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Idaho New Resident Guide

Welcome to Idaho! As a new driver to this state you will need to be aware of our unique traffic laws and regulations. Here's what you need to keep in mind while driving in Idaho. Some of these rules may be the same as what you're already used to, but others will be drastically different!

Licensing and Residency Requirements



  • New residents who will be operating motor vehicles must obtain an Idaho license after establishing residency even if they hold a valid unexpired driver's license from another state. This can occur before 90 days but residency is considered established after living 90 continuous days in Idaho (30 days for Commercial Driver's licenses).
  • If you are a new resident, you must register and title your vehicle(s) within 90 days.
  • Idaho law requires you to notify the DMV of any address change no more than 30 days after the move.


Graduated Licensing Program



Driver's Training Instruction Permit

Requirements

  • Must be at least 14 and 6 months.

Privileges and Restrictions

  • Permit is held by driver training instructor until driver training course is completed, and then given to teen.

Supervised Permit

Requirements

  • Must have completed driver training course.

Privileges and Restrictions

  • May only drive when supervised by a person who holds a valid driver's license and is at least 21 years of age.
  • The supervising driver must be the only passenger in the front seat.

Driver's License

Requirements

  • Must be 15 years old.
  • If under 17, must have completed an approved driver training course.
  • Must have accumulated at least 50 hours (10 at night) of supervised driving over a minimum 6-month period.
  • Must have passed written knowledge test and road skills test, may be taken as soon as 6 months from the date you complete the driver's training course OR age 17, whichever comes first.

Privileges and Restrictions

  • Teens under 16 years of age are restricted to daylight driving only, unless accompanied by a supervising person who holds a valid driver's license and is at least 21 years of age. Daylight hours are considered as 1/2 hour before sunrise to 1/2 hour after sunset. There are no exceptions to this restriction.
  • Teens under 17 years of age, during the first 6 months of licensure, are restricted to carrying one passenger who is under 17 years of age, unless the passenger is related by blood, marriage or adoption.
  • At 17 years of age, or after the first 6 months of licensure, supervised driving is no longer required and passenger restrictions end.
  • Any violation, including an alcohol violation, during the supervised permit period, will result in cancellation of the permit. The teen must purchase a new permit and start the 6-month supervised driving period over again.


Violation Point Counts

The amount of points that go against your driver's license for specific types of violations.



4 Point Violations

  • Excessive acceleration
  • Excessive speed
  • Racing on public highways
  • Overtaking and passing school bus
  • Duty upon Striking Fixtures Upon, or Adjacent to, a Highway - Failure to take reasonable steps to locate and notify property owner of his name and address, insurance company, motor vehicle registration number, and show driver's license
  • Duty Upon Striking Unattended Vehicle - Failure to locate and notify vehicle owner or leave written notice
  • Willful failure to give Information in accident involving damage to a vehicle
  • Failure to follow requirements for stopping at uncontrolled train crossing
    • Stop, listen, and look in both directions
    • Do not change gears manually while crossing
  • Failure to obey Signal Indicating Approach of Train

3 Point Violations

  • Inattentive Driving
  • Improper turning, lane change, or merge; or failure to signal
  • Failure to Yield
    • At a signed intersection
    • At a stop sign
    • When entering highway from anywhere other than another highway
    • To oncoming traffic when turning left
    • At an uncontrolled intersection
    • To pedestrian in crosswalk
  • Failure to obey traffic control devices
  • Speeding violation in a school zone
  • Speeding violation in a construction zone
  • Minimum speed violation
  • Failure to stop before entering roadway from Alley, Driveway, or Building
  • Improper U Turn
  • Following too closely
  • Improper passing on the highway
  • When approaching or being approached by an emergency or police vehicle with lights and sirens activated
    • Failure to yield right of way
    • Failure to pull over and stop
  • When approaching a stationary police vehicle or emergency vehicle displaying flashing lights
    • Failure to reduce speed
    • If on a multi-lane highway or road, failure to move to a lane not adjacent to the vehicle
  • Failure to Exercise Due Care to avoid collision with pedestrian or human-powered vehicle

2 Point Violations

  • Driving through a safety zone
  • Improper passing on the right
  • Willful failure to comply with traffic direction by peace officer, fireman, or school crossing guard

