Is Your Teen Breaking the Law? What You Need to Know About School Permits

A young girl with a school driving permit
What is a School Driving Permit?

Did you know your teen may have broken a law simply by driving home from school last night? If your teen is using a school permit to go to and from classes, listen up.

A school permit is a restricted license issued to new student drivers which places restrictions on where and when they can drive for a set period of time as they become more experienced. Passengers can be restricted by number (no more than one friend can ride with the driver,) age (no more than one passenger under 18,) or family status (no passengers who are not parents or siblings of the driver.) 

Each state has its own specific guidelines and rules for a school permit, which is generally issued after teens have earned a learner's permit or sometimes after they have their license. School permits are also referred to as intermediate, graduated, or provisional permits or licenses.

Sample State: Iowa

For example, in Iowa the school permit is called a "minor school license" and is available to teens aged 14-1/2 or older who have completed an Iowa-approved driver education course and already have a driver's instruction permit. Eligible teens must live over a mile from the school and have a parent, as well as a school representative, sign an Affidavit for School License form. Some teens are asked to complete a physical driving test to secure the school permit.

This special driver's license, which allows students to drive without an instructor or guardian in the vehicle, comes with specific rules.

What Is Allowed:
  • Traveling to school and home between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m
  • Driving to a school-sanctioned event
  • Stopping to fuel the vehicle en route to school or home
  • Giving one sibling a ride to the same school the teen attends
What Isn't Allowed:
  • Picking up passengers
  • Giving more than one sibling a ride without adult supervision
  • Taking an indirect route to school and home
  • Driving to a job
  • Driving to a non-school-related activity
Stay on the Right Side of the Law

So when your daughter gave her girlfriend a ride home from cheer practice or your son went across town on Saturday to pick up supplies for his science lab project, laws were broken, even though the excursions were school-related. If school officials or local police spot a violation of a school permit, the special driving privilege can be suspended and eventually revoked.

To determine the regulations in your state, contact your local Department of Transportation office or website for more details and guidelines. There's also an informational lookup tool at DMV.org

It's also a good idea to make sure the insurance policy on the vehicle the student is driving specifically names the student driver. If the teen drives more than one vehicle in the household, each auto policy should name the teen as a driver. If you're not sure what type of insurance coverage your teen driver requires, contact a Trusted Choice® independent agent for additional guidance.

Angela Tague, popular blogger

About the author: Angela Tague writes blogs for major brands including Bounty, Lowe's Home Improvement and Hidden Valley. She also provides feature content to newspapers and writes blogs for Daily Glow, Everyday Health and Walgreens.

Angela has worked in news writing since 1998. Her journalism career has led to positions at The Quad-City Times in Davenport, Iowa, The Sioux City (Iowa) Journal and several weeklies in the Midwest.

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