Idaho has an interesting history behind its name, it was totally made up. Idaho was originally named by George Willing in 1860, a state lobbyist that asserted the name was in reference to the native language of Shoshone meaning “sun comes from the mountain” or “gem of the mountains.” The name caught on and quickly locals were referring to themselves as “Idahoans.” Unfortunately it was too late, when it was uncovered that Willing entirely made up the word.
The state was admitted to the Union in 1890 as the 43rd state, borders 6 states and the Canadian province of British Columbia. Over sixty percent of land in Idaho is publicly owned. The mountainous state is home to Rocky Mountain ranges, thousands of miles of rivers including the furthest inland Western US seaport on the Pacific and boasts some of the most scenic drives in the country. As modified comparative at fault state with the 3rd lowest insurance rates in the US it can be easy drive affordably in the state if you avoid traffic violations and DUI incidents.
Driving in the Mountains
Idaho the mountainous state does not have a major highway that traverses the entire state from north to south. The only highway that runs from the Canadian border in the north to just past Boise in the south is a US route state highway, which means there is not a major highway that runs the entire north-south length of the state. Interstates 84, 86, and 90 traverse the state east to west, with 84 and 86 linking up along the south western half of the state.
Driving in the northern half of the state, in the more mountainous regions should be done with foreknowledge and care. Besides the second largest city in the north Coeur d’Alene with a population near 50,000 the northern part of the state is much less populated. The mountain ranges that stretch from the Canadian border down the eastern half of the state should be met with caution, especially in winter. These mountain passes can be quite dangerous for driving conditions when it is snowing and can often be closed to traffic during winter storms.
With only US Route highways extending north from Boise, it is even more important for you to map out a route ahead of time, check for severe weather patterns in the area and ensure your vehicle has the proper gear for winter or summer months in a wilderness area.
Idaho, a Modified At-Fault State
There are only 11 other states with the same at-fault laws as Idaho. The comparative at-fault 50 percent Bar rule means that multiple parties can be found at fault in a car accident. If you have over 50% blame assigned to you, you are not eligible for damage recovery through litigation. If you are under 50%, your damage recovery will be lessened by the same percentage that you have been assigned blame. So a damage suit, where you have been found 30% at fault would lower your damages by 30%.
This at fault system, combined with Idaho’s mandatory insurance coverage and tough stance on DUI driving charges results in one of the lowest annual insurance costs in the nation at 3rd cheapest. Insurance is mandatory in Idaho with minimum requirements to cover bodily injury and property damage.
These requirements include:
$25,000 minimum coverage for injury or death of one person $50,000 minimum coverage for injury or death to multiple persons $15,000 minimum coverage for property damage.
Although these are minimum requirements it would be wise to increase coverage, as any civil or criminal litigation that awards damages more than your insurance coverage will require you to make up the difference.
DUI in Idaho
DUI is looked upon harshly in Idaho with first offences resulting in license suspensions that range from 30 days to 1 year for underage drivers. With a system that also penalizes drivers both in the criminal court system for DUIs and through administrative penalties levied by the Idaho Transportation Department, DUI charges and penalties can add up fast. From license suspensions, jail time, monetary fines and requirement to prove financial security Idaho DUI laws are quite strict.
For a third offense DUI, up to 5 years in prison, up to 5 year license suspension, up to $5000 fine, a felony conviction on your record and a mandatory ignition interlock device can be assessed.
Idaho also has a complete ban on texting while driving for all ages as its primary distracted driving law. However in “contributing elements” for officers laying charges against distracted drivers other contributing factors can be noted. These elements can be used to determine at fault percentages for drivers involved in a distracted driving litigation.
The charge for texting while driving is a moving violation and will result in an $85 fine only. It is a primary enforcement law and requires no other justification for enforcement officers to stop a motor vehicle. An inattentive driving law is also legislated in Idaho but is rarely cited in cell phone or texting charges.
Driving safely in Idaho should encompass proper insurance coverage, an eye on natural elements and ensuring you follow the rules of the road concerning moving violations.
Did You Know That…
1. Idaho is one of 12 states that uses the multiple fault 50 percent bar rule?
2. DUI penalties in Idaho have civil and criminal penalties awarded.
3. Has the largest unspoiled tract of wilderness in the US.
4. Grows 1/3 of all US potatoes.
5. Is named the Gem State for producing 72 types of precious and semi-precious stones.
6. It is illegal to fish from the back of a camel or giraffe in the state of Idaho.
7. It is almost a 14 hour drive from the North to the South of the state but only 1 hour and 22 minutes across at the narrowest point in the state.
8. With 3,100 miles of rivers it has more than any other state.
9. The Hell’s Canyon, part of the Rocky Mountain Range is the deepest in the US at 7,900 feet, deeper than the Grand Canyon.
10. Underage DUI in the state results in mandatory fine of $1000 and a 1 year license suspension.