iowa driving information
Hi there, Hawkeye. We gathered info worth knowing when it comes to driving in Iowa. Find out about moving violations and your driving record, the student-driver process, licensing info, and more.
Iowa driver information
Number of licensed drivers: 2,145,000
Registered vehicles: 3,363,000
Licensing and registration authority: Iowa Motor Vehicle Division
Average time needed to get to work: 18.5 minutes (U.S. average: 25.2 minutes)
Driving points, traffic violations, and OWIs
Drivers found guilty of serious moving violations have 2–6 points added to their driving records. Drivers who commit 3 or more serious infractions (including driving with a suspended license, driving while under the influence, and leaving the scene of an accident) in a 6-year period face an automatic license suspension.
Habitual traffic offenders
Drivers who commit 6 moving violations in a 2-year period may be classified as habitual offenders and have their driving privileges revoked or suspended.
The length of the suspension depends on the number of points on a driver's record:
- 6–7 points = 2 years
- 8–9 points = 3 years
- 10–12 points = 4 years
- 13–15 points = 5 years
- 16+ points = 6 years
Drinking and driving in Iowa
Drivers found guilty of OWI (operating while intoxicated) could have their licenses revoked for a minimum of 6 months and may need to complete a course on drinking and driving. For a first offense, there's also a 2-day minimum jail sentence. The sentence is longer for repeat offenders.
Speeding tickets, distracted driving, and car accidents
Texting while driving is illegal for Iowa drivers.
Novice drivers are also banned from using any kind of cell phone or smartphone behind the wheel.
Reporting car accidents
Iowa car accidents must be reported if they caused an injury or $1,500 or more in property damage.
You should file your report with the DOT's Office of Driver Services within 72 hours.
Moving to Iowa
You will be considered an official Iowan after residing in the state for 30 days, accepting a job in Iowa, enrolling your child in an Iowa school, or registering to vote.
You can exchange your old drivers license for your shiny new Iowa license at the nearest drivers license station.
The student-driver process in Iowa
There are 3 stages to student driving in Iowa: permits, intermediate licenses, and full licenses. Here's an overview of how each stage works.
How to get your instruction permit
- Be at least 14 years old
- Pass vision screening and knowledge test
- Have a parent or guardian sign a consent form
- Show proof of identity and verify your Social Security Number
Conditions of driving with an instruction permit
- Must be accompanied at all times by a licensed parent/guardian 21 or older, a drivers education teacher, or a licensed driver 25 or older who has the permission of the student driver's parent or guardian
- Number of passengers can't be greater than the number of seatbelts
How to get your intermediate license
- Be at least 16 years old
- Have had your instruction permit for at least 6 months
- Complete a drivers education course
- Complete 20 hours of supervised driving (including 2 hours at night) while you have an instruction permit
- Drive crash- and ticket-free for the prior 6 months
Conditions of driving with an intermediate license
- No unsupervised night driving (between 12:30 a.m. and 5 a.m.) unless it's for work or school purposes
- Number of passengers can't be greater than number of seatbelts
How to get your full license
- Be at least 17 years old
- Have had your intermediate license for at least one year
- Complete 10 hours of supervised driving (including 2 hours at night) while you have an intermediate license
- Drive crash- and ticket-free for the prior 12 months
- Get the written consent of a parent or guardian
Having a full Iowa license lets you drive on your own with no novice-driver restrictions. Huzzah!
Iowa car insurance information
Get the lowdown on car insurance in the Hawkeye State.
Iowa's Office of Driver Services
Your link for filing accident reports, finding local drivers license stations, and much more.
Driving tips for winter
Be ready for the road when Iowa's temps drop and the snow starts falling.