Bill would create special driver’s license for teen farm workers

    For Iowa teenagers helping their families out on the farm, there’s a new bill that would create a new special license that could let them drive a vehicle up to 50 miles in Iowa.

    The bill, introduced by Iowa Sen. Tim Kapucian, R-Keystone, authorizes the Iowa Department of Transportation to issue a “special minor farm driver’s license,” to 14- to 18-year-old teenagers who meet the qualifications. Teens who qualify can obtain a Class C license, a minor’s restricted license, or a Class M license, a motorcycle-only license, for the purpose of assisting with farm work, according to Senate Study Bill 3002.

    State Sen. Tim Kapucian is a Republican from Keystone.

    Teenagers who work on a farm or are employed on a farm can qualify for a license. They must also complete a driver’s education course, unless it proves burdensome. Past violations disqualify someone from getting a special license.

    Licensed teens would be allowed to drive between 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. and up to 50 miles. Iowa’s current law banning texting while driving still comes into play, according to the bill.

    Current law allows minors to obtain an instruction permit when they turn 14 or an intermediate license at 16. A permit requires teens to pass a written and vision test and drive with adult supervision. An intermediate license allows teens to drive without an adult between 5 a.m. and 12:30 a.m. after completing a driver’s education course and holding a permit for a year.

    Another bill proposed by Kapucian on Monday would allow an unlicensed person to drive a tractor or agricultural equipment to or from their farm buildings at home to any farmland.