Get There Your Way

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We’re here to help you get where you need to go!

We understand “getting there” is essential for economic and social vitality and that quality transportation options are key – without it people can’t get to work, take their children to school, be involved within their communities, get to the grocery store, place of worship, or seek medical attention.

We're committed to helping you find your way within a mobility system that benefits you, your families, our communities, and Iowa’s economy. Whether you elect to not use or own a personal vehicle, are in a transitional period of being ineligible for a driver’s license, or are looking for a temporary way to get around – we can help!

 


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DRIVING NOT AN OPTION? PLAN AHEAD

We realize there may be a variety of reasons why driving isn’t an option for you right now – from being ineligible for a driver’s license, a temporary or long-term medical condition, retiring from driving, socio-cultural reasons, re-entering society, the cost of owning and maintaining a vehicle, or personal choice and convenience.

The following provides information which may be useful to you, including information about driving eligibility if your goal is to have a driver’s license, resources, and tools to help you plan for alternative ways to Get There Your Way.

INELIGIBLE: SUSPENDED OR REVOKED?   INELIGIBLE: SUSPENDED OR REVOKED?

Not currently eligible to drive due to a suspension or revocation? We realize life doesn’t stop just because your driving situation has changed. As everyone’s driving record and eligibility is unique, here’s some general information to help guide you during your transition to becoming eligible for a license.


Driving illegally without a valid license can result in more fines, more suspensions or revocations, and make it very difficult to regain valid driving privileges. Don’t get caught in that cycle - check out what alternative transportation options are available and customizable for you during this transition.

Contact us

Have questions specific to your record and eligibility? We’re here to help. Contact us in a way convenient for you.

Phone: 515-244-8725
Email: Driver.Services@iowadot.us
Fax: 515-239-1837
Website

Medical/Vision: TEMPORARY OR PERMANENT CONDITION  Medical or Vision Conditions and Driving

If driving isn’t an option due to a temporary or permanent medical/vision condition, or you’re ineligible to drive due to a medical or vision-related sanction on your driving record, we’re here to help ease the challenges associated with mobility.

There are transportation options available, many at reduced costs, to help you navigate life’s necessary appointments whether medical, social, getting to work, or daily needs of getting groceries or shopping. Below is information related to driving eligibility as well as alternative transportation options.

Medical or Vision-Related Sanctions

The reason(s) for a medical sanction on your driving record are unique to the person which may include varying degrees of physical, cognitive, or vision-related impairment. If your goal is to pursue reinstatement of your driving privileges, it is important to understand that your health care professional (MD, DO, ARNP, or PAC) must first recommend driving privileges. They may request additional medical evaluations with a specialist or a medically-based driving evaluation conducted by an occupational therapist or certified driver rehabilitation specialist before making a recommendation to reinstate your driving privileges. Knowledge and on-road driving examinations are also required to reinstate driving privileges following a medical or vision-related sanction.

You’re also eligible to receive an identification card (ID), free of charge, if your licensing eligibility changed due to a medical sanction. Contact us or stop by one our issuance service center locations to receive your free replacement ID.


If you’re in need of alternative services including paratransit services, transportation to medical appointments, pharmaceutical pick-up/delivery, grocery services including delivery, package delivery, or in-home health services check out the links here and under the Alternative Transportation section, search online for services available within your community, or contact your local organizations and agencies to further inquire.

Contact us

We understand the process can be difficult or confusing as requirements may shift. Let us help you. Contact us in a way convenient for you so we can discuss and create a customized plan to address your licensing eligibility, reinstatement requirements, and alternative options for getting where you need to go, when you need to go.

Phone: 515-244-8725
Email: Driver.Services@iowadot.us
Fax: 515-239-1837


PLAN AHEAD: RETIRING FROM DRIVING  PLAN AHEAD: RETIRING FROM DRIVING

retiring from driving photo

For many, driving is a rite of passage that provides freedom and independence to get out and about, keep in contact with family and friends, enabling us to maintain our quality of life. One of the best ways of making sure we are able to keep driving for as long as possible is to keep our driving skills and knowledge up to date. As we age, we may experience physical or cognitive changes that affect our driving. It’s important to recognize these changes and utilize resources and advice on how to adapt if your driving is changing as you get older so you can keep driving safely for as long as possible.

