Child Passenger Safety Week Sept. 19-25 reminds drivers to keep kids safe, offers free car seat checks

Young boy sitting buckled up in booster seat in the back of a car.

This week the Idaho Transportation Department’s Office of Highway Safety reminds families that keeping children safe on the road means putting them in the right car seat. Sept. 19-25 is Child Passenger Safety Week and free car seat checks are planned at locations throughout Idaho.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, car crashes are the leading cause of death for children. When installed correctly, car seats can reduce the risk of fatal injury in a crash by 71% for infants and by 54% for toddlers.

“Every child is unique, and so is each car seat. Read the manufacturer’s instructions and requirements to know if your car seat is the right size for your child’s age, height, and weight,” said Child Passenger Safety Program Manager Tabitha Smith. “Too often we see car seats used incorrectly, but no parent wants to get it wrong when it comes to their kid’s safety.”

To help parents and caregivers select the correct car seats for their children, certified child passenger safety technicians will hold free car seat checks at the following events, no appointment needed:

  • Orofino: Wednesday, Sept. 22, 3-6 p.m. at Orofino City Park
  • Grangeville: Thursday, Sept. 23, 1-6 p.m. at 600 E. Main Street
  • Cottonwood: Friday, Sept. 24,  2-6 p.m. at St. Mary’s Hospital
  • Malad City: Friday, Sept. 24, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. at Nell Redfield Memorial/Oneida County Hospital
  • Pocatello: Friday, Sept. 24, 2-6 p.m. at Pocatello Police Department
  • Moscow: Saturday, Sept. 25, 12-3 p.m. at 1420 South Blaine Street
  • Idaho Falls: Saturday, Sept. 25, 11 a.m.–2 p.m. at Grease Monkey
  • Meridian: Saturday, Sept. 25, 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. at Meridian Fire Station 5

“These events make it easy to drive up and take just a few minutes out of your day to double check your car seat. This way you are prepared and protecting your child in case of a crash,” Smith said.

If you can’t make it to one of these events, Idaho has more than 90 car seat check stations across the state, with over 200 certified child passenger safety technicians willing to provide education and car seat inspections by appointment all year. To find the free car seat check site near you, visit shift-idaho.org/childsafety.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends keeping children rear-facing as long as possible, up to the top height or weight limit allowed by the particular seat. Once a child outgrows the rear-facing seat, he or she is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness and tether. When children exceed the weight or height limits for their forward-facing car seat, it’s time for a booster seat. The safest place for all kids under 13 is the back seat of the car.

“Every time your family gets on the road, make sure everyone is properly buckled, including the smallest passengers,” Smith added. “The right car seat or booster seat is key to keeping kids as safe as possible on the road.”

For more information and car seat guidance visit shift-idaho.org/childsafety or NHTSA.gov/TheRightSeat.

Skip the trip! Save time and go online using the Idaho DMV’s new mobile renewal

 

BOISE — Idahoans now have the option to renew their vehicle registrations by scanning a QR code with their phone directly from vehicle registration renewal letters.

 

Starting in October, all notifications will include a QR code for processing and payment of registration. Vehicle owners simply scan the code with their phone’s camera, avoiding a trip to a DMV office.

 

“This is a safe and secure way for Idahoans to renew with their phone to save time and money,” said DMV Operations Manager Lisa McClellan. The DMV launched the QR code in Ada, Canyon and Kootenai counties earlier this year, and is excited to offer this option statewide.

 

Idahoans still have the option to renew online at dmv.idaho.gov, by mail or in person at a county DMV office. For a full menu of transactions that can be completed from your mobile device, tablet or laptop, visit dmv.idaho.gov.

100 Deadliest Days come to a close on Idaho roads

The 100 Deadliest Days remain deadly in 2021. According to preliminary data from the Idaho Transportation Department’s Office of Highway Safety, 92 people died in traffic crashes on Idaho roads this summer, as the 100 Deadliest Days come to a close.

The busy summer days between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends are known as the 100 Deadliest when there is typically an increase in fatal crashes. It’s a tragic trend both in Idaho and across the nation. Last year, 88 people killed in crashes in Idaho lost their lives during this time frame–more than 40% of the entire year’s fatalities. In 2019, 92 people died in the summer.

“Summer driving continues to be a dangerous concern in Idaho,” said Office of Highway Safety Manager John Tomlinson.

