Iowa

Highway safety laws differ from state to state. The summary information here can be used to compare laws in specific categories. We monitor legislative changes and update this information as needed.

RESTRICTIONS ON CELLPHONE USE AND TEXTING
Hand-held ban no
Young drivers all cellphone ban learner's permit and intermediate license holders
Texting ban all drivers
Enforcement primary for learner's permit and intermediate license holders; secondary for texting
MAXIMUM POSTED SPEED LIMITS
Rural interstates (mph) 70
Urban interstates (mph) 55
Other limited access roads (mph) 70
Other roads (mph) 65
YOUNG DRIVER LICENSING SYSTEMS
To get a learners license you must:
Have a minimum age of 141
YOUNG DRIVER LICENSING SYSTEMS
Before getting a license or restricted license you must:
Have a mandatory holding period of 12 months1
Have a minimum supervised driving time of 20 hours, 2 of which must be at night2
Have a minimum age of 163,2,1
YOUNG DRIVER LICENSING SYSTEMS
Restrictions during intermediate or restricted license stage:
Nighttime restrictions 12:30 a.m.-5 a.m.
Passenger restrictions

(family members excepted unless otherwise noted)
parental discretion 4
YOUNG DRIVER LICENSING SYSTEMS
Minimum age at which restrictions may be lifted:
Nighttime restrictions 12 months and age 17 or until age 18, whichever occurs first (min. age: 17)
Passenger restrictions none
REGULAR LICENSING RENEWAL CYCLE
Length of regular renewal cycle 5 through 8 years5
OLDER DRIVER SPECIAL LICENSING PROVISIONS
Accelerated renewal 2 years for drivers 72 and older
Other provisions people 70 and older may not renew online
CHILD RESTRAINTS
Must be in child restraint younger than 1 year and less than 20 pounds in a rear-facing child restraint; 1 through 5 years in a child restraint or a booster seat
Adult safety belt permissible 6 through 17 years
Maximum fine 1st offense $25
Seating preference law states no preference for rear seat
Children not covered all children covered
SAFETY BELT USE
Initial effective date 07/01/86
Standard enforcement? yes; effective 07/01/86
Who is covered? In what seats? 18+ years in front seat
Maximum fine 1st offense $25
Can nonuse decrease monetary awards for injuries in lawsuits? yes
MOTORCYCLE HELMET USE
Motorcyclists covered no law
BICYCLE HELMET USE
Covered by state law no law
PICKUP TRUCKS: RESTRICTIONS ON RIDING IN CARGO AREAS
Restrictions on riding in cargo areas no state law
Gaps in coverage no state law
LOW-SPEED VEHICLES
On which roads are low-speed vehicles permitted? roads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less
What is the top speed permissible for low-speed vehicles? 25 mph

1In Iowa, drivers education graduates who have held an instruction permit for at least 6 months and are at least 14 and 6 months may apply for a school license that permits unsupervised driving between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m. The school license limits drivers to direct routes to and from school for classes or school sponsored activities, other schools hosting activities, school bus stops and gas stations. Holders of a minor school license may not use any type of cellphone, carry more than one unrelated passenger, or drive to another school district without an extra-curricular sharing agreement.

2Iowa requires a certification of 10 additional hours of supervised driving during the intermediate stage, two of which must be at night.

3In Iowa, driver education is required for an intermediate license and for an unrestricted license if the applicant is younger than 18.

4In Iowa, parents are permitted to waive at the time of licensure a discretionary six-month passenger limit of no more than one unrelated passenger younger than 18, effective Jan. 1, 2014.

5Beginning Jan. 1, 2014, and continuing through Dec. 31, 2018, Iowa will transition from a standard five-year license term to an eight-year license term. During this time, Iowa driver's licenses will be issued with a randomly assigned expiration date between five and eight years.