Congratulations! You just received your driver's license. But before you get behind the wheel, it's important to understand the responsibilities that come with your newfound freedom.

Distracted Driving

The number of crashes involving teen drivers is quite alarming. In fact, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that nine people are killed every day in the U.S. as a result of distracted driving. However, it's important to note that distracted driving goes beyond texting and driving. Drivers can also be distracted by:

  • Changing the music
  • Checking an app
  • Viewing your GPS or map
  • Taking a selfie
  • Putting on makeup
  • Eating and drinking

Did you know that many car accidents occur between prom and graduation?

Graduated Driver's License

In an effort to minimize the risks associated with new drivers on the road, Iowa has implemented a Graduated Driver Licensing program. The Graduated Driver Licensing program, or GDL, is a system that was designed to phase young drivers into full driving privileges as they become more mature, gain driving experience and develop their driving skills. The GDL Law went into effect January 1, 2014.

Click here to download a free pocket guide to Iowa's GDL program!

Texting Ban

Iowa's cell phone/texting ban prohibits the use of an electronic device or entertainment device while driving unless the vehicle is at a complete stop off of the traveled portion of the roadway. The no-texting-while-driving law applies to anyone with an instruction permit, school permit, restricted license for a person between the ages of 16 and 18 or a person with an intermediate license. However, this law should be followed by drivers of all ages.

Iowa Methodist Medical Center

If you or someone you know finds themselves in a situation where distracted driving has led to injury, the Iowa Methodist Medical Center is a level I trauma center located in the Des Moines Metro dedicated to treatment, research and scholarly activities in the area of traumatic injury.


Below is a list of resources you can use to help you through the learning-to-drive process.

Keys2Drive provides parents with an easy guide to work with their teens through each step, from choosing a driver education program to deciding when solo driving is permitted.

Street Smarts is an engaging guide to traffic safety. Use these common-sense tips to help you make better driving decisions, increase your ability to drive safely and decrease your chances of a car accident.

AAA PROMise encourages parents and teens to openly communicate about the dangers of underage drinking, drug use and impaired driving.

Q: How many lives were lost in the U.S. in 2016 from distracted driving?

A: According to NHTSA data, which was collected from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, 37,461 lives were lost on U.S. roads in 2016, an increase of 5.6 percent from calendar year 2015.

The 2016 National data shows that:

  • Distraction-related deaths (3,450 fatalities) decreased by 2.2 percent
  • Drowsy-driving deaths (803 fatalities) decreased by 3.5 percent
  • Drunk-driving deaths (10,497 fatalities) increased by 1.7 perĀ­cent
  • Speeding-related deaths (10,111 fatalities) increased by 4.0 percent
  • Unbelted deaths (10,428 fatalities) increased by 4.6 percent
  • Motorcyclist deaths (5,286 fatalities – the largest number of motorcyclist fatalities since 2008) increased by 5.1 percent
  • Pedestrian deaths (5,987 fatalities – the highest number since 1990) increased by 9.0 percent
  • Bicyclist deaths (840 fatalities – the highest number since 1991) increased by 1.3 percent
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