Bermuda drivers stunned by US state ban
In a surprise move, Bermuda driver’s licences have been deemed invalid by the state of Massachusetts, a destination popular with local travellers accustomed to using its roads.
The unannounced decision, in which international treaties were cited by the Massachusetts Motor Vehicle Agency, has caught local travellers off guard.
In response to a query from the local office of the United States Consulate General, the MVA confirmed that holders of Bermuda licences cannot rent cars or drive at all, as the island is not signatory to the Convention on the 1943 Regulation of Inter-American Automotive Traffic, as well as a 1949 United Nations Convention on Road Traffic.
However, Bermuda has never been included in the treaties, even while travellers from the island were free to drive. It is believed that the ban is the first such move made by any state.
With Boston one of the closest US gateway cities, and many Bermudians travelling to the state for medical and educational reasons as well as holidaying, the ban is likely to have widespread repercussions.
Among those taken by surprise was Malcolm Kirkland, who only learnt his licence was invalid at a car rental counter.
Mr Kirkland called it a “rude awakening at Enterprise Car Rental at Logan Airport”, saying he was mystified at the rationale for the ban. An inquiry with the Ministry of Transport by The Royal Gazette has been directed to Government House.
The move comes as Massachusetts unveils a new format for its driver’s licences, including new security features and identity protection.