Driver permit time extends
Under Senate File 115, which was signed into law last week, the number of underage passengers in a vehicle with an underage driver is restricted and the time period between a permit and a license has been lengthened.
“Right now the driver can upgrade their permit to an intermediate driver’s license in six months without any tickets, or contributable accidents,” Washington County treasurer Jeff Garrett said. “That will go up to 12 months.”
Another change is limiting the number of underage passengers in the vehicle.
Under current law, an intermediate licensee may transport only as many passengers as there are seat belts in the vehicle, but there is no passenger restriction specified.
“In addition, for the first six months following the issuance of the license, a person issued an intermediate license must limit the number of unrelated minor passengers in the motor vehicle when the intermediate licensee is operating the motor vehicle to one,” Senate File 115 said. “Unrelated minor passenger means a passenger who is under 18 years of age and who is not a sibling of the driver, a stepsibling, or a child who resides in the same household.”
According to the Iowa Department of Transportation’s Web site, to receive an intermediate driver’s license the student must complete 10 hours of supervised driving with a parent or guardian. This will also change.
“During that period, the permittee must accumulate a total of 20 hours of street or highway driving while accompanied by the permittee’s parent, guardian, custodian, or instructor, a person certified by the department of transportation, or a person at least 25 years of age with written permission from a parent, guardian, or custodian to accompany the permittee,” Senate File 115 said.
Washington Community School District superintendent Mike Jorgensen hadn’t heard about the changes to the driver’s permit time until The Journal contacted him today.
“I know this will restrict some of the parents, but in my own opinion I think it’s a good idea,” Jorgensen said.
The school district has a private firm that teaches drivers education to the students.
“It will definitely affect when a student gets their driver’s license,” Jorgensen said. “You probably won’t see 14-year-old licensed drivers anymore.”