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Idaho Traffic Laws

From expansive highways to crowded traffic in Boise, driving in Idaho requires keeping track of many rules. Some of these driving rules are often misunderstood or ignored. If you make a mistake, you might see the dreaded flashing lights of a police vehicle pop up in your rearview mirror.

Follow all state traffic laws to prevent collisions and issues with local law enforcement. In this article, learn about Idaho's traffic violations and legal requirements for motorists.

Idaho Code for Driving and Vehicles

You can read about Idaho's traffic laws in Title 49: Motor Vehicles of the Idaho Statutes. A few key driving laws are featured in the chart below. You can also read the Idaho Driver's Handbook to learn about the rules of the road.

Drinking & Driving Violations Persons under the influence of alcohol (ID Statutes section 18-8004)
Driving Without a License / With a Suspended License Drivers to be licensed (ID Statutes section 49-301)
Driving Without Insurance / With Insufficient Insurance Required motor vehicle insurance (ID Statutes section 49-1229)
Driving Without Registration / With Expired Registration Violations of registration provisions (ID Statutes section 49-456)Penalties for failure to pay operating fees (ID Statutes section 49-434A)
Illegal U-Turn Limitations on turning around (ID Statutes section 49-645)
Leaving the Scene of an Accident / Hit & Run Accidents (ID Statutes Title 49, Ch. 13)
Mechanical Violations Vehicle Equipment (ID Statutes Title 49, Ch. 9)
Reckless Driving Reckless driving (ID Statutes section 49-1401)
Running a Red Light / Stop Sign Obedience to and required traffic control devices (ID Statutes section 49-801)
Seat Belt / Child Restraint Violations Safety restraint use (ID Statutes section 49-673)Passenger safety for children (ID Statutes section 49-672)
Speeding Basic rule and maximum speed limits (ID Statutes section 49-654)
Unlawful Vehicle Modifications Vehicle Equipment (ID Statutes Title 49, Ch. 9)

Overtaking Other Vehicles

Car accidents can easily occur when drivers don't follow Idaho laws related to passing vehicles, such as:

  • Use your turn signal when entering and exiting the passing lane.
  • Check your blind spot and mirrors when changing lanes to avoid inattentive driving.
  • Only pass in the left lane except in specific situations that allow you to pass in the right lane, such as overtaking a car making a left turn.
  • On a two-lane highway, only pass using the lane for cars traveling in the opposite direction if there is no oncoming traffic and the road markings allow passing.
  • Return to your original lane as soon as possible after passing a vehicle.
  • Consider whether you must yield instead of passing a school bus.

Idaho's speed law says you can drive up to 15 mph above the speed limit to pass a slow vehicle on a public highway. However, only begin passing if the path ahead is clear, and slow down after you pass. Crashing with another car at high speeds can have hefty legal and financial consequences.

Idaho's Right-of-Way Laws

Idaho follows many of the same patterns as other states for deciding who has the right of way on a road or intersection. Often, a yield sign will tell you when another vehicle has the right of way. Other cases are situational according to state law.

For example, the driver to your right side has the right of way if you both reach an uncontrolled intersection (no traffic control signals) at the same time. This rule also applies at intersections with red or yellow flashing signals.

Bicycles and Right of Way

Bicyclists generally share the same right-of-way rules as drivers. They don't automatically have the right of way in every situation. Still, drivers should use caution to avoid a collision.

Bikes also have distinct movement patterns in the flow of traffic. Though cyclists can turn left or right at a red light, they can only turn after yielding the right of way to any vehicles in the intersection.

Yield to Emergency Vehicles

An authorized emergency vehicle with flashing lights or sirens always has the right of way. Pull over to the right side of the road to let an ambulance, police cruiser, or other first responder pass you.

Speed Limits and Tickets in Idaho

Speeding is a common infraction across the country, including in Idaho. Always follow the posted traffic signs for speed limits and minimum speeds when available.

Unless otherwise posted, your speed must be no more than the following:

  • 35 mph on a residential road
  • 65 mph on a state highway
  • 75 mph on the interstate

Drivers must keep speeds reasonable for the circumstances. You might need to drive much slower than the limit to exercise due care. For example, you may need to slow down for winter weather, crosswalks, or construction zones.

Speeding Penalties

If a police officer writes you a speeding ticket, you may face penalties based on how many miles you exceed the speed limit. The penalties are higher if you speed in a work or school zone.

Idaho's potential speeding fines range from $90 to over $150. Due to the state of Idaho's point system, you may get three or four points on your driver's license. Because a speeding ticket can risk your license, it may be worth challenging in traffic court.

Facing Tickets? Call a Local Lawyer

Many people aren't sure what to do after getting pulled over. A citation may be a simple piece of paper, but the penalties can mean so much more for your budget and driving privileges.

You may benefit from legal counsel, whether you face a minor ticket or a more serious misdemeanor like driving under the influence (DUI). An Idaho traffic attorney can give you advice for protecting your license or fighting your case.

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