Where the Rubber Meets the Road

Growing up, your parents could be held legally responsible for at least some damages caused by your negligent driving. 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 proof of residency and age, pass a vision test, a written exam, and driving skills test to get a license. You will also need to fill out an application, have your picture taken, and pay a fee.

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.
Once you own the car, you are required to get it registered and have insurance to legally drive the car on Idaho roads. 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 car insurance.
You are required to carry proof of 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.
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 three years.
Under the point system, the Department of Motor Vehicles 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 against the law for someone driving a car to read, write, or send a message by text or to a social media site like Facebook or Snap Chat. This infraction is considered a moving violation.

Laws Every Driver Should Know

In the Alcohol & Drugs section of this website, you will find information about the consequences of driving under the influence or possession of alcohol or drugs. But, there are other laws you should know as well. And, it’s 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: If you drive your car with a blatant disregard for the rules of the road in a way that endangers yourself, property, and others, it 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: You must stop after an accident 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 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 of age.
  • Unattended Vehicle: It is against the law to leave your vehicle running or the key in the ignition when you are not in the car.
  • Road Rage: Sometimes another driver will cut you off or almost cause an accident, but if you get angry and try to retaliate, it is considered road rage.
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