Iowa Motorist Info

The following information is updated periodically. However, laws and regulations can change between updates. State statutes and local ordinances are the ultimate authorities for these issues.

Points of Interest

  • Iowa has no requirements regarding motorcycle riding (for example, neither helmets nor goggles are required).

Speed Limits

Rural Interstates: Cars 70, Trucks 70
Urban Interstates: Cars 55, Trucks 55
Other Limited Access Roads: Cars 65, Trucks 65
(http://www.ghsa.org/html/stateinfo/laws/speedlimit_laws.html)

These speed limits apply unless a different limit is posted.

Speed limits are absolute–exceeding the speed limit is illegal per se (regardless of whether it was safe under the specific conditions).

Speed Limits Enforcement Techniques
Enforced through use of:
Pacing: Yes
Radar: Yes
Vascar: Yes
Automated Speed Enforcement: No
Aircraft: Yes
Laser: Yes

DUI / DWI Regulations
Click here for detailed information

Ticket Payment Methods
Consult your ticket or clerk of courts

Trial By Declaration Allowed
No

Discovery
Possibly allowed

Jury Trial Allowed
Speeding: Yes
Parking: Yes
Equipment: Yes
DWI: Yes

Member of Nonresident Compact
Yes

Member of Driver License Compact
Yes

When and Where to File Accident Reports
Accidents involving death or personal injury must be reported immediately to the local authorities and (if the accident results in death, personal injury, or property damage exceeding $500) within 72 hours to the Iowa Department of Transportation, Office of Driver Services, Park Fair Mall, 100 Euclid, P.O. Box 9204, Des Moines IA 50306-9204. An accident must also be reported to the Chief of Police in cities with a population of 15,000 or more.

Resident Insurance Requirements
Liability insurance is required (although some states allow posting a cash bond or such as an alternative)
Minimum Coverage Required:
Injury to one person: $20,000
All injuries: $40,000
Property Damage: $15,000
Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage is required

Phone/Texting Restrictions
Hand-Held Ban: No
All Cell Phone Ban: Learner’s permit and intermediate license holders
Texting Ban: All drivers
Enforcement: Primary: for drivers cell phone use by young drivers/Secondary: for texting by all drivers
http://www.ncsl.org/research/transportation/cellular-phone-use-and-texting-while-driving-laws.aspx

Other Regulations

  • Open intoxicants are prohibited in the vehicle unless carried in trunk or area out of reach of driver.
  • The BAC level is .08%.
  • Iowa has an administrative license suspension law and an implied consent law. The breathalyzer refusal penalty is a 240-day driver’s license revocation for first offense.
  • Handguns may not be carried in a loaded or accessible condition; rifles and shotguns must be unloaded and cased yet may be accessible to passengers.
  • Studded tires are permitted from November 1 to April 1.
  • Tire chains are not required.
  • Iowa has a seat belt law with primary enforcement for all front seat occupants.
  • Iowa has a mandatory child restraint law for passengers under 7 years of age. Children under age 3 must use approved car safety seats.
  • Iowa does not have a mandatory motorcycle helmet law.
  • Registration and insurance must be carried in the vehicle.

General Information
Telephone: 800/532-1121 (Iowa Dept. of Transportation, Motor Vehicle Dept.)
Emergency Cellular Phone Number: 800/525-5555