Gov. Branstad signs changes for Iowa drivers

Restrictive graduated driver's license laws in Iowa could save 32 teen lives per year, researchers find

DES MOINES – Beginning and novice drivers will face more restrictions designed to improve safety on Iowa roadways under legislation signed into law by Gov. Terry Branstad on Wednesday.

Senate File 115 extends from six months to one year the time that a teenager with a learner’s permit will need to practice supervised driving with a parent or guardian in the car before he or she would receive a graduated driver’s license.

Also, the measure will restrict the number of passengers riding in a car operated by a driver to one non-sibling under the age of 18 during the first six months of an “intermediate” license to minimize distractions. An exception would be made for more than one sibling passenger and, before passing the measure, senators approved an “opt-out” provision on the passenger restriction for parents of youth in rural areas to seek a waiver.

Backers noted that 45 other states operate under the rule changes included in S.F. 115. Researchers estimate that implementing more restrictive graduated driver’s license laws in Iowa could save 32 teen lives and save the state $200 million each year.

Currently, teen drivers can get a learner’s permit at age 14 after an intermediate driver’s license at age 16, after they’ve driven at least six months with an adult in the vehicle. There currently is no passenger restriction for young drivers.

Branstad signed 13 bills into law Wednesday, including a measure which increased the fee to $10 effective upon enactment for Iowans who need to replace a lost or stolen driver’s license or non-operator’s identification card.

Senate File 224 also extends the time frame for renewing a license from five years to eight years for drivers between the ages of 17 years, 11 months and 72. Drivers older that age 72 will be required to renew their operator’s licenses every two years under the bill that now goes to the governor for his consideration.Comments: (515) 243-7220;