ITD providing exemptions for truckers after Gov. Little’s fire season emergency declaration

Wildfires

BOISE – A fire disaster emergency proclamation issued on July 9 by Idaho Governor Brad Little will allow trucks carrying jet fuel and other fire equipment exemptions from certain federal regulations to assist with the western states’ wildfire fighting efforts.

The Idaho Transportation Department’s Ports of Entry and Idaho State Police will waive the “hours of operation” that limit how long truckers can drive within a shift. This applies to trucks carrying loads assisting in the firefighting efforts for the next 30 days. If the crisis continues past this date, Governor Little or the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration may extend the exemptions.

“The Idaho Transportation Department’s Port of Entry inspectors are aware of the exemptions and prepared to assist trucks carrying firefighting products in any way they can,” Division of Motor Vehicles Administrator Alberto Gonzalez said. “All transportation department resources are ready to assist the firefighting efforts as needed.”

 

 

Help prevent human-caused wildfires along roadways

With heat warnings in place throughout Idaho, widespread drought, and fire danger increasing, we can all do our part to help prevent human-caused wildfires. It only takes one spark from your vehicle to start a fire. Let’s work together to take the necessary precautions when traveling along Idaho highways this summer.

The next time you are going to hit the road, keep the following fire safety tips in mind:

  • Double check your trailer chains! Be sure they are not hanging low and dragging from your vehicle. The metal can throw sparks easily.
  • Take caution driving through dry grass or brush, and find a safer place to park! Hot exhaust pipes and heat from your vehicle can quickly catch the tall, dry grass on fire.
  • Watch your tire pressure. Driving on an exposed wheel rim can cause sparks.
  • Keep brake pads in shape. If they wear too thin, the metal on metal can make sparks.
  • Stay up to date on your vehicle maintenance. Leaking fluids and overheating engines can be dangerous fire hazards.
  • Idaho is too great to litter. Never throw cigarettes out the window.

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The Idaho Transportation Department takes precautions of its own to help prevent wildfires from starting near highways. For more than 10 years, ITD and the Bureau of Land Management have partnered each spring to conduct controlled burns along highways, targeting tumbleweed early before the dry fire season sets in. When the weather heats up, it doesn’t take much for this high risk fuel to take off. Mowing and controlled burns can significantly reduce fire threat by keeping fuels to a minimum.

ITD blocks the road and manages traffic to protect BLM firefighters during the burn. Water crews protect infrastructure and keep the fire under control. Watch the video to see it all in action!

 

Check with the Idaho Department of Lands, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Bureau of Land Management for the latest on fire danger in your area. Before you take your next road trip, be prepared and know what current fire restrictions are in place where you are headed. Learn more fire safety tips and find contact information at idahofireinfo.com. Current highway closures and blockages due to wildfire can also be found on 511.idaho.gov.

Prepare for summer travel with the NEW Idaho 511

New & Improved 511 Road Report

As you make your summer travel plans be sure to check out the Idaho Transportation Department’s NEW Idaho 511! The streamlined low bandwidth Idaho 511 website, lb.511.idaho.gov, has now officially retired and the transition to the newest Idaho 511 traveler information website is complete.

Visit 511.idaho.gov to take a tour of the great features and be prepared for your next road trip! Cameras, road reports, traffic speeds, rest area locations, and more are listed in the layers menu on the right side of your screen. Check the boxes next to your preferred map icons to turn them on, and uncheck the boxes to turn off map icons.

On the left side of your screen (or below on a phone or tablet) scenic views, severe weather cameras, and critical events, road closures, or blockages are displayed as they are happening. These give you an instant look at current situations statewide that may have direct impact on your travel.

Saved and bookmarked links should redirect to the newest website, and personalized Your 511 accounts already made the switch in March. Log on now and start saving your favorite cameras and more!

Need some help navigating the new website? Use the onboarding tour to get your bearings and feel free to send us feedback.

