New state law Jan. 1: Teen drivers must hold permit for 1 year - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

New state law Jan. 1: Teen drivers must hold permit for 1 year

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WATERLOO (KWWL) - Officials with the Iowa Department of Transportation hope changes to state law will make young drivers safer.

Starting Jan. 1, teenagers will have to hold an instruction permit for an entire year before they're able to graduate to an intermediate license.

This means these drivers will need to spend an additional six months of driving with adult supervision than they've had to do in the past.

The state is also imposing a "passenger restriction" on all school permits, a permit that allows teens to drive to and from school between the hours of 5 a.m. and 10 p.m.

According to the DOT, the restriction on school permits will allow one passenger to ride in the vehicle who is unrelated to the driver and under the age of 18.

"The fewer number of people in the car, the more that they are paying attention to their driving abilities," said Deb Homewood, a driver's license supervisor in Waterloo.

While a lot of teens are excited to get their permits, many admit it's easy to get distracted.

"It's very easy because nowadays the new technology, texting you know, kids like to text while they're driving and the roads are like slippery, so it's pretty easy," said 14-year old Teion Sales of Waterloo.

Sales is a student at East High School and said he's excited to get his permit next semester.

He said he thinks extra restrictions for young drivers are OK.

"I honestly think it's a good thing because safety comes first when it all boils down to it," he said.

DOT officials encourage people with questions about upcoming law changes to click here.
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