Where the Rubber Meets the Road

Parents can be held legally responsible for at least some  damages caused by negligent driving of children under the age of 18. However, now that you are 18, it is your responsibility to know, and follow, the rules of the road.

Getting a Driver’s License

Before you turned 18, you had to get your parent’s permission and take a driver education class to get a driver’s license. When you
turn 18, you no longer need permission or a class, but you will need to provide: a birth certificate, your social security number, photo identification, and proof of Idaho residency. You will also be required to pass a vision test, a written knowledge test, and a driving skills test to get your driver’s license.

Owning a Car

When you buy a car, you will receive a Certificate of Title, which is the legal ownership document for your car. It displays your name and address and the name and address of any lien holder (like a bank or credit union) that gave you a loan to buy the car. The lein holder will hold the Certificate of Title until you have paid off the car loan.

Once you have possession of your vehicle, you are required to register it and have vehicle insurance to legally drive it. Although your parents may continue to carry you on their car insurance, it is no longer their responsibility. If your parents choose not to carry you on their insurance, you must purchase your own.

You are required by law to carry proof of liability insurance and registration with you in your car and show it to a police officer, upon request. If you cannot provide proof of insurance or registration, you may receive a fine and even lose your driving privileges. Idaho law was recently updated to allow drivers to show proof of insurance electronically from a smartphone app.

Moving Violations

A moving violation is any violation of the law that is committed by the driver of a vehicle while it is in motion. A complete list of moving violations can be found on the Idaho Transportation Department’s website, in the Idaho Driver Manual.

Idaho has a points system for moving violations. Each violation receives from one to four points, depending on the seriousness of the infraction. Points are entered on your driving record and maintained, for insurance purposes, for three years.

Under the point system, the DMV may take the following actions against you:

  • 12 to 17 points in any 12 month period will result in a 30-day suspension of your driver’s license
  • 18 to 23 points in any 24 month period will result in a 90-day suspension of your driver’s license
  • 24 or more points in any 36 month period will result in a 6-month suspension of your driver’s license

Some violations, like driving under the influence or failure to pay fines can result in the suspension of your driver’s license, regardless of how many points you have. In addition, any moving violations are reported to your insurance company, which can lead to an increase in the cost of your insurance premiums.

Texting & Driving

In Idaho, it is an infraction for a driver, when the car is in motion, to read or prepare any type of written communication. Unlike most infractions, this is exempt from a point accumulation against the driver’s license. Additionally, this infraction does not apply to voice-operated or hands free devices that allow the driver operate the device without the use of either hands except to activate, deactivate or initiate a feature or function.

Laws Every Driver Should Know

You must treat the privilege to drive on the road with the upmost seriousness and caution to avoid damage or death to either yourself or others. In the Alcohol & Drugs section of this publication you will find information about the consequences of driving under the influence or possession of alcohol or drugs.

There are other laws you should know as well. It is important to understand the violation of these laws can result in fines or the suspension of your driver’s license or both. Some violations can even result in jail time.

  • Reckless Driving: Driving your car with a blatant disregard for the rules of the road in a way that endangers yourself, property, and others, is considered reckless driving.
  • Speed Contests: You cannot race with other cars on the road.
  • Littering: You cannot throw litter or other objects from a moving vehicle.
  • Hit & Run: If you are in a crash in which a person or their property is injured or damaged, you must exchange personal and vehicle information for insurance purposes and report the accident to the police. Failure to do so is considered a hit and run accident.
  • Driving without a License: You must have a current and valid driver’s license to drive in Idaho. If you are driving and your license has been suspended or revoked, it is considered a misdemeanor.
  • Seat Belts: It is illegal to operate a car unless the driver and all passengers are wearing seat belts. Children under the age of 7 years old must be properly restrained in federally approved car seats or booster seats and cannot ride in the front seat of a car with an active airbag if they are under 20 pounds and less than one year old.
  • Unattended Vehicle: It is against the law to leave your vehicle unattended if it is running or the key is in the ignition.
  • Road Rage: Sometimes another driver will cut you off or almost cause a crash, but if you get angry and retaliate, it is considered road rage.