Iowa Rating: Caution

Iowa falls dangerously behind in adoption of Advocates’ recommended optimal laws, as reported in the 2019 Roadmap Report.

Highway Safety Laws Needed

  • Primary Enforcement Seatbelt Law (Rear)
  • All-Rider Motorcycle Helmet Law
  • Rear Facing Through Age 2 Law
  • Booster Seat Law
GDL – Minimum Age 16 for Learner’s Permit
  • GDL – Stronger Supervised Driving Provision
  • GDL – Stronger Nighttime Restriction Provision
  • GDL – Passenger Restrictoin
  • GDL – Age 18 for Unrestricted License

Current Optimal Highway Safety Laws

  • Primary Enforcement Seat Belt Law (Front)
  • GDL – 6-Month Holding Period Provision
  • GDL – Cell Phone Restriction
  • Child Endangerment Law
  • Open Container Law
  • All-driver Texting Ban
  • Ignition Interlocks for All Offenders

*States are credited with having laws only if their laws meet Advocates’ optimal criteria

Hot Now: Graduated Driver Licensing Laws

In 2017, 56 people were killed in crashes involving young drivers in Iowa.

The current GDL law in Iowa includes the following components:

  • A three-stage licensing system beginning at age 14 for learner’s permit, age 16 for the intermediate stage, and age 17 for full licensure
  • A mandatory 12 month holding period for the learner’s permit stage
  • A minimum of 20 hours of supervised practice driving during the learner’s permit stage, at least 2 of which must be at night
  • A prohibition on unsupervised nighttime driving between 12:30 a.m. and 5 a.m. during the intermediate stage
  • A prohibition on non-emergency use of cell phones during the learner’s permit and intermediate stages
  • A prohibition on texting while driving for all drivers

These changes are needed to improve Iowa’s GDL law and meet optimal GDL provisions:

  • Require age 16 for entry into the learner’s permit stage
  • Extend restrictions on teen drivers through age 17
  • Add a passenger restriction prohibiting more than one non-familial passenger under the age of 21 unless a licensed driver over the age of 21 is in the vehicle, for the entire intermediate stage through age 17
  • Require 30-50 hours of supervised driving during the learner’s permit stage
  • Strengthen the nighttime restrictions on teen drivers

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