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Iowa Drivers Education

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Whether you are looking to obtain your very first driver’s license or are an experienced driver looking to add more driving privileges with a CDL or endorsements, the state of Iowa requires you to successfully complete driver education. The following information will help you to better understand how driver education works in Iowa.

Testing and Preparing to Drive

Every Iowa school district must offer a driver education course for enrolled students of eligible age. Adults who want to obtain their first driver’s license must successfully complete a licensed driver education course offered by a private party. The Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT) provides information on locating third-party driver education programs that enable students to obtain a driver’s license or additional driving privileges upon successful completion.

Graduated Driver’s License

Road-going accidents are a leading cause of death among teenagers in Iowa and across the United States. So that teen drivers stand a better chance of becoming experienced and safe adult drivers, IDOT requires teens who are under 18 to successfully complete a graduated driver’s licensing program.

The graduated licensing system has three levels of instruction that are designed to impart safe, common sense driving skills as well as knowledge of traffic laws and controls. Those three levels of instruction are:

  • Learner’s permit, which enables the teen driver to operate vehicles on a limited basis and while supervised by a licensed adult.
  • Intermediate license, which enables a teen driver to operate a vehicle on a limited basis without adult supervision.
  • Full driving privileges.

The graduated system takes more than a year to complete but helps to ensure teen motorists are exposed to quality driver education. Adults seeking a license for the first time also must complete a graduated licensing system that goes more quickly.

Remedial Driver Programs

If you accrue too many points on your Iowa driver’s license or otherwise need to improve your driving skills, you can enroll in an Iowa Driver Improvement (DIP) course. The eight-hour DIP course combines personality assessments with classroom driver safety training to help make better drivers out of struggling ones.

Some drivers must successfully complete a DIP course to maintain driving privileges. Those drivers include anyone who:

  • Obtains at least three convictions for qualifying moving violations within a 12-month period.
  • Is convicted of a moving violation for exceeding the speed limit by 25 mph to 29 mph.
  • Illegally passed a school bus for the first time.

Successful completion of the DIP course enables a driver to maintain his or her full driving privileges on a probationary status for one year. A driver who is required to complete the DIP course but does not take it or otherwise fails the course could be subject to a suspension of driving privileges.

Defensive Driving Courses

Even good drivers can learn to become better and safer drivers. The same DIP programs for troublesome drivers also is available for seasoned motorists who want to hone their driving skills. Successfully completing the eight-hour course will not affect your driving status in Iowa, but it could lead to a discount on your auto insurance rates. Successfully completing the DIP course also helps to improve anyone’s driving skills with an emphasis on improving driver safety.

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Last Verified:
Jun 15, 2022