Teenager Reaching for Car Keys

Did you know that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among teenagers? One in five ninth through eleventh graders have been involved in at least one crash as a passenger in the past year. The more passengers in a car with the teen driver, the higher the risk of injury. Iowa law requires that ANYONE under the age of 18 MUST be restrained in ALL seating positions.

Teen drivers have a:

  • 40% increased risk of being involved in a crash when they have one friend in the car
  • Double the risk with two friends
  • Almost four times the risk with three or more friends

Of 71 fatalities involving young drivers (ages 15-20) in Iowa*: 

  • 41% of those fatalities were the young drivers
  • 27% were passengers in the vehicles driven by the young drivers

What you need to know about GDL 

Longer instruction time behind the wheel is now required and new attempts are in play to reduce distractions caused by multiple passengers in vehicles driven by inexperienced drivers.

 In Iowa, as of January 1, 2014:

  • Teen drivers must carry an instruction permit for one year before they can apply for an intermediate license.
  • During the first six months of their intermediate license, a teenager may not drive with more than one unrelated passenger under age 18.
  • Teen drivers with minor school licenses—even if the licenses were issued before Jan. 1, 2014—are limited to one unrelated minor passenger when driving without adult supervision. Unlike the intermediate license restriction, this restriction applies as long as the young driver holds a minor school license and cannot be waived.
  • An unrelated, minor child is defined as someone that is not the teen driver’s brother or sister, step-brother or sister, or a child living in the same household.
  • The definition of adult supervisor as it relates to the new state mandate means the young driver’s parent, guardian, or custodian, an immediate family member at least 21 years of age, a driver education instructor, or a person at least 25 years old with written permission from the parent, guardian, or custodian.
  • The supervising adult must sit in the front passenger seat while the teenager is driving.

Iowa Graduated Driver’s License Laws

  Minimum Age Minimum Duration of License Nighttime Driving Restriction Required Supervised Driving Hours (additional nighttime hours) Passenger Restriction
Learner License 14 years 12 months N/A 20 hours (2 hours) N/A
Intermediate License 16 years N/A 12:30 am - 5 am 10 hours (2 hours) First 6 months = no more than one undrelated passenger under 18 years of age
Full Privilege License 17 years N/A N/A N/A N/A

(*2008)