According to Idaho State Patrol (ISP) Communications Director Lynn Hightower, “For those of you who follow the Idaho State Patrol’s news releases, you’ll notice some updates to the content of those releases involving vehicle collisions. It has been a lengthy and careful process to find a practice that best serves public information needs regarding traffic incidents and traffic safety that is balanced with the need to maintain the integrity of crash investigations and protect against an unwarranted invasion of patient or personal privacy.”
News releases including a general summary of what occurred will continue to be shared in as timely a manner as possible following the incident. Traffic alerts of lane or road blockages will continue to be shared with the public as these incidents are in progress through ISP District Twitter accounts.
In addition to a general summary of what occurred, a description of vehicles involved and ages, genders, and hometowns, as known, will also continue to be shared in these immediate releases.
What will no longer be shared in the immediate releases on vehicle incidents are the names of people involved and what hospital any patients are transported to. Releasing the names of all individuals involved while the investigation is ongoing has been found to be a potential interference in those investigations, and it is essential for all involved that investigations proceed unobstructed. It’s also a step to protect the privacy of those involved, including those who may be victims, witnesses, or under investigation for being responsible for a crash, as well as patient medical privacy. These updates also bring ISP’s procedure regarding vehicle crash releases in line with a number of other Idaho law enforcement agencies that regularly issue news releases following vehicle crashes.
Idaho State Police also appreciate the Idaho State Association of County Coroners and their members statewide who assist with the necessary and often difficult task of confirming the identity of those deceased as a result of a vehicle collision and confirming next of kin has been notified. Local county coroners are also now taking on the task of making public the names of decedents involved in vehicle crashes.
The purpose of public releases following a vehicle collision is to inform the public of what occurred. It’s also hoped that, as unfortunate and tragic as these incidents are, that they serve to remind us of the importance of safe driving behavior, of awareness of laws intended to increase traffic safety, and of the need of communities to make traffic safety a priority that will save lives.
Thank you for your support.
ISP District Twitter accounts to follow for timely road or lane restrictions due to in-progress traffic incidents or poor road conditions:
@ISPNorthIdaho - Kootenai, Benewah, Bonner, Boundary, and Shoshone Counties.
@ISPCentralIdaho - Latah, Lewis, Nez Perce, Clearwater, Adams, and Idaho Counties.
@ISPWesternIdaho - Ada, Adams, Boise, Canyon, Elmore, Gem, Owyhee, Payette, Valley, and Washington Counties.
@ISPSouthIdaho - Camas, Blaine, Lincoln, Gooding, Cassia, Minidoka, Jerome, and Twin Falls Counties.
@ISPEasternIdaho - Bear Lake, Caribou, Franklin, Oneida, Bingham, Power, Bannock, Butte, Custer, Lemhi, Clark, Fremont, Madison, Teton, Jefferson, and Bonneville Counties.
@ISPHeadquarters - statewide content of interest.
ISP also urges motorists to follow 511.idaho.gov from the Idaho Transportation Department for travel information and road condition updates.
To sign up for ISP news releases on traffic or other public safety-related incidents, please go to https://isp.idaho.gov/news-releases-sign-up/