The Idaho Driver Education program is dedicated to providing our students with the tools and skills necessary to become safer drivers. This is accomplished by hiring highly qualified professional educators as instructors and using standards-based proven curriculum. The primary purpose of driver education is to provide beginning drivers with a foundation to become competent and responsible users of the highway transportation system. This foundation is designed to help new drivers continue to improve with experience.
Parents, take advantage of every opportunity you have to sit down with your teen drivers and discuss the importance of driving safety. Whether teens are driving a car, truck or SUV, and whether they’ve just earned their license or have had it for years, the rules stay the same. They shouldn’t have the keys if they don’t know the rules. The greatest dangers for teen drivers — and the areas of focus for your conversations — are alcohol consumption, inconsistent or no seat belt use, distracted driving, speeding and driving with passengers in the vehicle.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers a wide range of information and tips about teen driver safety.
Know the Facts about Teen Driver Fatalities
- Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens (15-18 years old) in the United States, ahead of all other types of injury, disease or violence.
- In 2017, there were 2,247 people killed in crashes involving a teen driver (15-18 years old), and 755 teen drivers died.
- Parents can be the biggest influencers on teens’ choices behind the wheel if they take the time to talk with their teens about some of the biggest driving risks.
Greatest Risks for Teen Drivers
Impaired Driving: All teens are too young to legally buy, possess or consume alcohol. However, nationally in 2017, 15 percent of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes had alcohol in their systems. But alcohol isn’t the only substance that can keep your teen from driving safely: In 2017, 6.5 percent of adolescents 12 to 17 years old were marijuana users. Like other drugs, marijuana affects drivers’ ability to react to their surroundings. Driving is a complex task, and marijuana slows reaction time. Remind your teen that driving under the influence of any impairing substance — including illicit or prescription drugs, or over-the-counter medication — could have deadly consequences. It is critical that teen drivers understand why they shouldn’t drive impaired, that they will face strict penalties and may lose their license if they are caught driving impaired, and that they will face additional consequences for breaking the rules they agreed to follow when they started driving.
Seat Belts: Wearing a seat belt is one of the simplest ways for teens to stay safe in a vehicle. Yet too many teens aren’t buckling up. In 2017, 539 passengers were killed in vehicles driven by teens, and 60 percent of those passengers were NOT buckled up at the time of the crash that killed them. Even more troubling, when the teen driver was unbuckled, 87 percent of the passengers killed also were unbuckled.
Distracted Driving: Distractions while driving are more than just risky — they can be deadly. In 2017, among teen drivers involved in fatal crashes, 9 percent were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. This age group (15-18) also has the largest percentage of drivers who were distracted at the time of a crash. Common distractions include texting while driving and interacting with passengers in the car.
Passengers: Teen drivers transporting passengers can have disastrous consequences. Research shows that the risk of a fatal crash goes up dramatically in direct relation to the number of passengers in a car. The likelihood of teen drivers engaging in risky behavior triples when traveling with multiple passengers.
Speeding: In 2017, more than a quarter (27 percent) of all teen drivers of passenger vehicles involved in fatal crashes were speeding at the time of the crash, and boys were more likely to be involved in fatal speeding-related crashes than girls.
Be Empowered: Talk Regularly to Your Teen about the Dangers of Driving
Parenting teens can be hard, and the topic of driving can present a whole new set of challenges. Driving is a new chapter and a step toward independence for many teens. This is why constant communication about safe driving skills is essential. Self-reported surveys show that teens with parents who set and enforce firm rules for driving typically engage in fewer risky driving behaviors and are involved in fewer crashes. Don’t look at the conversation as nagging or bothersome — your teen is counting on you, not only to set a good example, but to enforce the rules. Keep the following in mind when talking to your teen:
- Get the facts about teen driving and share these statistics with your teen.
- Become familiar with Idaho’s nighttime driving restrictions, passenger restrictions, and graduated driver licensing restrictions, and help law enforcement and educators enforce them.
- Remind your teen that driving is a privilege, not a right, and it must always be taken seriously.
- Set the rules before your teen hits the road, and make it clear that violating the rules will have serious repercussions.
- Talk to your teen about safe cell phone use while in the car. Encourage them to never text and drive and to pull over before answering phone calls or responding to text messages.
Ensure Your Teen Driver Follows the Rules of the Road
- Don’t Drive Impaired.
Set a good example by not driving after drinking while impaired. Remind your teen that drinking before the age of 21 is illegal, and alcohol and/or marijuana and driving should never mix, no matter your age. Also remind them that driving under the influence of any impairing substance — including illicit, prescription, or over-the-counter drugs — could have deadly consequences.
- Buckle Up, Front Seat and Back — Every Trip. Every Time. Everyone — Front Seat and Back.
