Unsplash | Orkun Azap

Iowa Introduces Bill To Allow Parents To Teach Their Kids To Drive

It wasn’t that long ago that parents teaching their kids to drive was a rite of passage. However, it’s become quite common for kids to learn through a combination of both driving with their parents or an experienced driver, and with a certified instructor.

In fact, for many years, going through an accredited driving school — whether through the education system or a private driving school — has been mandatory in Iowa.

Only in 2011 did that rule lift even slightly, when the state started allowing parents who home-school their kids to add driving to the curriculum.

Now legislators in the state are looking to cut driving instructors out of the equation entirely, under new legislation that would once again allow all parents to pass along skills behind the wheel to their kids.


As the law stands at present, learners have to spend at least six hours in the car with a certified instructor, and 14 with a parent or guardian.

The new law under consideration doubles the total time of instruction from 20 hours to 40, but removes the certified instructor altogether. That also includes eliminating the need for 30 hours of classroom instruction as well.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Joel Fry, argues the bill provides a couple of major benefits.

For one, it helps clear up a backlog caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. “Many students today are behind in their driver's education because they couldn't get into the school system due to COVID-19,” he said, according to The Gazette. “We're trying to make it easier, safer, and the opportunity exists for parents and their students to be able to obtain their driver's license.”

The bill also advances the Republican parents’ choice agenda — of which Rep. Fry is a proponent — as well as alleviating the cost of lessons for many families.

Opponents suggest that there are some important drawbacks to the proposed law, however.

"Just because you have a valid driver's license doesn't mean you're qualified to teach someone to drive," Rep. Sharon Steckman told The Gazette. Parents's cars also tend not to be outfitted with an extra brake pedal that instructors can use in an unsafe situation.

Evone Vognsen, who oversees Kirkwood Community College's driver's ed program, added that parents might not be well equipped to handle the responsibility of teaching kids what it's like "to be put behind a wheel of a machine that can cause damage to the car and people inside and others."

However, Rep. Fry dismissed such concerns, noting that he had home-schooled his kids and taught them how to drive.

"I can tell you the amount of time that I spend with that child and driver's education far outweighs the amount of time I received when I went through driver's education in the school system," he told The Gazette. He suggests that parents should be highly motivated to teach their children well "because who's going to pay the insurance and liability and all the damages that would incur should they get in an accident?

“It's me. I's not the school. It's me as the parent, so I have a very vested interest."

What do you think? Should parents be allowed to teach their kids to drive all alone, or should certified instructors be involved? Let us know in the comments!

h/t: The Gazette

Filed Under: