Statewide survey shows more Idahoans are wearing life-saving seat belts

Traffic congestion I-90 near Huetter

BOISE – More Idahoans are making the safe choice to wear their seat belts. The Idaho Office of Highway Safety (OHS) is pleased to report that statewide seat belt use rose to 87.6% in 2022, an increase of nearly 5% over last year. In 2021, Idaho’s seat belt use was 82.9%.

The data is based on a statewide survey that OHS conducted in June. OHS teams observed 25,385 people in vehicles at 180 sites across Idaho. Observers count the number of seat belts used in the front seats of cars, vans, SUVs, and trucks.

“This increase in seat belt use is a good sign for Idaho because seat belts save lives,” said OHS Occupant Protection Program Manager Tabitha Smith. “We want everyone to buckle up. One click can save your life.”

Seat belts increase your chances of surviving a crash by nearly 50%. Despite the effectiveness of seat belts and the high usage rate, failing to buckle up is one of the most common contributing factors in traffic fatalities.

Last year, 103 people who were killed in motor vehicle crashes were not wearing seat belts – that is 38% of all fatalities in 2021.

“That simple action of clicking your seat belt is one of the easiest things you can do to stay safe. I’m happy that most Idahoans buckle up, but we still can still do better,” Smith said.

New 511 Traveler Services App Launches

This week, ITD’s 511 mobile app for traveler advisories and information gets an upgrade. The new and improved app features roadway events, road conditions, traffic cameras, weight limit restrictions, and much more.

ITD’s 511 website and app already have many users throughout Idaho, representing a wide variety of interests. In the first two months of 2022, there were 27,187 Your 511 users and 1.4 million sessions on the site and app. ITD is hoping many of the people who use the website also transfer over to the improved app. Mirroring the 511 website, users can now create or log in to their already existing personalized accounts, giving people the ability to save cameras, locations, receive text and email alerts on their mobile device.

ITD’s 511 Travel Services Coordinator, Saran Becker, has helped lead the development and is excited for the launch of the new app and the goal it will fulfill.

“The goals for creating this new app were multi-fold,” Becker said. “First of all, we wanted to bring the full benefits of the 511 website to the Android and iOS platforms in the form of apps that operate, feel and look like the Idaho 511 website, and that is designed to be easy to use on the go.”

“Second, with this roll-out and future updates, we are bringing more features and customization to the 511 apps. For example, with this app, we are integrating the Commercial Driver functionality into the new 511 apps, a function that previously existed in separate apps. Also, the new apps will have a ‘Find events near me’ feature, hands-free, eyes-free features, announce upcoming traffic events and rest areas, and contain the full Your 511 account features with favorite cameras, routes, areas, and alerts.”

Truckers who currently use the CARS Hwy app will be notified through a pop-up display directing them to switch to the new app. Existing users of the CARS Hwy app can still use it but are encouraged to make the change.

The app will be available on iOS and Android devices through the App Store and is free to use. Improving the user interface will allow Idahoans to control their trip planning and daily driving habits. It’s the next step in giving people the freedom to make safe decisions when hitting the roads.

Over the summer of 2022, more features are scheduled to be rolled out, including electronic signs, share events and cameras, weather radar overlays, and much more.


The 511 service has proven to be a valuable source of information on road conditions statewide. The 511 slogan — “Know B4 U Go” — is a reminder that it is best to get road condition information before you get behind the wheel and start your trip, and to factor in conditions along your travel route.

The 511 service in Idaho launched in late November 2005, just before the busy Thanksgiving travel weekend. Since then, citizens have accessed the 511 service almost 54.2 million times.


To the right are examples of what a user of the new app might see:

With tragic increase in deaths on Idaho roads, ITD urges sober driving this holiday season

The Idaho Transportation Department’s Office of Highway Safety (OHS) is partnering with nearly 50 law enforcement agencies to keep impaired drivers off the road this holiday season. Dec. 17 through Jan. 1, OHS and officers across the state will participate in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over education and enforcement campaign.

The safety effort comes at the close of a tragic 2021 on Idaho roads. According to OHS preliminary data, 254 people have died in crashes in Idaho so far this year, the most traffic fatalities in a single year since 2006.

“One life lost is too many. As 2021 ends, please celebrate the holidays wisely. Make safe decisions behind the wheel to avoid devastating consequences,” said OHS Manager John Tomlinson. “Always buckle up and if your festivities will include alcohol, please make a plan for a sober ride home.”

In 2020, 43% of all fatalities were the result of an impaired driving crash in Idaho, and only 29% of the vehicle occupants killed in those crashes were wearing a seat belt.

While law enforcement will be on heightened watch for drivers under the influence of drugs and alcohol during the next two weeks, preventing crashes is a shared responsibility in our communities.

“Impaired driving puts Idahoans at risk every day and it’s completely preventable,” said OHS Grants Officer Lisa Losness. “We can all choose to avoid dangerous driving behaviors and help ensure a safer holiday for our friends, family, and neighbors.”

Celebrate with a Plan

Nationally it is illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher, except in Utah, where the limit is .05. A single DUI conviction for a first-time offender in Idaho can include costly fines, court costs, legal fees, jail time, and license suspension. Your judgement clouds when under the influence, so it’s important to plan a safe ride home before you leave the house.

  • Designate a sober driver or plan to use a ride service to get home safely.
  • Is it your turn to be the designated driver? Take that role seriously and do not drink any alcohol. Your friends and family are counting on you!
  • If someone you know is about to drink and drive, take the keys away and make arrangements to get them a safe ride.
  • Always buckle up – it’s your best defense against impaired drivers.
  • If you see an impaired driver on the road, call *477(*ISP) in hands-free mode. Your actions could help save someone’s life.

Funding for extra patrols and overtime work focused on impaired driving enforcement is provided by a grant through OHS and NHTSA.

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

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 or

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, 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

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

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


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.


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 Current highway closures and blockages due to wildfire can also be found on