ITD Office of Highway Safety partners with law enforcement for safer Fourth of July

This Independence Day, the Idaho Transportation Department’s Office of Highway Safety (OHS) is working with law enforcement to keep roads free of impaired drivers. July 1-15 officers from at least 60 agencies across the state will dedicate patrols to looking for drivers under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

According to OHS data, impaired driving was the cause of 1,501 crashes in 2019, resulting in 99 deaths in Idaho. There were 8,084 DUI arrests. With COVID restrictions lifting and summer activities ramping back up, many Idahoans are eager to get together with family and friends. Please keep safety in mind when gathering to celebrate.

“We want everyone to enjoy the Fourth of July holiday, but it’s important to be responsible on the road,” said OHS Manager John Tomlinson. “As you make your plans for the long weekend, also make a plan for a sober ride home.”

Driving under the influence of any substance is dangerous and illegal. During last summer’s Fourth of July impaired driving campaign, law enforcement officers made 140 DUI arrests. While additional officers will be on the lookout for impaired drivers, we can all do our part to keep Idaho’s roads safe. Celebrate with a plan and remember these safe alternatives:

  • It is never okay to drink and drive. Even if you’ve had only one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or use a ride sharing service to get home safely.
  • Wear a seat belt! It is not only the law, it is the best defense in a vehicle. Buckling up helps prevent injury and death if involved in a crash.
  • If you see a suspected impaired driver use your cell phone in hands-free mode to call *ISP (that’s STAR, I-S-P for Idaho State Police) or 1-800-233-1212.
  • Do you have a friend who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get your friend home safely.

Skip the DMV trip! New vehicle registrations now available online

The Idaho Transportation Department’s Division of Motor Vehicles is adding another convenient option to its online DMV services. Idahoans who have recently purchased a vehicle from a licensed Idaho dealership may now qualify to skip the trip to a county DMV office and instead register their new or used car from a smartphone, tablet, or computer.

The transaction previously had to be completed in person, but is now available online at dmv.idaho.gov. It’s one of more than 15 DMV transactions ITD offers to customers online.

“We are excited to provide this online 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including holidays,” said DMV Administrator Alberto Gonzalez. “This gives you another choice to skip the line at the DMV to get your driver’s license, vehicle registration or license plates. Skip the trip, save time, and go online.”

Customers will need the pink copy of the ITD 0502 form from the dealer to enter their vehicle’s information. A tutorial video is linked below. At this time the service is not available for private party sales, and customers cannot transfer a current registration from one vehicle to their new vehicle online.

ITD processes close to 100,000 DMV transactions online every month including address changes, driver’s license and vehicle registration renewals, personalized plate orders, release of liability forms and more. A full list can be found at dmv.idaho.gov.

“Idahoans’ time is valuable and with the state’s quickly increasing population we know this now more than ever. Giving more people the ability to finish their DMV business online means better customer service for all,” Gonzalez said.

ITD’s DMV Customer Contact Center can be reached at 208.334.8000 if customers have questions or need assistance with online services.

Memorial Day weekend begins the “100 Deadliest Days” on Idaho roads

This Memorial Day weekend, the Idaho Transportation Department’s Office of Highway Safety (OHS) reminds drivers to take caution during the “100 Deadliest Days” on Idaho roads.

The unofficial start to summer begins the dangerous 100 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day when there is an increase in fatal crashes. Last year, 88 people killed in vehicle crashes in Idaho lost their lives during this time frame.

“These warmer months are dangerous because we typically see more drivers on the road, with teens out of school and summer road trips underway,” said OHS Manager John Tomlinson. “We also expect busier roads as COVID restrictions lift and Idahoans feel more confident and eager to get back on the road and travel.”

But it’s not the time to relax behind the wheel. Distracted driving, impaired driving, and aggressive driving also have large impacts on crashes in the summer.

“Whether you are on vacation or just driving your regular commute, it’s always important to make safe decisions while driving. Stay focused and drive engaged, plan for a sober ride, and make sure you buckle up,” Tomlinson said.

Memorial Day weekend also coincides with the national Click it or Ticket seat belt campaign. Law enforcement officers across Idaho are partnering with OHS to participate, issuing citations to those not wearing their seat belt.

