Frequently asked questions
Teaching parent qualifications
Can anyone provide parent-taught driver education?
No, Iowa Code 321.178A only allows parents (or legal guardians or custodians) who have a valid driver’s license, other than a motorized bicycle license or a temporary restricted license, that permits unaccompanied driving; and who has maintained a clear driving record for the previous two years.
My child attends private school, am I eligible to conduct parent-taught driver education?
Yes, as long as the teacher parent is otherwise eligible.
What requirements does the teaching parent need to meet to be able to provide driver’s education to their child?
A qualified teaching parent must possess a valid Iowa driver’s license, other than a motorcycle-only license or temporary restricted license (TRL/work permit), that permits unaccompanied driving as well as have a clear driving record for the previous two years.
What qualifies as a clear driving record?
A clear driving record means that in the past two years, the parent’s driver’s license was not suspended or revoked, the parent was not identified as a candidate for a suspension for habitual violations, and they have not been convicted of a moving traffic violation determined to be the cause of a motor vehicle accident. You can check your driving current driving record on our website: https://mymvd.iowadot.gov/Account/Login.
Can a parent teach someone else’s child (a child they don’t have custody for)?
No, Iowa Code 321.178A specifies that the instructor must be the student’s parent or legal guardian or custodian and must have custody and control of the student. The parent cannot instruct students that don’t meet those requirements, even if the parent is providing other instruction to those students. A licensed and DOT certified behind-the-wheel instructor may also provide the 30 hours of driving instruction.
What if the teaching parent has more than one child? Can they teach all of their children?
Yes, but they have to complete a separate application for each child.
Can both parents teach driver education to their child?
Yes, each parent who will be instructing must have a valid driver’s license, other than a motorized bicycle license or a temporary restricted license, that permits unaccompanied driving; and who has maintained a clear driving record for the previous two years.
Each parent participating in instruction must be listed on the application for completions as well as their signature to receive final completion approval from the Iowa DOT.
What if the parents are divorced? Can either divorced parent conduct parent-taught driver education?
Yes, as long as each parent has legal custody of the student and meets the requirements to teach the student in question. If the parent does not have legal custody, they are not eligible to conduct parent-taught driver education because the student is not in the custody and control of the parent.
What course material is required to be used by a teaching parent?
A qualified teaching parent will select a curriculum that has been approved by the Iowa DOT. A list of the approved courses can be found on the Parent Taught Driver Education webpage.
Can I use my own course or another school’s course rather than a course approved by the Iowa DOT?
No, the legislation requires the teaching parent to select a course that has been approved by the Iowa DOT and is listed on the list of approved courses on the prior page.
How much will the course material cost?
Costs are set by the approved course vendors and vary according the course selected and the type of material the parent chooses to receive (for instance, written versus online).
How old does a student need to be to take driver’s education from a teaching parent?
A student must be between the ages of 14 and 21 and be within the custody and control of the teaching parent. The student must have an Iowa instruction permit before beginning driver’s education.
How many hours of driving does a student have to complete?
The student must complete 30 hours of street or highway driving, including three hours of nighttime driving (after sunset and before sunrise) while accompanied by the teaching parent. The parent should use Iowa Department of Transportation Form 431228 – Driving Log for Parent-Taught Driver Education to log the required driving hours completed by the student. Those who chose to pre-qualify will receive additional information including driving logs that can be used.
Teens that apply for an intermediate license must complete 20 hours of supervised driving (including two hours of nighttime driving) outside driver education to be eligible for the intermediate license. Does that mean a student that had parent-taught driver education has to complete 50 hours of driving?
No, Iowa Code 321.178A allows the student to use 20 of the 30 hours required for parent-taught driver education to meet this requirement. This includes the required nighttime driving.
Do all students that complete parent-taught driver education have to take a drive test?
Yes, the legislation requires every student that successfully completes an approved parent-taught driver’s education course to pass a driving test administered by the Iowa DOT at a driver’s license issuance site before they can obtain their license. Appointments may be made here: https://iowadot.gov/service-selector
Do all of the other eligibility requirements for an intermediate license apply to parent-taught driver education students?
Yes, the legislation that established parent-taught driver education did not change any of the other eligibility requirements for students taking parent-taught driver education. (A student may also apply for a minor school license if they are receiving private instruction but taking certain classes at an accredited school or participating in extracurricular activities at an accredited school.) Find more information about driver’s license eligibility requirements for minors.
If a student is 18 years old or older are they still required to take a driver education course?
No, although it is important to gain appropriate knowledge and skills before operating a motor vehicle, any person 18 years old or older is not required to take a course in driver education. A person 18 years old or older may instead elect to pass the knowledge test and driving exam to apply for a driver’s license.