An Iowa defensive driving course is a critical requirement for motorists who wish to reinstate their driving privileges. The driving safety course is different from drivers education in that the training focuses solely on helping existing drivers learn safe driving skills. Additionally, the training does not include hands-on driving, but rather in-depth learning and discussion on the topics presented.

In the state, anyone convicted of Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) or those with a court order must attend a driver improvement program, also known as the Prime for Life program. Those who attend the class learn the impacts of impaired driving and learn techniques to prevent driving under the influence. Attending this type of class comes with many benefits including reinstatement of driving privileges, potentially avoiding an increase in insurance premiums and gaining new skills and knowledge.  Students must complete the training in-person because the IDOT does not recognize online drivers safety programs. Keep reading for more information on the importance of a defensive driving course, when it is required and how to find an approved program provider.

Who can attend traffic school in Iowa?

An Iowa defensive driving course is required of anyone convicted of Operating While Intoxicated (OWI). The class is a type of training that teaches safe driving techniques, discusses the impact of driving while intoxicated and teaches motorists how to avoid situations that lead to unsafe driving. The IDOT also requires non-residents charged with OWI to participate in driver safety training.

Types of Defensive Driving Courses in Iowa

The Iowa traffic school follows the Prime for Life 12-hour curriculum. The state approved defensive driving class is an in-person training conducted in a classroom setting. In some cases, the Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT) may permit offenders to complete their jail time and driver safety training in either the 48-hour or weekend class. There is no option to take the training online, and motorists must contact the IDOT for a list of approved program providers.

Classroom vs. Online Traffic School in Iowa

Iowa defensive driving courses are taught in-person in a classroom setting. Students attend lectures, participate in discussions and complete workbook activities. Motorists should note that the state does not accept online classes to satisfy state license reinstatement requirements. However, motorists who simply wish to learn additional safe driving practices may opt to take an online program offered by a private-party at their leisure.

How to Enroll in an Iowa Defensive Driving School

Residents who must attend an Iowa driver improvement course may only do so at an Iowa Department of Education approved program provider. Drivers may locate a DMV traffic school by viewing the listing of providers available on the IDOT website. Students must contact each provider directly to learn specific enrollment procedures. Out of state residents who commit OWI in the state may elect to take an approved program in the state which they reside.

Although an alcohol education and prevention program is not mandated of all motorists, anyone may elect to participate in a class. Students who wish to enroll in a less formal class may take a defensive driving course online. Enrollment procedures vary between program providers. Some may allow students to register online while others may require students to register by phone.

Benefits of Completing Traffic School in Iowa

The Iowa driving safety course is a critical class for anyone convicted of OWI in the state. OWI offenders who complete the program receive a variety of benefits including:

  • Fulfill a court order.
  • Reinstate driving privileges.
  • Learn Safe Driving Knowledge and Skills.
  • Avoid Increases on Auto Insurance Programs.

Fulfill a Court Order

In Iowa, the court system may enforce a defensive driving program regardless of whether the offense was due to an OWI or other offense. In such cases, the driver must complete the class to satisfy the requirements of the order.

Reinstate a Drivers License

The IDOT does not reinstate driving privileges of an OWI offender until they complete an approved safety class. Completing the defensive driving course may be one of several requirements, and completion of the training alone will not reinstate driving privileges. Motorists should consult with the IDOT to determine full requirements on reinstating their license.

Learn Safe Driving Knowledge and Skills

The class is a valuable resource for helping motorists learn skills to protect themselves and other motorists. The class helps students be aware of situations that could pose hazards and offers them strategies to avoid those situations.

Avoid Increases on Your Auto Insurance Premiums

Some auto insurance companies impose higher insurance premiums on those convicted of certain traffic-related offenses. Motorists may be able to avoid the increase in their premiums if they complete a driver safety course. Not all insurance companies offer this option and motorists should contact their insurance company for more information.

Iowa Defensive Driving Class Curriculum Details

Iowa DMV traffic school gives students the skills to avoid alcohol-related traffic incidents. In the class, participants learn factors that may put them at risk for alcohol addiction. Students also learn the dangers of impaired driving and how it impacts others. Lastly, the training gives students the tools to build a support system and plan for sustained success in their alcohol recovery process.

Iowa Defensive Driving Certificates

An Iowa defensive driving certificate indicates that a driver has completed driver safety training. When a student completes the class, the course provider forwards the credentials to the Iowa Department of Transportation. Drivers who complete the program in another state must send their certificate to the IDOT to satisfy their requirements.

Iowa Traffic School Versus Drivers Education

Iowa traffic school is a class designed to help motorists avoid alcohol-related traffic incidents. The driver safety class includes topics that help students make smart decisions regarding drug use and driving. Drivers education, on the other hand, is a general education course required of all Iowa motorists. In the state, drivers education is required to obtain a drivers license. Drivers education also includes hands-on driving as a part of the curriculum whereas traffic school does not have such a requirement.

Iowa Defensive Driving Course Fees

The cost for the Iowa defensive driving course varies per program provider. The fee for the class covers classroom training and all class materials.

In some cases, the court allows first-offense OWI offenders to complete the program in a 48-hour class while on house arrest at a local hotel. Fees for this arrangement include the cost of housing, food and program materials.

Last updated on Thursday, February 28 2019.

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