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Iowa's Graduated Drivers License (GDL) Law

As a way to reduce teen auto accidents and fatalities, states all across the nation began implementing what's known as graduated driver licensing systems (GDLS) in the 1990s. GDLS are programs that gradually allow drivers- who are obtaining their driver's license for the first time-to acquire driving privileges at separate stages rather than all at once.

Many states, including Iowa, have implemented three different stages each with different restrictions and privileges. Advocates, including some Iowa motor vehicle injury attorneys, argue that these types of programs help to prevent unnecessary auto accidents and fatalities.

Stage One: Instruction Permit

After completing requisite vision and driver tests, Iowa drivers age 14 and older can obtain an instruction permit. Certain conditions must be met, however, before the driver can progress to the next stage of privileges including:

  • Holding the permit for minimum six months
  • Driving with only a parent, guardian, immediate family member over age 21, driver education teacher, or a driver older than 25 with written permission of parent or guardian for at least 20 hours
  • Completing supervised driving during nondaylight hours
  • Maintaining a clean driving record for six months

Stage Two: Intermediate License

Iowa drivers 16 years of age and older who pass the requirements of the instruction permit stage may be granted an intermediate license, however, certain conditions must be met, before the driver can obtain full driving privileges including:

  • Holding the intermediate license for minimum 12 months
  • Driving with only a parent, guardian, immediate family member over age 21, driver education teacher, or a driver older than 25 with written permission of parent or guardian for at least 10 hours during non daylight hours
  • Driving with supervision during the hours of 12:30 am and 5 am, unless an approved waiver has been obtained to drive to work or school
  • Maintaining a clean driving record for six months

Stage Three: Full License

Iowa drivers age 17 or older can obtain full license status after completing all requirements and conditions of the first two stages. Full license status carries no restrictions as outlined by the two previous stages.

Individuals are encouraged to visit the Iowa Department of Transportation for further information and answers to commonly asked questions.

Source: http://www.iowadot.gov/mvd/ods/gdl.htm

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