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Iowa Learners Permit Restrictions - IA Driving Permit Rules

Iowa Permit Restrictions

Once you are issued with a drivers permit, it allows you to practice your driving skills. However, you must always remember that the learners permit comes with a number of permit restrictions that you are to observe at all times. Iowa permit restrictions are different for drivers of various age groups, so you have to make sure you know the permit restrictions that apply to you. In addition to observing all Iowa permit restrictions that are attributed to older drivers, teenager also need to meet the requirements of the graduated driver license program. Failure to observe Iowa permit restrictions may result in your driving privilege being suspended or canceled altogether.

Many young drivers wonder why these restrictions are there and why not issue all Iowa drivers license applicants with a full unrestricted drivers license if all test requirements can be made. The reason why the Iowa Department of Transportation implements these additional licensing steps and restrictions is simple - the state wants you to gain some driving experience before you start driving alone. Lack of driving experience is a number one risk factor for those who just got a drivers license and there are no measures that could compensate for this, you literally have to spend hundreds of hours behind the wheel in order to become a safe driver. The Iowa permit restrictions are there to ensure that your first hours of driving are as safe as possible and you get through this period without causing yourself or other drivers around you any damages.

Iowa Permit Restrictions - Over 18 Years of Age

If you are over 18 years of age, there are not that many driving permit restrictions for you to observe. You just have to make sure that whenever you are behind the wheel, you have another licensed driver seated next to you. The other driver must hold a valid Iowa drivers license and satisfy the following requirements:

  • be your parent/legal guardian
  • be a member of your family at least 21 years of age
  • be a licensed driving instructor
  • be at least 25 years of age

There is no holding period for your Iowa learners permit and you can take a drivers license test as soon as you feel you're ready. However, we advise that you linger at this stage and gain as many hours of driving experience as possible. Extra hours of driving will not only help you pass the drivers test the first time you take it, but will ensure that once you are on the road alone, you feel more confident and relaxed.

Recent changes to the drivers license laws that went into effect in July 2010 also introduced a ban on using a cell phone or any other communication device for drivers of all ages. You cannot use a cell phone, even with a hands-free device, until you get a drivers license. Texting is forbidden even for drivers license holders, if you need to send a message, you have to park your car before you do that.

Even though there are not many permit restriction for you to observe, you still have to go through the same testing procedure as younger drivers. The state requires you to prove that you know the driving rules, traffic signs and are familiar with safe driving practices and you do that by taking an Iowa permit test. The test is provided in form of multiple choice and true or false questions. If you would like to see what the test is like, you can take a free Iowa drivers permit practice test, it will help you learn the wording used by the DOT.

Iowa Permit Restrictions - Under 18 Years of Age

If you are under 18 years of age, the way you get a drivers license and all your permit and license restrictions are determined by the Iowa graduated drivers license system. Once you pass the drivers permit test and get your learners permit, you must observe the following restrictions:

  • No driving alone. You must have a supervising driver accompany you at all times. The supervising driver can be your parent,, a family member over 21 years of age, a drivers education teacher or any other driver at least 25 years of age who has written consent from your parents.
  • Passenger restrictions. The number of passengers in the vehicle must not exceed the number of available seat belts.
  • No cell phones. You cannot use a cell phone or any other communication or entertainment device that is not built into the vehicle.

You must hold your learners permit for at least six months and be at least 16 years of age before you can continue on to the next step - a provisional drivers license. During the learners permit phase, you are required to complete a state-approved Iowa drivers ed class and log at least 20 hours of supervised driving, with at least two hours being done at night.

If you are convicted of breaking these restrictions or receive a moving violation, you will have to attend a Remedial Drivers Improvement class. After the class, a DOT representative can also suspend or cancel your driving privilege. The Iowa drivers manual contains more information about traffic offenses and the resulting consequences.

Iowa Provisional License Restrictions

If you are at least 16 years of age, have fulfilled all learners permit requirements and have passed an Iowa drivers test, you are awarded a provisional drivers license. This license allows you to drive alone, provided you observe the following provisional license restrictions:

  • Nighttime driving. You are not allowed to drive between 12:30 a.m. and 5 a.m. This restriction may be lifted if you are traveling to an employment or school related activity and you obtain an official waiver. The restriction also doesn't apply if you have a supervising driver present in the vehicle. The requirements to the supervising driver are the same as for the learners permit.
  • Passenger restrictions. The number of passengers that can be present in the vehicle is limited by the number of available seat belts. Everyone in the vehicle must wear a seat belt.
  • No cell phones. You cannot use a cell phone or any other communication or entertainment device that is not built into the vehicle.

The holding period for your intermediate drivers license is 12 months and the consequences of breaking the license restrictions are the same as for breaking the permit restrictions - you have to submit to the Remedial Drivers Improvement class and then your license can either be suspended or revoked.