Legislators have voted to double the amount of supervised driving time required before an Iowa teenager can legally drive alone.
In addition, Representative Josh Byrnes said the bill also sets new restrictions that forbid teens with an intermediate driver’s license from having more than one unrelated passenger in the vehicle.
“Unless your parents were willing to or the parent was willing to sign a waiver to allow more than one person in the vehicle that is unrelated,” Byrnes said.
The legislation passed the House by an overwhelming 89-10 vote. The bill requires teenagers with a permit to have at least 12 months of supervised driving with a parent or guardian before they can apply for an intermediate driver’s license, which lets them drive alone.
Discussion of the proposals prompted Representative Mark Lofgren of Muscatine to talk about his personal experience with teen drivers.
“I support this bill,” he said. “I have three daughters and all three had accidents within six months of (getting) their license and I just got done paying $150 for a mailbox on Mulberry Avenue in Muscatine the other day.”
Representative Byrnes, who is from Osage, is the father of a 15-year-old driver.
“We have gone longer than six months and have not hit a mailbox yet, so I’m feeling pretty good about things,” Byrnes said.
AUDIO of House debate of SF 115 (mp3 runs less than 3 min.)
Iowa is one of just a handful of states which do not have restrictions on who may ride in the vehicle during a teeanger’s first year behind the wheel. Representative John Forbes of Urbandale said the bill a public safety priority.
“Our children need this type of protection,” Forbes said.
The Senate passed the bill in late March, so with Tuesday’s endorsement from the Iowa House, it’s now up to Governor Branstad to decide whether the bill is acceptable to him.