Idaho Speeding Laws
Learn about Idaho's speeding laws and the consequences of a violation.
In addition to "absolute speed limits" (see below), Idaho's "basic speeding law" prohibits driving at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard to the actual and potential hazards then existing. (Idaho Code Ann. § 49-654(1) (2017).)
Penalty for Exceeding Speed Limit
A first-time speeding violator faces:
- fines of up to $155, and
- a maximum one-year license suspension.
Penalty for Reckless Driving
Idaho defines "reckless driving" as:
- driving “carelessly and heedlessly or without due caution and circumspection, and at a speed or in a manner as to endanger or be likely to endanger any person or property,” or
- passing another vehicle when there is a line in the lane indicating a sight distance restriction.
First-time offenders face up to six months in jail and/or a maximum $1,000 in fines. The motorist's driver's license will also be suspended for 30 days. (Idaho Code Ann. §§ 49-326(f), 49-1401 (2017).)
(Learn more about Idaho's reckless driving laws.)
Idaho's absolute speed limits are:
- 75 miles per hour on interstate highways
- 65 miles per hour on Stats highways
- 55 miles per hour in other locations, and
- 35 miles per hour in either a residential, business or urban district.
Idaho Speeding Laws
Idaho has what is known as an “absolute” speed limit law. There's no trick to how it works: If the sign says 40 miles per hour and you drive 41 miles per hour or more, you have violated the law. In other words, you are guilty if you drive over the speed limit. In Idaho you may be able to make three possible defenses:
- attacking the officer’s determination of your speed (to do this you must discover what method the officer used to cite you and then learn about the ways to attack that particular method)
- claiming an emergency forced you to exceed the speed limit to avoid serious damage or injury to yourself or others, and
- claiming that the officer mistook your car for another car (with so many similar-looking cars, it is possible that a cop could see a speeding car, lose sight of it around a corner, and then wrongly pick out your car farther down the road).
Note that in Idaho you can be ticketed for driving at an unsafe speed, even if that speed does not violate the posted limit—for example, driving exactly at the maximum posted limit on the freeway amidst slower and heavy traffic, in a dense fog, or in a driving rainstorm or blizzard.
A speeding violation will add points to a driver's record. An offender's license is suspended for 30 days, 90 days or 6 months, if they respectively accumulate 12 points within 12 months, 18 points within 24 months or 24 points within 36 months. However, three points are deducted from a driver's record if they attend traffic school prior to a suspension; this can only occur once in a 3-year period.
(Learn more about the point system in Idaho.)