Reminder: Drive Insured! Insure your vehicle or lose your registration

Drive Insured! Be safe, be smart! Insure your vehicle or lose your registration.

A reminder to Idaho vehicle owners, drive insured or lose your registration.

Under Idaho law, vehicle owners without insurance coverage for two consecutive months risk having their registration suspended by the Idaho Division of Motor Vehicles.

The Drive Insured law (Idaho Code 49-1234) was passed during the 2019 Idaho legislative session, and went into effect in January 2020. As part of the DMV’s efforts to help Idahoans through the unprecedented COVID-19 emergency, implementation was initially delayed.

The DMV receives data from licensed Idaho insurance companies identifying vehicles with coverage. Owners without coverage for two consecutive months will receive a warning letter, then have 30 days to provide proof of insurance or obtain an exemption before their registration is suspended.

To reinstate a suspended registration, owners will need to provide proof of insurance and pay a fee of $75.

Impacted drivers should expect warning letters in the mail this October, though at any time, the DMV encourages Idahoans to use the Drive Insured self-reporting tool at driveinsured.itd.idaho.gov. This tool allows drivers to verify the DMV has a record of their insurance, report a change in their insurance situation, or file an exemption. While insurance companies are required by law to provide this data, some fail to do so and it may result in a vehicle incorrectly identified as not having insurance. Using the self-reporting tool is a simple step that can give drivers peace of mind if they are concerned the DMV is not up to date on their current situation.

Please note, county DMV offices are not involved with Drive Insured, and affected vehicle owners cannot report their insurance in-person there. Please use the Idaho DMV’s online self-reporting tool, or call 208.334.8075.

Some vehicles are exempt from this statute. The law applies only to non-commercial vehicles, and excludes trailers and off-highway vehicles. For a full list of frequently asked questions, visit dmv.idaho.gov and click the Drive Insured heading.

Idaho DMV to update vehicle registration and titling system in October

OCTOBER 21 UPDATE
The Idaho DMV team is working all hours to refine the state’s new vehicle registration and titling computer system. Customers at county offices are currently experiencing extended wait times. Please remember, many DMV services are available ONLINE at dmv.idaho.gov. We encourage you to skip the line and renew online 24/7.

OCTOBER 1
Idaho’s vehicle registration and titling system will operate on a new computer system this month.

It’s the next phase of the Idaho Division of Motor Vehicles’ modernization project, moving from a 1980s mainframe to an updated GEM system. Statewide upgrades are planned over the Columbus Day weekend (Oct. 10-12) to minimize impacts to the public at county DMV offices.

“We anticipate a smooth transition,” DMV Administrator Alberto Gonzalez said. “State and county agents are testing and training now in preparation.”

During the three-day weekend, the Idaho DMV will integrate millions of DMV records into one system, resulting in a “one person, one record” system. Each Idahoan will now have one record with both their driver’s license and vehicle registration/title information on it.

“The one person, one record will reduce transaction times at DMV offices, and help county agents and law enforcement correctly identify Idahoans and vehicle ownership,” Gonzalez said. “It also paves the way to the future, giving us the ability to eventually offer more online services to Idaho drivers.”

The Idaho DMV has provided multiple training opportunities to county DMV offices, both virtually and in-person, and staff in all 44 Idaho counties have experience using the new system. County agents ask for patience and understanding from customers in October, as wait times could be longer while agents become more comfortable processing transactions. Title transactions on Oct. 8-9, prior to the transition, may be delayed several days.

The DMV modernization effort is an ongoing process. The disabled parking placards program was moved to the new system in 2017, and the driver’s license program in 2018. This latest phase transitioning vehicle registration and titling does not depend on a third party vendor.

Some of the DMV’s online services will be temporarily out of service Oct. 7-11 while the transition takes place. Aside from that time, drivers are still encouraged to skip the DMV line, and go online to renew their vehicle registration. For more information and resources visit dmv.idaho.gov or call the DMV Customer Contact Center at 208.334.8000.

ID-55 project between Smiths Ferry and Round Valley to start September 8

ID-55 at Smiths Ferry

The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) starts road work on the Idaho Highway 55 safety-enhancement project between Smiths Ferry and Round Valley on September 8.

The public is invited to attend a virtual public meeting on Wednesday, September 2, from 6 p.m. – 7 p.m. where ITD representatives will give an overview of the project and take questions. The link to attend will be posted on the project website, itdprojects.org/ID55smithsferry, 15 minutes prior to the meeting.

Work will largely be done in fall, spring and summer months, with construction stopping during the winter. This fall, travelers can expect full closures on the roadway Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. to allow for blasting and rock removal.

Motorists can find additional details on road closures and traffic patterns on the project website, and can sign up for email and text updates.

“Our goal with this project is to enhance the safety of this mile-long section of the roadway,” Project Manager Alex Deduck said. “Construction crews will remove about 146,000 tons of rock from the hillside, which we want to do very carefully to not create rockslides or impact the river.”

Crews will work on widening shoulders and straightening the curves of the road. This project will also provide a smoother, safer ride for motorists by adding guardrail.

Motorists should anticipate reduced speeds and lanes reduced to one-way alternating traffic during construction. Seasonal closures and traffic patterns will be as follows:

  • Fall (September – November): One-way alternating traffic controlled by a temporary signal; daytime and nighttime work, seven days a week; full road closures Monday – Thursday from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Winter (December – Mid-March): No construction expected; all lanes open
  • Spring (Mid-March – Mid-May): One-way alternating traffic controlled by a temporary signal; daytime and nighttime work, seven days a week; full road closures Monday – Thursday from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Summer (Mid-May – August): One-way alternating traffic controlled by flaggers; daytime and nighttime work, Monday – Friday

The project is expected to be completed by late fall 2022. ITD and the Idaho State Police advise motorists to slow down and pay attention when driving in work zones, where increased speeding fines and other penalties apply. Motorists are encouraged to plan ahead and dial 5-­1-­1 or visit 511.idaho.gov for information on the state highway or interstate system.

