rental vehicles.
“You cannot use a Cayman Islands driver’s licence if it’s a private vehicle,” Mrs. Duquesnay said. “Technically, you wouldn’t be covered by (the private vehicle owner’s) insurance either.”
The Department of Vehicle Licensing does allow people to purchase one-year international driving licenses for CI$50 that would be valid in the US. However, those are separate pieces of identification and are different than local driver’s licences.
Bottom line; Mrs. Duquesnay said, unless you have a valid US driver’s licence, have bought an international licence, or are renting a car and purchasing a temporary licence, you should not drive in the US with a Cayman Islands licence.