Iowa teens could see stricter driving requirements

Teen drivers may have to spend more hours learning behind the wheel before they qualify for a driver's license.

Iowa teenagers with a driving permit may have to spend more time learning the rules of the road before they can get their driver's license.

On Wednesday senators voted 41-8 in favor of a bill that would require teens to have their permit for a year instead of six months. The new measure would also require minors to drive around only one unrelated minor for the first six months after getting a license, unless they are accompanied by a parent or unless their parent signs a waiver giving them blanket permission. Current resistrictions for minors are limited to the number of seatbelts in their car. Rep. Curt Hanson, (D)-Fairfield, is vouching in favor of this bill in the House.

"Protecting young drivers is extremely important," Rep. Hanson said. "When we go out into the world of young drivers it's not a good idea to put them in the deep end of the pool in the busiest traffic situations. "It's good to have some limitations on them for the first year. These kinds of things have been proven very successful in i think 45 other states that have them."

Sen. Tod Bowman sponsored the bill. Rep. Hanson thinks it's important young drivers learn how to handle driving in all types of weather conditions. He would like to see the bill pass in the House before the legislative session ends early May.

"It passed out of a subcommittee [in the House]," Rep. Hanson said, "so it's eligible for debate, but we have to see if leadership will advance it."

Gov. Terry Branstad will review the bill in its final form, if state reps vote in favor of the new requirements. Iowa residents can obtain a driving permit at 14, an intermediate license at 16 and a full license at 18.