Cayman licences no good in US

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.

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7 COMMENTS

  1. We have never ever been questioned regarding our Cayman Islancs drivers licenses either in the States ( at car rental agencies) or in Europe. This story does not make sense.

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  2. Bruiser, Law is one thing and what you get away with at Car rentals is another thing. In fact the CI driver’s license is not valid in most countries in Americas or Europe.

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  3. THe innocent will suffer for the quilty in this case.

    This is an individual who probably relocated to the Cayman Islands, obtained a Cayman drivers licence and caused mayhem on the roads in the United States.

    The fact that he wss driving on a Cayman drivers licence now reflects on all Caymanians who have visited the USA and driven on their licences responsibly over many years….

    It only takes ‘one bad apple’ to spoil the entire barrel.

    Caymanians need to wake up to the fact that recently Caymanians have committed serious crimes in the USA that have not gone unnoticed or unreported…

    Be prepared for the withdrawal of even more privileges for Caymanians travelling abroad if this trend continues.

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  4. We have now found out that since Cayman is not part of the International Conventions that accept driving licenses from other countries even an International Drivers License issued here is considered invalid.

    This is something that must be corrected.

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  5. Bruiser

    The Cayman Islands is not on the list of British Overseas Territories or Commonwealth countries that has a drivers licence treaty with the United Kingdom, either.

    Cayman Islands drivers licences are not transferrable automatically in the United Kingdom eg but the BVI licences are because the BVI has a treaty with Britain on the mutual acceptance of drivers licences.

    What had happened in the United States is that travelling Caymanians built up such a good reputation and goodwill with the rental car companies over the years, especially in the Folrida area, that no questions were asked of Caymanians renting cars, except to see a valid drivers licence and a credit card.

    What happens, technically, is that an international driving permit is issued automatically along with the rental agreement but that is an internal matter for the renting company for insurance purposes.

    If a visitor, for example, gets a speeding ticket while driving a rental car in the USA, the ticket is recorded on his/her foreign licence and if the ticket is not paid, that licence is ‘flagged’ and should the same driver be caught driving again in the USA, he/she is treated the same as a US drivers licence holder who owes and outstanding ticket; the drivers licence is suspended until the ticket and fines are paid.

    What has been reported here has always been the case regarding driving private vehicles in the USA and a Cayman licence holder who was driving a private vehicle in the USA had a responsibility to get an international permit to drive issued in the CAYMAN ISLANDS before travelling and driving in the USA.

    Accidents do happen and this accident has opened a ‘can or worms’ that most residents of the Cayman Islands were not aware of.

    Most have blissfully driven in foreign countries in their Cayman licences thinking all was OK, not realising that the rules were being bent to accomodate visitors.

    Causing a serious accident, however, changes that entire scenario completely, just as it would if it had happened in the Cayman Islands.

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  6. Yes, there is actually.

    It was always a good practice for anyone travelling to and expecting to drive in any foreign country to first check on the driving licences policies and international driving licences treaties in place in that country.

    Even in the USA, those policies vary from state to state.

    Florida, for example, has a more relaxed policy on visitors driving on their home country licences than say, Kentucky.

    The difference being that Florida is a tourist-oriented, high-visitor state, while Kentucky isn’t so the policies in place will reflect that.

    If people holding Cayman Islands drivers licences intend to drive private vehicles in the USA, they will need to be sure that their regular insurance adequately covers them driving abroad and apply and obtain an international driving permit; there is no such thing as an ‘international drivers licence’

    From the Cayman side of things, an international permit to drive in a foreign country has always been available from the RCIPS Traffic Dept, based on having a Cayman Islands licence in good standing and with Cayman, or Great Britain having a driving licences treaty with the country in question.

    It’s a drivers responsibility to check out all rules and regulations if they intend to drive abroad.

    A question that needs to be addressed is why the Cayman Islands does not have a drivers licences treaty with the United Kingdom .

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