Bill Sets Up Work Related Driving Permits For Teens Between 14 And A Half And 16

Des Moines, Iowa — Teens as young as 14 and a half could get a permit to drive to and from work if a bill headed to the governor becomes law.

It would be similar to school permits that let 14 and 15-year-olds legally drive to and from school as well as to school activities. If the bill becomes law, any teen under the age of 16 with a permit for work, school or farm work who’s caught driving elsewhere would lose their driving privileges for three months — and when they turn 16 they won’t be able to get an intermediate permit for three months. Senator Adrian Dickey, a Republican from Packwood, led development of the bill.

A 14 or 15-year-old with one of these “special minors restricted licenses” would only be able to drive an hour before work or a school event and get home within an hour of their work shift or the end of the school activity. Once they’re at work, they won’t be able to drive. Dickey says that means they cannot be asked to be delivery drivers.

Teens under the age of 16 who have a permit for farm work will have a little more driving freedom as current rules are preserved, letting them drive to pick up parts, for example. Senator Todd Taylor, a Democrat from Cedar Rapids, says having young teens drive for work early in the morning or late at night isn’t a good idea.

Representative Mary Madison, a Democrat from West Des Moines, says letting inexperienced drivers drive themselves to work increases the likelihood they’ll be involved in an accident.

Representative Elinor Levin, a Democrat from Iowa City, says letting 14 and 15-year-olds drive to and from work as well as school will increase the number of very inexperienced drivers on the road.

Representative Brent Siegrist, a Republican from Council Bluffs, says the proposed 25-mile radius for each trip made by young drivers going to work or school makes sense.

A temporary 10-member conference committee was convened to resolve an impasse between House and Senate Republicans on some sections of the bill and the committee’s agreement won final legislative approval at 3:30 a.m. Saturday.   

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