It was a quiet finish to what had been a noisy battle in recent years.
The House partook in only limited discussion Wednesday as it voted 69-14 for a bill lowering the basic driving age from 16 to 15 but which would clear state highways of all 14-year-old drivers.After long battles between farm interests and city lawmakers, the Legislature two years ago restricted driving privileges for 14-year-olds, allowing county sheriffs to decide when to grant special permits.
But Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Blackfoot, said that has caused much confusion from one county to the next. "Not all the sheriffs are doing it the same," he said.
"We need to set a firm, black and white law that people can read and understand," he said. "It will take a lot of heat off the sheriffs."
The legislation goes to the governor.
Idaho used to allow 14-year-olds to drive. Two years ago, a new system was enacted, allowing 14 and 15-year-olds licenses if they could obtain parental permission and convince the local sheriff they needed to drive.
Officials said that law resulted in 400 daylight-only permits for 14-year-olds and 900 for 15-year-olds.