“Buckling up is the easiest thing you can do to protect yourself during a crash. It increases your odds of surviving by 50 percent,” Tomlinson said. “We want everyone to get to their destination safely this summer. Take care of yourself and the people you care about by wearing your seat belt and driving well every trip.”

OHS will continue to team up with law enforcement agencies throughout the 100 Deadliest Days to also target impaired drivers and aggressive drivers.

Star Card – Idaho’s REAL ID federal deadline extended to May 2023

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced the federal deadline for REAL ID, Idaho’s Star Card enforcement, is extended to May 3, 2023 due to COVID-19. The pandemic has impacted states’ ability to issue REAL ID compliant IDs with many driver’s license agencies operating at limited capacity across the country, according to DHS Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas.

The Idaho DMV continues to urge Idahoans to get their Star Card before 2023. The Star Card, U.S. passport, military ID, or other REAL ID compliant identification, will be required to board a commercial flight and enter a federal facility in May 2023.

Currently more than 490,000 of 1.25 million licensed drivers in Idaho have a Star Card. That number has increased from just 70,000 in 2019.

“We are happy to see the number of Idahoans who have chosen to get a Star Card steadily increase, even during the pandemic, and we want to maintain that momentum,” said Idaho Division of Motor Vehicles Administrator Alberto Gonzalez. “Despite the deadline extension to 2023, please plan ahead and get your Star Card early.”

The Star Card has been available in Idaho since 2018. The transaction requires an in-person visit to a county driver’s license office and additional documents. The Idaho DMV strongly encourages Idahoans use the “Add the Star” tool at itd.idaho.gov/starcard to learn what specific documents are needed, as they can vary depending on each person’s situation. More information, frequently asked questions, and driver’s license office locations can also be found online.

Please note, several other state DMVs have reported a REAL ID phishing scam in which a citizen may receive a text asking for personal information related to the REAL ID. This message is a scam and should not be clicked on. It has not yet appeared in Idaho, but remember the Idaho DMV does not send messages requesting information for the Star Card.

The REAL ID Act was passed by Congress in 2005 as a result of the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.” The Act established minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards, and prohibits federal agencies from accepting licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet these standards, for official purposes.

Connect to Disconnect during Distracted Driving Awareness Month

The Idaho Transportation Department’s Office of Highway Safety (OHS) is joining other state highway safety offices and law enforcement agencies across the country to keep our communities safe with engaged driving. This is part of a nationwide effort called Connect to Disconnect.

Thursday, April 8 officers across the country will commit a four-hour shift to targeting distracted driving. In addition, April 19 – 30, more than 60 law enforcement agencies throughout Idaho will work with OHS to dedicate patrols to enforcing Idaho’s new hands-free law.

“April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month and we urge Idahoans to join us by agreeing to disconnect from your phone, put it away while you are behind the wheel, and drive engaged,” said OHS Manager John Tomlinson.

According to OHS data, between 2015 and 2019 there were more than 25,000 distracted driving crashes in Idaho killing 237 people. Nationally, distracted driving was a factor in nine percent of all traffic fatalities in 2019 – in Idaho, it was 16 percent.

To help improve safety on our roads, the Idaho legislature passed the hands-free law last year, banning the use of handheld electronic devices while driving – even while temporarily stopped at a red light or stop sign. Officers spent the second half of 2020 educating drivers about the new law and in January they began issuing citations.

“Inattentive driving is illegal and dangerous,” Tomlinson said. “If you need to use your phone’s GPS, enter the address in before you start driving. Check out Bluetooth options for your car so you can talk hands-free, and if you have to read or send a text, pull over and park the car. Choose to leave the distractions behind, stay focused on the road, and drive engaged so you can help save lives.”

For more information visit shift-idaho.org.

Check out the new Idaho 511

New & Improved 511 Road Report

Idaho 511 is a valuable resource for travelers all year long, and now our newest version of the website has officially launched! Take some time to get familiar with the layout and check out the features.

