Idaho’s Cellphone-Use & Texting-While-Driving Laws

Read about Idaho’s distracted driving laws and the costs of a violation.

In Idaho, it's against the law to text message or talk on a hand-held cellphone while driving. Here are the specifics of what the law prohibits and the penalties for a distracted driving ticket.

Idaho's Text-Messaging and Electronic-Device-Use Ban

Idaho's distracted driving law is fairly straight forward. The law prohibits all drivers from using a mobile electronic device while operating a motor vehicle.

Mobile electronic devices defined. For purposes of the distracted driving law, "mobile electronic device" is broadly defined and includes cellphones, tablets, laptops, and the like.

What counts as "operating" a vehicle. To be "operating" a vehicle for purposes of the distracted driving law, the vehicle doesn't actually have to be in motion. Temporary stops for signals and signs and traffic are included in the definition. However, drivers who are lawfully parked or pulled over to the side of the road aren't considered to be operating the vehicle and can lawfully use an electronic device.

Hands-free device use. Idaho's distracted driving law doesn't restrict texting, cellphone, or device use that's entirely hands-free or voice-operated. The law also allows drivers to use single-touch features to make a call or turn on or off a function of the device.

Viewing videos. Idaho's distracted law also prohibits drivers from watching videos while operating a vehicle.

Penalties for Texting While Driving in Idaho

A texting violation is an infraction in Idaho. A ticket for one of these violations (assuming the driver is convicted) will normally to fines of $75 for a first offense, $150 for a second offense, and $300 for a third or subsequent offense within a three-year period. For a third or subsequent offense within three years, the judge can also suspend the driver's license for up to 90 days.

A distracted driving ticket will result in traffic violation points only for a second or subsequent offense.

Distracted Driving and Other Possible Charges

In certain circumstances, a texting-while-driving violation could lead to reckless or inattentive driving charges. And if a distracted driving offense contributes to the death of another person, vehicular homicide charges are a possibility.

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