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Iowa Teen Driver Rules & Regulations

Graduated Driver's License

Iowa has a graduated driver's license (GDL) system for drivers under the age of 18. GDL includes three steps that allow for increased driving privilege as the driver accumulates more skill and demonstrates responsible driving practices. The three steps are: the instruction permit; intermediate license; and the full license. Driver education is part of the GDL system, as well as a remedial driver improvement program if traffic violations occur or if the driver contributes to or is the cause of a crash or accident.

Instruction Permit

  • Available at age 14
  • Must be held for a minimum of 12 months, accident free to obtain license
  • Requires written approval of parent/guardian
  • Requires vision screening and knowledge test
  • All driving must be supervised. May drive only with parent/guardian, family member over 21, driver education teacher, or driver over 25 with written permission of parent/guardian
  • Number of passengers limited to the number of seat belts in the vehicle
  • Must complete approved driver education course
  • Must log 20 hours of supervised driving; minimum of two hours must be between sunset and sunrise
  • Must drive accident- and violation-free for six consecutive months immediately prior to apply for an intermediate license

Driver Education

  • Available at age 14
  • Must have instruction permit and 18 hours of behind-the-wheel with parent/adult/guardian
  • Thirty hours of classroom to include four hours substance abuse education, minimum of 20 minutes on railroad crossing safety, information on organ donation, and information on bicycle and motor cycle awareness
  • Six hours laboratory; minimum three hours must be behind the wheel
  • No parental waiver of any behind-the-wheel drive time

Intermediate License

  • Available at age 16
  • Must meet all conditions of instruction permit
  • Written approval of parent/guardian
  • Must be held for a minimum of 12 months
  • May drive without supervision from 5 a.m. to 12:30 a.m.; driving is permitted between 12:30 a.m. and 5 a.m. only with a parent/guardian, family member over 21, or designated adult over 25; with a waiver, may drive to and from work or school-related extra-curricular activities
  • Must log 10 hours of supervised driving; minimum of two hours must be between sunset and sunrise
  • For the first six months, passengers are limited to only one unrelated minor passenger unless this restriction is waived by the parent/guardian at the time the intermediate license is issued. Unrelated minor passenger means a passenger who is under 18 years of age and who is not a sibling or stepsibling of the driver, or a child who resides in the same household as the driver.
  • Passengers limited to the number of seat belts in the vehicle
  • Must drive accident-and violation-free for 12 consecutive months immediately prior to applying for a full license
  • Intermediate license will have the words "intermediate license"

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