DMV’s COVID-caused backlog reduced by increased use of online services

As COVID-19 continues to impact lives in Idaho, the DMV is one of many divisions at the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) adjusting the way it operates. For several months now, the DMV has turned to its online services to help keep crowd sizes down at county offices.

In March, Governor Little’s stay-home order caused many county DMV offices to close their doors to in-person customers. By May, when DMV offices began to reopen around the state, there was an estimated backlog of 100,000 Idahoans needing a new driver’s license, vehicle registration, or title.

Through it all, ITD’s online DMV services have been available, helping chip away at the backlog and giving Idahoans a safer alternative to getting their DMV business done. Now, the backlog has decreased to an estimated 43,000 driver’s license or ID customers. Because of COVID-19, ITD has also allowed more drivers to benefit from the convenience of using these online services. Through the end of this year, drivers 17 to 75-years-old can renew their license online, and eight year licenses can be renewed online.

The DMV encourages drivers to “skip the DMV line, and go online,” in an effort to reduce wait times for customers in county offices, and slow the spread of COVID-19. With more accessibility, the number of online DMV transactions continues to climb month after month, and more Idahoans than ever are now renewing online.

“We’re excited to see our online transactions increase. Thousands of Idahoans are taking advantage of this fast, easy, and safe way to complete their DMV transactions, and we are thankful they’re helping reduce the backlog at the same time,” said DMV Administrator Alberto Gonzalez. “In February, about 900 people renewed their driver’s license or ID online. In June, that number jumped to more than 8,000.”

Online vehicle registration renewals this summer have also more than doubled since February. For the DMV’s online services and more click here.

ITD DMV employees work from home to continue helping Idaho drivers

Beth Thompson

Idaho Transportation Department Division of Motor Vehicles employees continue to work hard from home to help Idaho drivers.

During this COVID-19 emergency, DMV Customer Contact Center employees are dedicated to keep assisting Idahoans with their DMV concerns while maintaining safe social distancing protocols. More than 160 people are working from home, answering phone calls related to all aspects of DMV operations. That includes driver’s licenses, vehicle registration and titles, motor carrier registration and permits, and vehicle dealer support. These DMV employees are taking more than 1,000 calls a day from the public, and more than 800 a day from county DMV offices across the state.

“We are living in a time of unprecedented uncertainty. It’s crucial that when the public, counties, or law enforcement of Idaho needs us with questions or assistance we are there on the other end of the call,” said Beth Thompson, Driver Records Program Supervisor. “Behind the scenes, ITD DMV is doing almost the entirety of the work from home. Whether it be a simple change of address or a complex issue regarding a driver’s license and suspension.”

They’re also helping process license and registration renewals by mail, over the phone, and online. As Idaho prepares to reopen for business, county DMV offices are adjusting hours of operation and services. ITD encourages drivers to use the online customer portal at itd.idaho.gov/driveidaho to reduce crowds and keep wait times down.

More Idahoans than ever are now using the DMV’s expanded online services. Online vehicle registrations grew from 16,000 in February to 31,000 in March, and are expected to reach over 40,000 in April. Online driver’s license and ID renewals increased from 900 in February to 2,400 in March, with 7,000 estimated in April.

Online DMV services at itd.idaho.gov/driveidaho include:

  • Driver’s license renewal (not for first-time Star Card)
  • Acquiring a replacement driver’s license or identification card
  • Paying driver’s license reinstatement fees
  • Purchasing a driving record
  • Vehicle registration renewal
  • Ordering personalized license plates
  • Checking status of vehicle plates and titles
  • Commercial vehicle oversize/overweight permits
  • Commercial vehicle registrations

The DMV has issued a 90-day extension on some credentials expiring between March 1 and May 31, 2020. This includes driver’s licenses and vehicle registrations that can be renewed online. Those expiring between March 1 and May 31 now have until June 30, 2020 to renew.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has also extended the REAL ID enforcement deadline one year, to October 1, 2021. This gives Idahoans an additional year to get the Star Card, Idaho’s REAL ID.

DMV office hours and services are determined by county sheriffs and assessors and vary statewide. Please contact your county office before you make the trip, and remember you can always call ITD’s DMV Customer Contact Center at 208.334.8000. Employees will be happy to help you even as they work from home.

“I couldn’t be more proud of my Driver Records team for weathering this storm like champions. They have handled it with integrity and grace and continue to give the very best customer service,” Thompson said.

For more information and resources visit itd.idaho.gov/driveidaho.

I-84 will be detoured overnight April 22-26 for Idaho Power transmission line work in Caldwell

A power pole without a line

Interstate 84 will be closed at night between the Franklin Road and Karcher/Midland interchanges April 22-26 while Idaho Power installs a new transmission line across the interstate. A detour will be in place each night between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.

The detour route will follow Franklin Road (US-20/26) and Midland Road. Please plan ahead and expect delays when traveling in the area. Flaggers will direct traffic.

Idaho Power is installing a new transmission line across I-84. The transmission line will serve the new Skyway Ranch Substation east of the Franklin Road Interchange.

Detour map for I-84 overnight closures
Detour map for I-84 overnight closures April 22-26, 2019