/ 55 minutes to write a ticket ("mandat karny")?
Well, here's the text of the original international driving treaty, known as the "Geneva Convention on Road Traffic" from 1949:
Article 1, section 2 states: No Contracting State shall be required to extend the benefit of the provisions of this Convention to any motor vehicle or trailer, or to any driver having remained within its territory for a continuous period exceeding one year.
Now, depending on whether the country in question issues or recognizes the Geneva convention of 1949 or the Vienna convention of 1968, the validity may be for one (Geneva) or three (Vienna) years. The Vienna agreement supercedes the Geneva agreement.
The US wasn't a signatory to the 1968 Vienna agreement, and Poland was, but Poland recognizes the Geneva convention, so your US-issued IDP is valid in Poland. IDPs are only valid for one year, however they can be renewed (technically they aren't renewed, you simply get a new one).
Ok, so the treaty which Poland recognizes but isn't signatory to any more says it's OPTIONAL as to whether or not a country must recognize IDPs if someone has lived in their territory for a year or more. Oh, and there was also a European agreement from 1971 which supplements the 1968 agreement.
Now, when it comes to driving, there are some EU directives, such as Directive 91/439/EEC , which apply to Poland, and there are some Polish laws regarding licenses which may also apply.
Personally, I've never seen any *definite* information on whether or not an IDP is recognized in Poland if you've been living here for a year or more. Considering you were stopped and allowed to go with an IDP and Karta Pobytu, I'd say that's strong anecdotal evidence that you *can* do so.
And P.S. : Dammit Harry, post sooner! (grin)