Gov. Reynolds announces new partnership to make getting a learner’s permit more convenient

Gov. Kim Reynolds announced a new partnership Friday between the Iowa Department of Transportation and participating Iowa schools to help parents “Skip the Trip.”

For many Iowa students, turning 14 years old means taking a trip to the Iowa DOT or local county treasurer’s office to take the knowledge test required to get a driver’s instruction permit. For parents, that often means taking time off work or interrupting other daily duties to get their student there. If the test isn’t passed on the first try, multiple trips may be needed.

A new program, Skip the Trip, uses a web-based test system to offer the knowledge test at school, eliminating the need for parents or caregivers to take their child to a driver’s license service center for the test. The knowledge test offered is the same at all state and county service centers.

“Every Iowan should expect easy access to government services,” Gov. Reynolds said. “We know parents and caregivers have busy lives. Skip the Trip is a great example of modern access to State of Iowa services, offering families convenience, choice and control in the process.”

“The Skip the Trip program is part of our continued effort to make it easier to do business with the Iowa DOT,” Iowa DOT Motor Vehicle Division Director Melissa Spiegel said. “This will save parents time and the expense of potentially making repeat trips to our locations and will help reduce congestion in our service centers.”

“There are many benefits to offering Skip the Trip at school,” Albia school counselor Jani Dorpinghaus said. “Testing at school provides a more familiar and comfortable test environment for students, and it’s much easier for the kids to schedule the tests here at school rather than needing to go to a driver’s license service center.”

To be eligible for participation in Skip the Trip, a student must be enrolled with a participating school or agency, be 14 years old or older and cannot currently hold an Iowa instruction permit. Participating schools and agencies have the flexibility to administer tests at times most convenient for their students.

Once a student has successfully completed the test, the student will receive an email verifying passage. To be issued an instruction permit, the student must bring a copy of the email to the driver’s license service center along with other required documentation to prove identity. To ensure integrity in the testing process, service center staff will verify passing test result emails with Iowa DOT records.

Monroe County Treasurer Peggy VandenBerg says the Albia school district participated in the program during a pilot phase. “Skip the Trip has been a win-win for the community,” she said. “I am very happy we were all able to work together to offer this new service to benefit students, parents and the school district.

The Iowa DOT just finished the pilot of this program with more than 20 schools and is now looking for new partners across the state. Visit the Skip the Trip website to find out if your school offers testing. If your school or agency is not yet participating but would like to, they can contact the Iowa DOT at skipthetrip.support@iowadot.us.