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Monday, January 21, 2013

The Polish Police and The International Driving License

It finally happened ... I got a 500zl (yes, 500zl!) ticket from a cop for driving without an International Driving License (IDL). Can you imagine how pissed off I am? I think you can. The IDL is probably the biggest scam since cigarette companies tried to convince us that smoking was actually OK and healthy.

From all I can tell, possession of the IDL proves only that you have paid the money to get one. It has no other value. It does not prove I have insurance. It does not prove that I know the laws of driving in Poland. It proves absolutely nothing. For the life of me, I cannot figure out its purpose other than someone, somewhere is making some money off of people. It also gives the Polish government more revenue because of the insane cost of the citation. I can understand ticketing a person for some sort of endangering behavior. Speeding or jaywalking are good examples. But to ticket someone for not having a document? It is absurd. Even the cop who gave me the ticket could not explain why I needed and IDL. Either he was stupid or didn't care or realized he had no appropriate answer because he could see the absurdity as well.

Here is my theory: If and when the US allows Polish citizens to travel to the US without a visa, then Poland will suspend this silly and expensive practice of requiring an IDL.


  1. Oh I am angry because of that such a stupid rule of IDL. I'd call it worse but I just don't wanna cuss. But this is just how world works - a lot of people want only to defraud each other. I can imagine how mad you were but I hope that unfortunate situation will bring only awesome experiences from now. I hope you're calmer now.
    And about your theory, I think it would be like this too. Actually I'd be happy of having freedom of going to US but I don't seem it'll happen quickly

  2. I got angry just reading this! I'm so sorry to hear that!
    It reminded me of a situation when I was driving in Poland on a FL license but the outcome was VERY different. I was dropping off a friend late at night - it was a very short drive. I had lost my Polish DL years ago, and didn't have an IDL. A cop pulled me over in my home town, and I discovered I hadn't even brought any documents such as insurance or registration card. The cop (a woman) looked at my FL DL. I offered that I could drive home (a few minutes away), and get the appropriate documents. She let me go (!!!), I came back, and we chatted about her living in New York some years before. She told me that I would need to have all the documents in the car while driving.
    In your situation - the fact that the cop couldn't even explain the need was ridiculous!!