Operating a Motor Vehicle

What are the rules regarding an Iowa Minor School License?

   The minimum age to be eligible for a minor school license is 14 .

   The student must live one mile or more from school.

   The student must have completed an Iowa-approved course in driver education, held a valid Instruction Permit during the six-

    month period following the application, and the student's driving history must be free of convictions for moving traffic violations,

    accidents, and license withdrawal during the six-month period following the application. 

   The student must take the most direct route between the licensee's residence and school of enrollment for the purpose of

    attending duly scheduled courses of instruction between the hours of 6a.m. and 10p.m. 

   A Minor School License may also be used to travel to and from extracurricular activities within the school district.  The permit

    can not be used to drive to another school districts for athletic events.

   A student can drive to another school district if the student is enrolled in that public or private school which is not the school

    district of residence because of open enrollment.

   A conviction for a single moving traffic violation will result in a 30-day suspension.  A conviction of two or more violations will

    result in revocation for one year. 

   Stopping for fuel is not authorized or prohibited since obtaining fuel is incidental to driving, provided the service station is on the

    most direct route of travel.

When do I yield the right of way to an Emergency vehicle?

You must yield the right of way to a police vehicle, fire engine, ambulance or any other emergency vehicle using a siren and a red or blue flashing light.  Pull over to the right edge of the road, or as near to the right as possible whenever you see or hear an emergency vehicle approaching from any direction.  If you are in an intersection, drive through the intersection before you pull over.  You must stay at least 500 feet behind any emergency vehicle using flashing lights and sirens on its way to an emergency.


I know I need to stop when the flashing red lights are activated on a bus and the stop arm extended, but what about the amber lights?


According to Iowa Code Chapter 321.372 it states in part that the driver of a school bus shall activate the amber flashing warning lights prior to stopping the   bus to discharge or receive students.  The amber flashing warning lights alerts drivers of other vehicles that the bus is preparing to stop.  The driver of a vehicle following a school bus is prohibited from passing the school bus when the amber or red flashing lights are activated.  The driver of a vehicle shall stop no closer than fifteen feet from the school bus when the stop arm is extended.


When meeting a school bus with amber flashing lights, the driver of a vehicle shall reduce its speed to no more than twenty miles per hour and be prepared to stop when the stop arm is extended.  Bus drivers are trained to observe and document violations of Chapter 321.372 and report it to law enforcement.  Law enforcement in turn, are required by code to issue a citation to the violator.  Currently the total fine and court cost is $182.00.


    Remember, when you see the flashing warning lights on a school bus reduce your speed and be prepared to stop.


Child Restraint Laws


1.  A child under one year of age and weighing less that 20 pounds must be secured in a rear-facing child restraint system.

2.  A child under six years of age who does not meet the description in #1 must be secured by a child restraint system.

3.  A child at least six years of age but under eleven years of age shall be secured by a child restraint system or a safety belt or

     safety harness. 


All child restraint systems must meet federal motor vehicle safety standards and must be used properly.  There is a fine for violation of this law.  The fine for the first violation can be waived by the court if you prove you have obtained a safety seat. 


A citation may be issued to the driver if a child passenger is:

    1.  Under the age of 3 and not in a child restraint system.

    2.  Between 3 and 6 years of age and not in a child restraint system or wearing a seat belt

    3.  Age 6 to 11 and not wearing a seat belt while sitting in the front seat.


A Misdemeanor fine is $100, plus costs (non-moving violation) totaling at least $195.00.  This fine applies to both residents and non-residents of Iowa.  Non-use is probable cause to stop a vehicle.  For unrestrained passengers ages 0-13, the driver receives the citation, and for unrestrained passengers ages 14-17, the passenger receives the citation.  First-offense citations will not result in convictions if the driver "produces in court" proof of acquisition of a child restraint. 


4 Stages of Occupant Protection:

    1.  Infant or Rear Facing - Birth to at least 1 year and 20 pounds.

    2.  Convertible or Forward Facing - Over 1 year and 20-40 pounds.

    3.  Booster Seat - Less then 4'9" and 40-80 pounds.

    4.  Vehicle Lap and Shoulder Belt - Over 4'9" and usually over 80 pounds.




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