A new law that goes into effect today lets the parents of teenagers certify they’ve taught their child to drive, so the teen can take the tests to get a driver’s license.
Homeschooling parents like Republican Representative Joel Fry of Osceola have had this authority for the past decade and this extends it to all Iowa parents.
“I, for one, have had the privilege of teaching now four children driver’s ed in my own family,” Fry said, “and I can tell you the amount of time that I spent with that child in driver’s education far outweighs the amount of time I went through driver’s education in the school system.”
Under previous law, teenagers in public and private schools had to pass a driver’s ed class in their school or a commercial driving school — or complete the D-O-T’s online course before taking the written and driving tests for a driver’s license. Any Iowa parent with a valid driver’s license can now certify they’ve covered that material and completed behind-the-wheel training with their child.
Many Democrats raised concerns. Senator Claire Celsi, a Democrat from Des Moines, said a similar law has been in place in Oregon and a four-year study found 91% of young Oregon drivers in accidents were teenagers who had not completed a standard driver’s ed class.
“There are some parents who are completely qualified to teach their children to drive and there frankly are some that are not,” Celsi said.
Republican Governor Kim Reynolds signed the bill in May, but did not issue a public statement on the law change. Iowa now joins Nebraska and seven other states in having a parent-led driver’s ed law.