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Des Moines, Iowa

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Chrissie Cole
Chrissie Cole
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Iowa's Graduated Drivers License (GDL) Law

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States across the nation began implementing what is known as the Graduated Driver Licensing System (GDL) in the 1990s as a way to reduce teen auto accidents and deaths. GDLs are programs designed to phase in young beginners to full driving privileges. It introduces them to driving in a low-risk way as they mature their driving skills.

Numerous states, including Iowa, have initiated three stages of restrictions and privileges. Advocates, including Iowa motor vehicle injury attorneys, support these programs that help to prevent unnecessary auto accidents in young drivers.

Stage One: Instruction Permit

Iowa drivers age 14 and older can obtain an instruction permit after they have completed requisite vision and driver tests. However, certain conditions must first be met before the driver can move to the next stage of privileges which includes the following:

-Must have the permit for six months.

-At least 20 hours of driving with a parent, guardian or family member that is 21 or older. Driving with a driver education teach or a driver older than 25 with written consent of the parent or guardian.

-Completed supervised driving during non-daylight hours; minimum of two hours must be between sunset and sunrise.

-Must maintain a driving record clean of any accidents or tickets for 6 months.

Stage Two: Intermediate License

Iowa drivers 16 or older who pass requirements of the instruction permit may be granted an intermediate license, but again, certain criteria must be met before moving on to full driving privileges which include the following:

-Must have the intermediate license for at least 12 months

-At least 10 hours of driving with a parent, guardian or family member that is 21 or older. Driving with a driver education teach or a driver older than 25 with written consent of the parent or guardian.

-Drive with supervision during the hours of 12:30 a.m. and 5 a.m., unless an approved waiver has been obtained to drive to and from work or school

-Must maintain a driving record clean of any accidents or tickets for 6 months

Stage Three: Full License

After completion of all requirements and conditions within the first two stages, Iowa drivers 17 and older are eligible to obtain a standard driver’s license.

Research studies estimate a reduction in teen car crashes up to 40 percent in states with stronger GDL laws. For more information, we encourage you to visit the Iowa Department of Transportation.