Iowa High School Administrator Opinions About Graduated Driver Licensing
The objective of graduated driver licensing (GDL) systems is to allow young drivers to acquire driving experience before gaining full driving privileges. Because high school administrators in Iowa are directly involved with the granting of teen driving privileges through approving minor school licenses as well as waivers to the intermediate license nighttime driving limitation, their opinions about potential enhancements to Iowa’s GDL laws are of interest to policy makers.
All high school principals in the State of Iowa were invited to participate in an online survey that asked a variety of questions related to teen driving safety in general and proposed GDL enhancements in particular. An overall response rate of 21 percent yielded a sample of 64 administrators that was highly representative of Iowa high schools in terms of geographic location, population density, and student enrollment.
The results showed that: Nearly half the administrators were only a little (40 percent) or not at all (8 percent) familiar with the graduated driver licensing laws in Iowa; Nearly two-thirds agree (38 percent) or strongly agree (27 percent) that teens in Iowa should be required to hold an instruction permit for 12 months instead of the current 6 months; 4 out of 5 administrators think that newly-licensed teen drivers in Iowa should not have more than one non-family teen passenger; administrators were likely to agree with changing the nighttime driving limitation for newly-licensed drivers from the current time of 12:30 am. In conclusion, high school administrators in Iowa broadly support the considered enhancements to GDL. Though the respondents were quite representative of Iowa high school administrators, the small sample size is a limitation.