Couple of new laws that affect all Iowa drivers went into effect recently. The new laws add new drivers license and learners permit restrictions and are a welcome update the the Iowa graduated driver's license program. The laws should reduce the number of traffic accident that result due to distracted driving and are part of the larger move for traffic safety.
New Iowa Graduated Drivers License Laws
Iowa has a long history of fighting for traffic safety and the Iowa graduated drivers license program is the product of many studies, conducted both nationally and locally. The graduated license law targets young people who choose to apply for an Iowa drivers license before the age of 18 and it poses a number of additional requirements and permit restrictions that must be observed before the applicant can achieve a full unrestricted drivers license. The graduated drivers license restrictions aim at creating a safe driving environment for newly licensed drivers and the new revisions of the law are a welcome addition to the program.
The first change concerns drivers of all ages and not just teenagers. From now on, everyone is forbidden from texting while driving, no matter your age and driving experience. Texting is considered to be a great risk factor because drivers frequently take their eyes off the road when they are punching in a message. Now, if you need to send a message, you can only do so while the car is parked.
The second change concerns all drivers who are currently going through the graduated drivers license program - that means the Iowa learners permit, intermediate license, minor school license and special restricted license holders. If you currently hold one of these driver licenses, you are not allowed to use any entertainment or communication device that is not built into the vehicle while driving. This covers, but is not limited to, cell phones and iPods.
There is also a new law that concerns passengers under the age of 18. Until now, underage passengers only had to wear a seat belt if they occupied a front seat of the vehicle. From now on, they will need to wear a seat belt no matter where they are seated.
The testing procedures remain the same and all drivers license or learners permit applicants have to go through the Iowa permit test and the Iowa drivers test. No driver will be issued a license until he or she proves that she is a knowledgeable, safe driver who has good control of the vehicle. If you are just starting the process and want to see what your permit test will be like, you may take an Iowa permit practice test here.
Distracted driving is a big issue, and not just in Iowa. According to statistics, 6,000 drivers die annually in traffic accidents that are caused by distracted driving. New drivers license rules and requirements such as the ones recently adopted by Iowa should improve the situation over the course of years.
For now, the highway patrol will only be issuing warnings to the observed offenders of the new rules, but real penalties will follow once the public is made aware of the changes.