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Fourteen-year-olds handed driver’s licenses under new law – vehicle owners insist roads will be ‘riskier for everybody’

A NEW law is allowing teenagers as young as 14 years old to operate vehicles on public roads but only if they have a job.

Iowa lawmakers passed a new legislation that means children can get a driver’s license at the age of 14 and a half.

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14-year-olds can only use the license to drive to school, work or extracurricular activities[/caption]

Mother teaching teenage son how to drive in front seat of car
To get the special license, the teenagers have to complete a driver’s education course

The license would allow the teenagers to drive a car unaccompanied, Fortune reported.

They’re allowed to get what’s referred to as a special minor’s restricted license.

It mandates that underaged drivers can use the permit to drive to specific places.

They can only use it to drive to school, work or extracurricular activities.

The permit can also be used by young drivers if they’re completing farm work while assisting parents or employers.

Additionally, the 14-year-old drivers are not permitted to carry more than one minor passenger who is not a relative.

“It’s gonna be riskier for everybody, nighttime driving, sports in the morning,” the owner of AAAA Driving School, Steve Vernon, told WQAD.

“They’re inexperienced. I mean they’re gonna get their license, then two days later they’re gonna be driving.”

To get the special license, the teenagers have to complete a driver’s education course and they also need to have held an instruction or learner’s permit for six months with a clean driving record.

The young drivers could have a learner’s permit for some time already as the state allows 14-year-olds to drive with adult supervision.


If underaged residents who have a special minor’s restricted license break any traffic laws while driving, they actually face more harsh traffic offenses than older drivers.

“We do want to make sure that all these drivers, these young drivers do understand they’re being given this privilege to operate those motor vehicles now at a longer distance more freely than just going to school,” Iowa State Patrol’s Sergeant Alex Dinkla told WHO13.

“And so make sure that they’re obeying those laws. Don’t abuse this privilege to be able to drive, because if you do get a citation that’s going to result in you losing your license for an extended period of time.”

A Driver’s License Compliance Officer with the Iowa Department of Transportation has said that more teens than ever will be driving on public roads because of the special minor’s restricted license.

Rules for 14-year-old Drivers

New legislation has gone into effect in Iowa that allows 14-year-olds to get their driver’s license.

They can only use it under certain conditions:

  • The Iowa teenagers can use the special minor’s restricted license to drive to:
    • school.
    • work.
    • extracurricular activities.
    • complete farm work.
  • The drivers with the special license are not permitted to carry more than one minor passenger who is not a relative.

To get the license 14-year-olds have to:

  • complete a driver’s education course.
  • have held an instruction or learner’s permit for six months.
  • have a clean driving record.

SOURCE: FORTUNE

“Because there are more students that are going to be eligible with homeschool students being added,” Kasey Lee told NBC affiliate WHO13.

“And there may be some that weren’t interested in using the just school or extracurricular purposes because the new SMRL also allows driving for employment.”

While the new minimum age for drivers in Iowa may surprise many, it’s not the only US state with such a low car operating age.

South Dakota also allows 14-and-a-half-year-olds to get a restricted minor’s permit.

It lets them drive pretty much wherever they’d like but only between certain hours of the day.

The South Dakota underaged drivers with the permit are allowed to operate vehicles from 6:00 a.m. through 10:00 p.m.

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