Can I Drive to School With My Permit?

by Mark ValletUpdated August 06, 2023

Driver Permits

A driver's permit is a temporary driver's license that allows the permit holder to operate a motor vehicle within certain restrictions. It allows new drivers to practice while they learn to drive. Driving permit restrictions vary by state but the major one is the same in almost every state: A fully licensed driver must accompany the permit holder. While age restrictions vary, the majority of states require that the driver be at least 14 to 16 years old.

School Permits

There are a few states that allow driver permit holders to drive alone to school on a special type of permit commonly called a "school permit." Each state has its own name: Iowa calls it a "Minor School License." Polices regarding school permits vary, so it is a good idea to check with your local DMV. The majority of states that offer school permits are farming states. These licenses originated to meet the needs of farm children who often needed to drive to school if their farm was off busing routes.

Common Restrictions on Driver's Permits

Some common restriction on normal driver permit holders are listed below:

The driver and all passengers must wear seat belts at all times.

Some states have restrictions on the number of passengers in the car as well as the age of passengers.

If the driver is a minor most states will require that the parents sign an affidavit of guardianship.

The majority of states will require a written test to be passed as well as proof of enrollment in a driver's education course.

How to Qualify for a School License in Iowa

There are a number of states that offer school permits and they all have differing criteria. In this article Iowa requirements and restrictions will be used as an example. Check your local DMV for your state's guidelines. Below are the qualifications that a driver must meet to be eligible for a Minor School License (MSL) in Iowa.

The MSL holder can operate a vehicle alone during the hours of 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. There are no exceptions or waivers.

The MSL holder can only drive alone over the most direct and accessible route between the licensee's residence and school, and to and from extracurricular activities within the school district. The student may also drive to a service station for the purpose of refueling so long as the service station is on the most direct and accessible route.

Restrictions on School Permits in Iowa

According to Iowa state law, once a student has qualified for a MSL in Iowa, there are restrictions on when and where they can operate the vehicle alone. As specified on their website, a student must meet the following requirements:

The student must have completed an Iowa-approved course in driver education.

The student must have held a valid Instruction Permit during the six-month period immediately preceding application for the MSL.

The student's driving history must be free of convictions for moving traffic violations, contributive accidents and license withdrawals during the six-month period immediately preceding application.

The student must live one mile or more from the school of enrollment

The superintendent, chairperson of the school board, or principal must determine eligibility and sign a Statement of Necessity/Affidavit for School License.

The student's parent or guardian must also provide signed consent on the Statement of Necessity/Affidavit for School License.

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