Idaho’s Driving Laws for Texting and Talking on the Phone

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 cell phone while driving. Here are the specifics of what the law prohibits and the penalties for a distracted driving ticket.

Idaho's Distracted Driving Law

Idaho's distracted driving law is fairly straightforward. The law prohibits all drivers from using a "mobile electronic device" while "operating" a motor vehicle. (Idaho Code Ann. § 49-1401A.)

Mobile electronic devices defined. For purposes of the distracted driving law, "mobile electronic device" is broadly defined and includes cell phones, 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.

Is Texting While Driving Allowed in Idaho?

Generally, drivers are prohibited from texting while driving in Idaho. As explained above, Idaho's distracted driving law covers all electronic device use, which would include texting on basically any type of device.

Can You Talk on a Phone While Driving in Idaho?

As in most other states, you can't use a handheld cell phone while operating a vehicle in Idaho.

Idaho Law Bans Drivers from Watching Videos

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

Idaho's Hands-Free Exception for Texting and Phones

Idaho's distracted driving law doesn't restrict texting or cell phone 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.

Penalties for Distracted Driving Tickets in Idaho

The penalties for a distracted driving ticket in Idaho generally depend on how many prior violations the driver had within the last three years.

Cost of a Distracted Driving Ticket in Idaho

A texting violation is an infraction in Idaho. A ticket for one of these violations (assuming the driver is convicted) will normally lead to fines of:

  • $75 for a first offense
  • $150 for a second offense, and
  • $300 for a third or subsequent offense.

As noted above, only prior distracted driving violations that occurred within the past three years are counted.

Also, it's important to note that various fees can increase the amount the driver actually must pay for a distracted driving ticket.

License Suspension for Distracted Driving in Idaho

For a third or subsequent offense within three years, the judge can suspend the driver's license for up to 90 days.

Points for an Idaho Distracted Driving Ticket

A distracted driving ticket will result in traffic violation points only for a second or subsequent offense. A first distracted driving violation doesn't carry any points.

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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