Head to 511.idaho.gov to try out the latest Idaho 511. Your favorite features from our “Full Featured” website are all still there, including the cameras, road reports, traffic speeds, and more. However, now you will find them listed in the layers menu on the right side of your screen. Check the boxes next to your preferred map icons to turn them on, and uncheck the boxes to turn map icons off.

New map layers include Waze Reports, which are citizen road reports from Waze App users, as well as a variety of weather related options. Putting a checkmark in the Weather Radar box for example, will show you where precipitation is falling across the state.

On the left side of your screen (or below on a phone or tablet) severe weather cameras and critical events, road closures, or blockages are displayed as they are happening. These give you an instant look at current situations statewide that may have direct impact on your travel.

With a Your 511 personalized account, you can also choose to save your favorite cameras now, in addition to your favorite routes and places. And when zoomed out on the map, multiple cameras or events in one specific area will group together to display in a “cluster.” This grey or green circle shows the number of cameras or events. Simply click on the circle and the map will automatically zoom in to that area.

“We are excited to update our technology and still give travelers the user friendly Idaho 511 they are used to,” said ITD Travel Services Coordinator Tony Ernest. “Since late 2019, we’ve asked 511 users to test the new site and provide feedback. This input has helped our development team immensely in making sure drivers have easy access to the resources they need.”

Commercial truck drivers will no longer need a separate version of Idaho 511. The improved Idaho 511 features a Commercial Vehicle tab that selects appropriate trucking related map layers like Restrictions, Truck Ramp locations, and Weigh Stations.

Our “Streamlined” low bandwidth version of Idaho 511 will stick around for a little while longer, but get ready for that page to retire in late spring. Start using the new Idaho 511 now so you’re prepared!

Click here to visit the new Idaho 511.

Star Card – Idaho’s REAL ID deadline approaching

Star Card

UPDATE 4/27/2021 – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has provided another REAL ID deadline extension to May 3, 2023.


3/2/2021

Seven months ahead of the federally mandated deadline, the Idaho Division of Motor Vehicles continues to raise awareness of the importance of obtaining a Star Card – Idaho’s REAL ID. Beginning October 1, 2021, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will require a Star Card, U.S. passport, military ID, or other REAL ID compliant identification, to board a commercial flight and enter a federal facility.

Currently 465,563 of 1.25 million licensed drivers in Idaho have a Star Card. Two years ago in February 2019, just 70,000 Idahoans had obtained their Star Card.

“I can’t stress enough the importance of planning ahead and updating your driver’s license to a Star Card today,” said DMV Administrator Alberto Gonzalez. “We are pleased to see the number of people getting the Star Card increasing, but now is not the time to slow down. Our goal is 100% awareness, so no one is unexpectedly forced to miss a vacation or unplanned, last minute trip this fall.”

Last spring, the original October 2020 federal deadline was extended one year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal remains the same—ensuring all Idahoans are aware that while getting a Star Card is not mandatory, without it, you will have to provide a passport or other form of REAL ID to fly in the United States.

“Our TSA officers are reminding people of the new requirements as they are traveling,” said TSA Idaho Federal Security Director Andy Coose. “Signs are up at airport security warning of the October deadline, and when a TSA officer meets a traveler without a star on their ID, they make sure to tell the passenger to get a REAL ID compliant driver’s license or other identification so they don’t have trouble getting onto a plane after October 1.”

The Star Card has been available in Idaho since 2018. During this time, the Idaho DMV has informed Idahoans of the upcoming federal REAL ID requirement through courtesy renewal notice reminders, various advertising campaigns, sports partnerships, and a public service announcement featuring Governor Brad Little, among other educational videos and presentations.

The transaction requires an in-person visit to a county driver’s license office and additional documents. The Idaho DMV strongly encourages Idahoans use the “Add the Star” tool at itd.idaho.gov/starcard to learn what specific documents are needed, as they can vary depending on each person’s situation. More information, frequently asked questions, and driver’s license office locations can also be found online.

The REAL ID Act was passed by Congress in 2005 as a result of the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.” The Act established minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards, and prohibits federal agencies from accepting licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet these standards, for official purposes.