1 Point Violations

  • Improper backing
  • Driving the wrong way on a one-way highway
  • Driving the wrong way on a multi-lane, two-way highway
  • Driving across a center barrier on a divided highway, or onto or from a controlled access highway except at designated entrances and exits

How long points remain on record

  • Convictions and points assessed are entered on each driver's record and points are maintained for three years after the conviction date.
  • Once every three years, drivers may reduce their point total by three points if they complete an approved defensive driving course. The course must be taken before a suspension for accumulation of points takes place. A point reduction can only be applied on an Idaho driver's license record.
12 to 17 points (in any 12 months)30 day suspension
18 - 23 points (in any 24 months)90 day suspension
24 or more points (in any 36 months)6 month suspension


Insurance Requirements



  • All drivers in Idaho must carry proof of liability insurance, a law referred to as "Proof of Financial Responsibility."
  • Drivers must carry insurance in the following amounts:
    • Twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) because of bodily injury to or death of one person in any one accident.
    • Fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) because of bodily injury to or death of two or more persons in any one accident.
    • Fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000) because of injury to or destruction of property of others in any one accident.


Headlight Laws



You must dim your headlights from high to low beam when you are within 500 feet of an oncoming vehicle or within 200 feet of a vehicle traveling ahead of you.

You must use your headlights:

  • When driving between sunset and sunrise.
  • When visibility has been reduced to below 500 feet.

There is no specific law allowing or prohibiting headlight flashing.



Implied Consent Laws



  • First Refusal - Suspension for 1 year.
  • Second refusal (within 10 years) - Suspension for 2 years.
  • Civil penalty of $250.


DUI Penalties



First Offense (Misdemeanor)

  • Up to 6 months imprisonment;
  • Up to $1,000 fine;
  • 30 days - 150 days license suspension;
  • Alcohol education and treatment may be required by the court;
  • Court may require ignition interlock during probation period.

First Offense (BAC greater than or equal to 0.20) (Misdemeanor)

  • 10 days - 1 year imprisonment;
  • Up to $2,000 fine;
  • 1 year license suspension after release from confinement;
  • Alcohol education and treatment may be required by the court;
  • Court may require ignition interlock during probation period.

Second Offense (within 10 years) (Misdemeanor)

  • 10 days - 1 year imprisonment;
  • Up to $2,000 fine;
  • 1 year license suspension after release from confinement;
  • Alcohol education and treatment may be required by the court;
  • Court may require ignition interlock during probation period.

Second or Subsequent Offense (BAC greater than or equal to 0.20) (within 5 years of a previous 0.20 BAC) (Felony)

  • 30 days - 5 years imprisonment;
  • Up to $5,000 fine;
  • 1 to 5 years license suspension after release from confinement;
  • Alcohol education and treatment may be required by the court;
  • Court may require ignition interlock during probation period.

Third and Subsequent Offense (within 10 years) (felony)

  • 30 days - 10 years imprisonment;
  • Up to $5,000 fine;
  • 1 to 5 years license suspension after release from confinement;
  • Alcohol education and treatment may be required by the court;
  • Court may require ignition interlock during probation period.

Child Endangerment

A person over 18 operating a vehicle in violation of drunk driving laws while transporting a minor is an offense.

  • No injury or death (misdemeanor) - up to 6 months imprisonment, up to $1,000 fine.
  • Injury or death (felony) - up to 10 years imprisonment (unless a more severe penalty is otherwise prescribed by law).


Open Container Law



The Open Container Law prohibits possession of an open alcoholic beverage container in the passenger area of any motor vehicle, by any occupant of the vehicle, on any public highway or right of way, whether or not the vehicle is in motion.



Red Light Violation Fines



Idaho does not have a state law governing red light violation fines or use of traffic cameras for red light enforcement.



Construction Zone Penalties



Speeding violations are subject to a $50 enhanced fine, whether or not workers are present.



Turn Signal Information



On controlled-access highways and before turning from a parked position, signal your intention to turn or change lanes for at least five seconds. In all other situations, signal your intention to turn or change lanes at least 100 feet in advance.



Hazard Light Information



Hazard light use is permitted for the purpose of warning other drivers of the presence of a vehicular traffic hazard requiring the exercise of unusual care in approaching, overtaking or passing.



