Updated: November, 2023Summary of common traffic laws in Iowa – Speed limits, License Renewals, Learners Permits, Drunk Driving Laws, and more. For more information, visit the Iowa Governor's Traffic Safety Bureau website.
In Iowa, the maximum speed limit for cars is 70 mph. The maximum highway speed for trucks is also 70 mph. Speed limits vary by state and, in some cases, county-by-county. Always observe posted traffic laws and drive safely for the weather and road conditions.
Iowa allows new drivers to get their learners permit at the age of 14. You must have your provisional license for a minimum of 12 months. Drivers can then get their intermediate license at 16. An Intermediate License allows you to drive yourself without a qualified co-pilot in the car. However, driving restrictions still apply including the time-of-day you can drive and the maximum number of passengers allowed.
In Iowa, drivers can obtain their full drivers license at the age of 17.
Iowa requires you to renew your license every 5 years. Older drivers face additional renewal requirements:
The state of Iowa enforces increased penalties for all moving vehicle violations violations within work zones. These increased penalties are known as Work Zone Enhancements. Work Zone Enhancements can be enforced even if workers are not present as long as road work signs are posted. In Iowa, Work Zone Enhacements are:
The legal Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is 0.08%. Driving while above the legal limit is called Driving Under the Influence. Driving while above certain BAC is called Driving while intoxicated and carries a heavier penalty. In Iowa, driving with a BAC above 0.15% will trigger automatic enhanced minimum penalties.
Most states do not allow cellphone use while driving. In Iowa, hand-held devices such as phones and mp3 player are banned to novice drivers only. Hands-free interaction with cellphones is allowed.
Texting while driving is banned in Iowa. Texting while driving is a primary offense, meaning that the law can only be enforced if you were pulled over for another reason such as speeding or reckless driving. In Iowa, distracted driving is listed as a category on police crash report forms.
Iowa requires seabelt use. Seatbelt enforcement is concidered primary, meaning you can be pulled over for not wearing a seatbelt. The fine for a seatbelt law violation in Iowa is $25.00. Seatbelt use laws depend on the driving experience of the driver and which seat of the car a passenger is sitting in.