This summer the Office of Highway Safety (OHS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration funded four high visibility enforcement campaigns, providing law enforcement agencies grant funding for overtime patrols. Officers throughout the state spent time looking for aggressive and impaired drivers, and those not wearing their seat belts. OHS also ran several media campaigns in conjunction with these efforts, encouraging drivers to make smart choices behind the wheel.

“While the 100 Deadliest Days may be over, road safety is important to focus on all year,” Tomlinson said. “The work continues to make Idaho a safer place to live, and it’s up to all of us to buckle up, drive engaged and do what we can to help prevent fatal crashes.”

100 Deadliest Days Quick Facts:
•    The majority of the 92 people killed in crashes were in passenger vehicles.
– 73 Automobile
– 15 Motorcycle
– 3 Other (ATV/UTV)
– 1 Pedestrian
•    In the 73 passenger vehicle fatalities, 31 people were not wearing seat belts.
•    Failure to maintain a lane was a contributing factor in 17 fatalities.
•    6 fatalities involved inattentive driving.

**Please note, data is preliminary and subject to change.**

Statewide focus on impaired driving underway through Labor Day

As Idahoans make their end of summer plans, the Idaho Transportation Department’s Office of Highway Safety (OHS) and law enforcement agencies are teaming up to keep roads free of impaired drivers through Labor Day. Beginning Friday, August 20, officers from more than 60 agencies across the state will increase patrols looking for drivers under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

The high visibility enforcement campaign coincides with the close of the summer driving season known as the 100 Deadliest Days on Idaho roads. The term refers to the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends when there is an increase in deadly crashes.

According to Idaho crash data, impaired driving was the cause of 1,513 crashes in the state last year, killing 92 people and injuring hundreds more. Twenty of those deaths occurred during the summer. Forty-three percent of all fatalities on Idaho roads in 2020 were the result of an impaired driving crash.

“These crashes and deaths are preventable,” said OHS Manager John Tomlinson. “While officers are out looking for drunk drivers, we can all do our part to help keep communities whole. Plan ahead for a sober ride home, and if you see someone who has had too much to drink, take the keys away and help them get home safely.”

Impaired Driving Quick Facts:

  • Last year impaired driving was a factor in 6.7% of all crashes in Idaho but contributed to 43% of all traffic fatalities.
  • In 2020, a person was killed in an impaired driving crash every four days in Idaho.
  • 71% of motor vehicle occupants killed in DUI crashes were not wearing seat belts.
  • 6,939 people were arrested for DUI in 2020.
  • Males comprised 72% of the drivers involved in impaired driving crashes.

See a suspected impaired driver on the road? Use your phone in hands-free mode to call the Idaho State Police REDDI (Report Every Drunk Driver Immediately) number at *ISP or 1-800-233-1212.

 

Statewide efforts underway to reduce aggressive driving during 100 Deadliest Days

During the 100 Deadliest Days on Idaho roads, the Idaho Transportation Department’s Office of Highway Safety (OHS) is working with law enforcement agencies statewide to reduce aggressive driving.

The summer days between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends are known as the 100 Deadliest, when there is an increase in fatal crashes. According to OHS preliminary data, 41 people have died in crashes in Idaho since Memorial Day weekend this year.

Friday, July 23 through Sunday, August 8, close to 60 law enforcement agencies throughout Idaho will participate in OHS’ high visibility enforcement campaign, dedicating patrols to enforcing Idaho’s speed limits and stopping aggressive drivers. Aggressive driving is a contributing factor in half of all crashes in Idaho. It happens when a driver makes the choice to speed, follow another car too closely, run a red light or ignore a stop sign, weave in and out of traffic, or not use turn signals.

“We are reminding drivers to stay engaged behind the wheel and watch for those speed limit signs,” said OHS Manager John Tomlinson. “We all have the responsibility to pay attention to how we are driving, have patience and protect other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.”

Speeding greatly reduces a driver’s ability to slow down when necessary or to steer safely around an unexpected curve, another vehicle, or hazard in the road. It also increases danger for pedestrians and people who ride bicycles.

“As you enjoy summer in Idaho, please keep in mind that traveling in a vehicle is one of the most risky situations we experience on a daily basis. Any time you speed, you are putting yourself and other people in danger,” Tomlinson added. “Let’s drive well so everyone can make it to their destinations safely.”

For more information visit shift-idaho.org/aggressive-driving

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.