Lead by example. If you wear your seat belt every time you’re in the car, your teen is more likely to buckle up. Remind your teen that it’s important to use seat belts on every trip, every time, including in taxis and when using ride-sharing services.
- Eyes on the Road, Hands on the Wheel. All the Time.
Remind your teen about the dangers of texting, dialing or using mobile apps while driving. Require your young drivers to put their phones away when they are on the road and turn on the “Do Not Disturb” or similar feature on their phone. Distracted driving isn’t limited to phone use; other passengers, audio and climate controls in the vehicle, and eating or drinking while driving are all sources of dangerous distractions for teen drivers. If your teen breaks the rules, enforce the penalties you set before they started driving.
- Obey All Posted Speed Limits.
Speeding is a critical issue for all drivers, especially for teens who lack the experience to react to changing circumstances around their cars. Obey the speed limit, and require your teen to do the same.
- Limit Passengers.
With each passenger in the vehicle, your teen’s risk of a fatal crash increases. Review Idaho’s graduated driver licensing law before your teen takes to the road; it may restrict the number of passengers in the vehicle during the initial permitting stage, and it may further dictate who can ride in a car being driven by a teen or novice driver.
To enroll in Driver Education first choose a program. State law requires you to have 30 hours of class and 12 hours of in car instruction. All students, 14 1/2 – 21 years of age, living in a public school district that offers driver education, are eligible to enroll whether they attend a public school, charter school, private school, or are home schooled (Idaho Code §33-1703).
Public School Program
- Register through the High School in your area by calling the high school or visit the school website.
Public programs also offer online courses through the Idaho Digital Learning Academy (IDLA).
- Contact the local High School IDLA Coordinator to register for online class.
- Sign up with the High School Driver education program for behind the wheel lessons. Private companies can also provide your student with behind the wheel lessons.
If you are eligible for Driver Education, you must:
1. Contact your local high school to enroll in either a traditional or online program.
2. Purchase a driver education permit at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The permit must be purchased before the student participates in any instruction. You will need these documents to purchase a permit:
- Birth Certificate
- Social Security Card
- Proof of Residency
- Picture Identification
- Verification of Compliance Form
- Retrieve from your high school administrative office
- Document must be dated within 90 days of permit purchase
3. Complete 30 hours of classroom instruction or work time, 6 hours of behind the wheel instruction, and 6 hours of active back seat observation (ID Code §33-1702(2)).
Once you’ve completed Driver Education:
1. Students under 17 must complete the supervised driving period of six months, accumulating at least 40 hours of daylight driving and 10 hours of night-time driving.
2. After the supervising driving period is completed, students must take and pass a short written test at the local DMV and a skills test from a third party skills tester.
Idaho State Statute requires all students 16 years of age and younger to complete and pass a certified driver education course consisting of 30 hours of classroom instruction, 6 hours of behind the wheel instruction, and 6 hours of in-car observation with an instructor (Idaho Code §33-1702).
All out of state transfers need to be approved by the State driver education program director at the Idaho State Department of Education.
Documents Required to Complete Transfer
- Out of State Transfer Form
- Out of state permit
- Full legal name
- Date of birth
- Permit Number
- Issue date of Permit
- Certification of driver education course(s) taken
- Providers name of driver education course
- Number of hours completed
- How the class was delivered (classroom/on-line)
- Completion dates of all courses taken
- Parent name and contact information
- High School attending in Idaho
Instructions for Completion
- Locate a program (instructor) to complete your driver education. This can be a private company or a program at your local high school.
- When you have confirmation of an instructor you will need to go to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and purchase an Idaho permit.
- The permit will be sent to the driver education instructor.
- After you complete your required hours of driver education the instructor will give you the permit.
- You will then need to complete a minimum of 6 months of driving with a licensed adult over 21 in the vehicle with you at all times.
- After 6 months you can go test for your regular driver license.
What you will need to take to the DMV to purchase a permit
- Birth Certificate
- Social Security Card
- A legal parent/guardian
- Parent/guardian ID or Driver license
- Proof of Idaho residency
- Verification of Compliance (VOC) from your High School (Idaho Code §49-303A)
- Home School students will not need a VOC (Obtain paperwork from DMV)
- The name of the school you will be taking the driver education
What you will need to do after completing the driver education course
- Contact the State program director with your course completion date
- Finish all Parent Supervised Driving Time if applicable.
Upon completion of course and Parent Supervised Driving Time
- Go to the DMV to take your written test
- Sign up for a road skills test
If you pass your written exam and road skills test you will obtain your Idaho Driver License.
Frequently Asked Questions
A complete resource of information for Driver Education instructors can be found in the Operating Procedures handbook.