A US news story that reported Cayman Islands driver’s licences were apparently not valid in the US actually turned out to be false, according to US law enforcement officials.
A report this weekend in several New York State media outlets quoted the New York State Police as saying Cayman Islands’ drivers licences aren’t valid internationally and are not considered legal licences.
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 quoted in US news reports, 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.
However, NY State Police Sergeant Kern Swoboda told the Caymanian Compass Monday that is not the case.
Sgt. Swoboda said the problem in Mr. Mosticchio’s case was that he had a suspended New Jersey driver’s licence and is legally listed as a resident of New Jersey.
If he had simply been a visitor to the US who was resident in Cayman, the Cayman Islands licence would have worked fine.
‘The issue was the suspended driver’s licence in New Jersey,’ Sgt. Swoboda said.
Generally, if a driver is from the US, has moved to Cayman and still possesses a valid US driver’s licence he or she is okay to drive in the states. 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.
Those who rent vehicles in the US are also allowed to purchase temporary driver’s licences for their rental vehicles.
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.