As a teen, you are probably required to take a few classes in which you find yourself asking, "When I am ever going to use this?" But as car accidents are the number one killer of people your age, it will soon seem rather obvious that everything you learn about driving will, at some point, apply in the real world. Finally, right?
Graduated License Program
If you are between 14 1/2 and 17 and want to earn a driver's license, the State of Idaho requires you to start by getting a Supervised Instruction Permit (SIP) and completing an approved driver training program. You must also comply with all requirements detailed by the Graduated Driver License (GDL) Program.
The program requires you to make it through a six-month, violation-free supervised instruction period successfully, while you also must:
- Have a supervising driver accompany you who is at least 21 years old and who also holds a valid driver's license. He/she must be seated beside you, in the passenger seat, alone. All other passengers must sit in the back.
- Be certain that everyone riding with you is buckled in, including children.
- Bring along your Supervised Instruction Permit (SIP).
- Pay mind to all laws that involve alcohol and other mind-altering substances.
- Rack up 50 hours of supervised driving time behind the wheel, 10 of which must take place after dark.
Be smart. Don't do anything that could give the state reason to yank your Supervised Instruction Permit (SIP) because that will restart your four-month supervised driving period. In addition, you will have to reapply for a SIP if:
- You are convicted of violating any moving or nonmoving traffic laws.
- You violate any of the restrictions that go along with your SIP.
- The courts or the Department of Transportation suspend your
driving privileges during the time you are driving under the permit.
Should your four-month period end, you can still drive on your SIP as long has it has not yet expired and as long as you are younger than 17 and obey the restrictions of the SIP.
After you fulfill the GDL requirements, you will enter the second phase of obtaining your license (as long as you are at least 15 years old): testing. The state requires you to take (and pass, of course) the skills test as well as the written test in order to get your diver's license.
Don't attempt to take these tests before you complete your four-month driving period; the state will not issue you a license. After you complete the driver training course and the four-month period that follows, you can take a stab at the tests. If you fail, give it three days before you take a second shot.
Penalties of a GDL Traffic Violation
It's not the end of the world if you end up with a traffic violation, but it's also not a stellar way to start your driving career. In fact, make a habit of obeying the law and avoiding traffic violations, and you will minimize the number of accidents you have and your insurance rates.
If you are younger than 17, and you get a first-time traffic violation, you will receive a warning letter. When you find yourself with traffic violation number two, you can expect that your driving privileges will be suspended for a minimum of 30 days. Land yourself a third, and you could be facing at least 60 days with a suspension.
Not only must you endure these penalties tied to a traffic violation, you must also face the cancellation of your SIP during the four-month instruction period. And you must accept any other suspensions that the court or the departments see fit to hand you.
It's not only a hassle, but a waste of money to get your SIP or your driver's license suspended. Reinstating it is not free, and if your SIP gets canceled completely before you hit your 18th birthday, you will have to buy a brand new SIP.
Alcohol and drug violations are by far the most preventable. Partaking of drugs, alcohol, or any mind-altering substance never goes hand in hand with getting behind the wheel. It's against the law. It's dangerous. And it makes zero sense.
If you are operating a motor vehicle, you are younger than the legal drinking age, and your blood alcohol content (BAC) is at or above .02 percent, you could face license suspension for up to one year and a fine of up to $1,000. And these penalties only get worse the higher your BAC is and the more you are in violation of alcohol/drug laws.
Even if you don't get behind the wheel, you can still lose your SIP or your driver's license if you violate the state's alcohol/age laws. Your driver's license will be reinstated once you pay all the fines and reinstatement fees and carry out your court-ordered suspension period.
A SIP cancellation means that you must purchase a new one if you are younger than 17 and you have followed through on all the reinstatement requirements.
The Law and Your License
Once you earn your license, you should feel pretty proud. You worked hard to obtain it and you put in long hours in class and behind the wheel in preparation to become a licensed driver.
So don't misuse it or mutilate it. You can be fined for doing so, be sentenced to jail, and your driving privileges could get suspended. Keep your license on you every time you wish to drive and if it becomes worn, wet, or damaged, buy a replacement.
Here are some tips every driver should heed:
- Don't lend your driver's license, permit, or ID card to anyone
- Don't let anyone use your driver's license, permit, or ID card
- Don't flash a fake or altered driver's license, permit, or ID card
- Don't let anyone without a license take your car for a spin (If there is an accident, the responsibility for damage, injury, or death falls on the driver and you, if you allowed that person to drive the vehicle.)
For more details on the steps you need to take to get your driver's license, consult the Idaho Driver's Manual. If you are interested in getting a motorcycle endorsement or license, consult the Idaho Motorcycle Operator's Manual.