Funeral Procession Right-of-Way Laws



  • A funeral procession escort vehicle may direct the procession to proceed through an intersection or make any necessary movements without regard to any traffic control signals.
  • Processions must yield the right of way to emergency vehicles or when directed by a police officer.
  • Whenever the lead vehicle enters an intersection, the other vehicles may follow without regard to any traffic control signals, provided they exercise reasonable care.


School Bus Laws



Requirements

  • Vehicles are required to stop unless traveling on the opposite side of a highway of more than 3 lanes.

Penalties

  • Failure to stop and remain stopped when required will result in a $100 - $500 fine.


Bicyclist Passing Distance



There is no specific law regarding minimum safe passing distance.



Motorcycle Laws



Licensing

  • No person under 21 years of age may apply for or obtain a motorcycle endorsement on their driver's license without successful completion of an approved motorcycle rider training course.
  • Any person who applies for a motorcycle endorsement may be required to pass the motorcycle skills test.

Protective Gear

  • A helmet of a type and quality equal to or better than the standards established for helmets by the director of the ITD must be worn by operators or passengers under 18 years of age.

Headlights

  • Daytime headlight use not required.

Sharing the Road

  • Lane splitting is not authorized.
  • Motorcycles traveling side-by-side in a single lane is not addressed in state law.


Using the Shoulder to Pass



You may not drive off the roadway to pass on the right.



Passing Laws



Do Not Pass:

  • When approaching or upon a hill or curve;
  • When approaching within 100 feet of or traversing any intersection or railroad grade crossing;
  • When approaching within 100 feet of any bridge, viaduct, or tunnel.

When Being Passed:

  • Give way to the right in favor of the overtaking vehicle;
  • The overtaking vehicle may signal by honking its horn;
  • Do not increase the speed of your vehicle until completely passed by the overtaking vehicle.


Speed Limits



  • 75 mph on interstate highways;
  • 65 mph on State highways;
  • 55 mph in other locations;
  • 35 mph in residential, business, or urban districts.


Safety Belt and Child Safety Seat Laws



Safety Belts

  • Occupants 7 years and older must wear safety belts.
  • Police may not stop vehicles solely for belt law violations.
  • The fine for a first offense is $10.

Child Seats

  • Children 6 years and younger must be in a child seat, and may not use an adult safety belt.
  • Police may stop vehicles solely for child seat law violations.
  • The fine for a first offense is $79.


Emergency Vehicle Laws



Move Over

  • When you see any of these vehicles displaying flashing lights while stopped on or adjacent to the roadway:
    • Police or emergency vehicle;
    • Wreckers.
  • You must do the following:
    • If traveling on a highway with 2 or more lanes in the same direction, immediately reduce the speed of your vehicle below the posted speed limit, and change lanes into a lane that is not adjacent to such vehicle as soon as it is possible to do so in a reasonable and prudent manner.
    • If traveling on a highway with 1 lane for each direction of travel, immediately reduce the speed of your vehicle below the posted speed limit, and maintain a safe speed for the road, weather and traffic conditions until completely past the stationary police vehicle or authorized emergency vehicle.

Following

  • Do not follow a fire apparatus traveling in response to a fire alarm closer than 500 feet, or stop within 500 feet of any fire apparatus stopped in answer to a fire alarm.

Collision Procedures

  • Stop at the scene or as close as possible without obstructing traffic more than necessary, and remain at the scene until all requirements are fulfilled.
  • You must provide the following information to any other person involved in the accident, or any police officer at the scene of the crash:
    • Driver's name and address;
    • Vehicle registration number;
    • Show driver's license, proof of registration, and proof of liability insurance.
  • If on a divided, controlled access highway and the vehicle is capable of being driven safely, move the vehicle off the roadway if you are able to do so.
  • Notify the nearest police department immediately if the accident has resulted in injury, death, or property damage of $1,500 or more. If the driver is unable to make the report, any other occupant of the vehicle who is able to must do so.
  • Unattended vehicle or property:
    • If you have collided with a vehicle that is unattended, locate and notify the operator or owner of the driver's name and address and the owner's name and address. If you are unable to do so, leave a written notice providing this information and a statement of the circumstances.
    • If you have collided with other unattended property on or adjacent to a highway, locate and notify the owner of the driver's name and address, the vehicle registration number, the name of your insurance agent or company, and a statement of the circumstances. Show your driver's license upon request.


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