However, the time may come when it is simply no longer possible for you to continue to drive safely, and for your own sake, and the sake of other people on the road, you must stop driving, and consider alternative ways to get where you need to go.

If you carry on driving when you are no longer safe to do so, you are putting yourself and other people (your passengers, pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and people in other vehicles) at risk.

Retiring from driving does not have to mean that you will lose your freedom and mobility, as there are many alternatives to driving, and if you no longer use your car very much, it may make good financial sense to give it up and use the money you save for other ways of getting about.

We’ve made available some conversation starters, tools, and resources surrounding coping with changes and how to stay safe while continuing to drive, retiring from driving, and how loved ones can have these sensitive conversations with family members.

COPING WITH CHANGES IN DRIVING

As we age, many start to notice their driving ability changes. Stay ahead by proactively changing when and where you drive to help compensate for these new changes. If you find yourself in this situation, here are some helpful tips and resources you may find useful:

  • Avoid certain driving situations, times and routes (for example, in-town vs. interstate driving) that you find more difficult and stressful. For many, this typically includes avoiding driving:
    • At night
    • During rush hour
    • Through high-volume, busy intersections and routes
    • On certain types of roads (for example, interstate and highway driving)
  • Allow more time to get where you need to go, so you can drive safely, at a slightly reduced speed, and not feel rushed.
  • Reduce the amount of driving by using convenient, personalized alternative transportation options like friends or family, public transit, buses, taxis, and more.
  • Consider taking regular driving assessments, refresher training like the AARP Smart Driver Refresher Course, or attending events to help you continue to drive safely, for as long as possible.
  • Learn from your mistakes and near misses, think about situations you found difficult and what you could have done differently to minimize the likelihood of reoccurrence.
  • Change or adapt your car to make your driving easier and safer. We’ve made this easier than ever by offering CarFit opportunities throughout the state. CarFit, developed by the American Association on Aging in collaboration with the AARP, American Occupational Therapy Association, and AAA. Program events are designed to provide a quick but comprehensive check of how well you and your vehicle work together. A trained professional will ask you simple questions and complete a 12-point CarFit checklist.
  • Consider whether it’s time to retire from driving. If you travel infrequently, have physical or cognitive changes which are affecting you’re driving, or travel less than 2,000 miles per year – it is often cheaper and more convenient to use alternative modes of transportation like taxis, bus, or car pool services in your area.



In addition to information, tools, and resources below about alternative modes of transportation and route planning resources, here’s useful information made available by The Hartford to help you or a loved one have those sensitive conversations about changes in driving, safety, and retiring from driving:




HOW TO HELP AN AGING LOVED ONE KNOW WHEN IT’S TIME TO RETIRE FROM DRIVING

Retiring from driving may be one of the most challenging moments in your aging loved one’s life. Is it time to stop driving? How will I know? Ideally, this is a conversation that has been happening over time, but if that’s not the case, don’t panic – we’re here to help you throughout this transition.

When a parent or loved one is no longer able to safely drive, there is a readjustment period and time of grief. Many things have changed that have led up to this moment; for many, it is a signal of loss. We realize having this conversation with your parent or loved one is sensitive and difficult. Rather than talking only about the negative, focus on your loved one’s transition and actively plan for ways they can maintain as much freedom, control, and choice in their lives as possible.

Talk about why retiring from driving is so important. As aging drivers and vehicle crash fatality rates continue to be some of the highest, discuss how continuing to drive may mean life or death. As we age, it becomes more difficult to recover from physical trauma like car crashes. As we age, our mental, physical, visual, and reaction times also change. If your loved one is having difficulty with the transition to retire from driving, consider speaking with a professional who can help evaluate not only their driving but also mental and physical abilities.

Below is information to help you identify what phase of transitioning from driving you and your loved one face, and resources to help guide these conversations.

