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Privilege and responsibility

By Staff | Jul 3, 2008

Now in its 10th year, Iowa’s Graduated Driver’s License program continues to offer drivers under the age of 18 a three-step process that allows for increased driving privilege as the driver gains more skill and acquires responsible driving practices.

Emmet County Sheriff Larry Lamack believes the program is good in that young drivers have to take a little more responsibility, drive carefully and maintain a clean driving record. “It’s not a bad thing that these young drivers know that the driver’s license can be taken away for one violation or one accident.”

The program’s three steps are: instruction permit, intermediate license and full license.

With written approval from parent/guardian, The DOT offers the instruction permit at age 14 with the stipulation it must be held for six months.

Lamack said all driving must be supervised by:

n Parent or guardian.

n Family member over 21 years of age.

n Driver’s education teacher.

n Driver over 25 with written permission of parent/guardian.

When the 14-year-old driver is at the wheel, the number of passengers is limited by the number of available seat belts.

Lamack added that 20 hours of supervised driving time must be logged with a minimum of two hours between sunset and sunrise.

“The teen must drive accident- and violation-free for six consecutive months immediately prior to application for the intermediate license,” he said.

The instruction permit must be obtained before driver education can begin at the minimum age of 14.

At the age of 16, the intermediate license is made available as long as the following guidelines have been completed:

n All conditions of instruction permit have been met.

n Parent/guardian has consented.

n License holder confines unsupervised driving from 5 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. and can drive to and from work or school-related extracurricular activities with a waiver.

n Ten hours of unsupervised driving is logged.

n Number of passengers corresponds with seat belt availability.

n There must be 12 consecutive months of accident- and violation-free driving immediately preceding application for a full license.

A section devoted to remedial driver improvement applies to drivers, 18 and under, who have been referred to the DOT if involved in a violation or accident.

“The driver and parent or guardian must participate in an interview with an official from the DOT,” the sheriff said. “At that time, the DOT officer can impose extra driving restrictions, or possibly order a suspension of driving privileges.”

The sheriff continued, “The driver must then begin a new accident- and violation-driving period of six or 12 months to qualify for the next licensing level.”

Full license privileges are made available when young drivers are 17. “All conditions of the intermediate license must have been met and the parent/guardian has given written approval.”

Once this level is reached, the young driver is granted full driving privileges with no restrictions.

Lamack said, “It is not a bad idea that persons with a intermediate license cannot drive after 12:30 a.m. No person at that age needs to be out that late.”

He did qualify this last statement by saying there are exceptions with special circumstances of employment or driving with a family member over the age of 21 or a non-family member over the age of 25.

For more information, parents can go to: www.dot.state.ia.us/mvd/ods/coach.pdf