Understand the 5 Stages of the Retiring from Driving Conversations

  1. The Driving Conversations – Ideally, you’ve begun having these conversations before any issues are present. Talk about your vision and concerns for the future and be an advocate of your parent and loved one
  2. The First Signs of Change – Look for changes in driving behavior and utilize self-assessment tools. Continue to provide support and let them know their safety, mobility, and independence is your priority.
  3. The Warning Signs – Learn the signals that are more serious concerns, when to seek advice from a medical professional, referrals to driving rehabilitation specialists, and what adaptive devices for vehicles may benefit your loved one.
  4. When It’s Time to Retire from Driving – Know the critical questions to ask and what methods can help ease the transition. Learn what alternative approaches are available if retiring from driving will not be voluntary.
  5. Preserving Independence after Retiring from Driving – Plan for their future and consider alternative modes of transportation, to maintain their highest level of freedom and independence, as possible


DON’T GET CAUGHT DRIVING IMPAIRED, BE PREPARED  DON’T GET CAUGHT DRIVING IMPAIRED, BE PREPARED

Don’t let a day or night of fun destroy your future. Buzzed driving is illegal in Iowa whether you’re under the influence of alcohol or drugs (prescription and illegal). Plan ahead and end your night on the right kind of high, by using alternative transportation to get home safely.

In addition to having sober friends and family act as a designated driver, there are other options available like taxi services, public transit, or rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft. We promise the cost of paying for these services is nothing compared to the price you pay for a DUI. It’s not worth the risk.

Don’t wait until it’s too late, and plan ahead.

NEW IOWAN: IMMIGRANT & REFUGEE RESOURCES’  NEW IOWAN: IMMIGRANT & REFUGEE RESOURCES

Feeling comfortable with and understanding social and cultural norms in a new environment is stressful. You may recognize differences from the way that you’re accustomed to living daily life with added pressures to learn about political, employment, educational, language, and economic sub-cultures. We recognize that obtaining identity (identification card or driver’s license) and devising a plan to be mobile is critical for your success and vitality within your new community. And we recognize that the path to obtaining an Iowa card is unique to you.

We’re here to help provide information and resources to make this process less confusing and stressful. The following sections address information, resources, and services specific to New Iowans (immigrant and refugee community members).

Contact us

Have questions specific to your record and eligibility? We’re here to help. Contact us in a way convenient for you.

Phone: 515-244-8725
Email: Driver.Services@iowadot.us
Fax: 515-239-1837
Website

WHAT CAN YOUR CARD (IDENTIFICATION CARD OR DRIVER’S LICENSE) DO?

Relocating to a new area, state, or country (whether by choice or not) can be an intimidating process. Figuring out how to get where you need to go, when you need to go is a critical factor in your success. Without transportation, you’re facing difficulties getting to work, school, daycare, grocery stores, and more.

We’re here to help you understand the differences between the card types, and specifically the associated driving privileges with each type. Not understanding this information and driving when you don’t have the correct card type may lead to receiving tickets or citations from law enforcement, an expensive process we want to help you avoid.

WHAT IS A REAL ID?

Beginning Oct. 1, 2020, If you fly commercially you’ll either need a REAL ID license or ID in addition to your USCIS issued document, or you’re going to be subject to additional screening and potential delay.

Don’t panic! We’re here to help you determine if you already have a REAL ID license or ID or decide if a REAL ID license or ID is right for you. More about Real ID.

WHAT TO BRING WHEN APPLYING FOR AN IOWA DRIVER’S LICENSE OR IDENTIFICATION CARD

When applying for, renewing, updating, or getting a duplicate identification card (ID) or driver’s license (DL) for the first time, there is an unique set of documentation that is required for our service center consultants to verify prior to issuing your ID or DL.

The following information serves to help you better understand what documentation to bring when you visit one of our service centers, but also why we require certain documents before issuing your ID or DL.

RESOURCES FOR LIMITED ENGLISH PROFICIENT (LEP) CUSTOMERS

We recognize that our services, information, and products often refer to technical and legal language. This can make it difficult to understand, regardless of someone’s understanding of the English language. In addition to explaining information in a way that someone without a technical background can understand, we strive to create resources that utilize images or graphics to help better explain important information.

We also utilize a contracted language provider for translation and interpretation services, which is
available here.

Frequently Asked Questions

arrow   I WAS TOLD THAT I COULDN’T BE ISSUED TODAY AND WAS GIVEN A ‘SAVE’ LETTER. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

We’re required to verify everyone’s lawful status when they apply for an Iowa driver’s license or identification card. For our customers who are not U.S. citizens, we must submit the customer’s USCIS issued document to USCIS for their review and response. Sometimes, we receive a response from USCIS that states, ‘additional verification is required.’ This can happen for a variety of reasons (customer is newly arrived in the United States, pending renewal or extension of their USCIS document, or customer is eligible under a Federal Register Notice, like a Temporary Protected Status (TPS)) but shouldn’t alarm you that there is an issue. Rather, it means that a USCIS employee has to manually review your document information and then manually send us back a response. This extra step requires us to send information through a different system that is commonly called SAVE.

arrow  I DON’T HAVE A CURRENT USCIS DOCUMENT (EXPIRED, PENDING RENEWAL, LOST). WHEN I WENT TO RENEW, I WAS TOLD THAT I MUST HAVE THE DOCUMENT IN-HAND BEFORE I RETURN. WHAT CAN I DO?

If you’ve never been issued an Iowa driver’s license or identification card before we must have a valid USCIS document to verify your lawful status before we can continue with the issuance process. If you are a refugee and have been issued an I-94, we can attempt to look up your information on the DHS/USCIS website.

If you’re trying to renew, update, or get a duplicate of your Iowa driver’s license or identification card and do not have a valid USCIS document with you, we can try to verify your lawful status using the last USCIS document you provided to us. If you're being told that you cannot be helped and to return when you have a valid USCIS document, you can always

  • Request to speak with another service center consultant;
  • Request to speak with the service center’s manager;
  • Contact the Community Outreach Coordinator if the issue could not be resolved by phone, e-mail, mail, or in-person (Mindi.Nguyen@iowadot.us)

arrow  THE OPERATOR’S KNOWLEDGE EXAM (DRIVER’S LICENSE EXAM) DOES NOT OFFER THE LANGUAGE OR DIALECT I NEED. WHAT CAN I DO?

We do offer additional opportunities to take the operator’s knowledge test using an interpreter. These opportunities are by appointment only, so please be sure to speak with a driver’s license service consultant to request an appointment.

arrow  I NEED OR PREFER TO TALK TO SOMEONE IN A LANGUAGE OTHER THAN ENGLISH

We recognize that our services, information, and products often refer to technical and legal language. This can make it difficult to understand, regardless of someone’s understanding of the English language. In addition to explaining information in a way that someone without a technical background can understand, we strive to create resources that utilize images or graphics to help better explain important information.

We also utilize a contracted language provider for translation and interpretation services. Our staff and you (yes you!) can request language assistance for,

  • Conversations in-person at our driver’s license service centers;
  • Conversations by phone;
  • Instructions prior to taking an on-the-road driving test (not available for commercial skills testing as Federal regulations require these testing portions be completed in English only)

 

We suggest that if you need language assistance, have someone write the language and/or dialect you need on a piece of paper, and bring that with you during your visit. Simply hand that to one of us and we’ll get an interpreter on the phone to ensure that you understand the important information that we’re relaying, and that we answer any questions you may have for us.

Federal and state laws prohibit employment and/or public accommodation discrimination on the basis of age, color, creed, disability, gender identity, national origin, pregnancy, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or veteran's status. If you believe you have been discriminated against, please contact the Iowa Civil Rights Commission at 800-457-4416 or Iowa Department of Transportation's affirmative action officer. If you need accommodations because of a disability to access the Iowa Department of transportation's services, contact the agency's Civil Rights Bureau by mail 800 Lincoln Way, Ames, IA 50010, or Phone: 515-239-1427, or Fax: 515-239-1175, or e-mail Civil.Rights@iowadot.us; TTY/TDD: 515-239-1514