Iowa’s Traffic Violation Point System

How Iowa’s demerit point system works and the consequences of building up too many points.

Like many states, Iowa has a demerit point system to track and identify possibly dangerous drivers. However, Iowa's point system is a little different in that it doesn't assess points for most minor traffic violations. But minor violations can still lead to license-related consequences. This article outlines how certain violations can result in license penalties and the terms of those penalties.

Habitual Offender

Iowa's point system is tied to the state's habitual offender laws. A habitual offender is one who has violated so many traffic laws that his or her license will be barred. Once a driver accumulates a certain number of violations, the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) will send out a hearing notice to the driver. At the hearing, the DOT will review the driver's record and affirm or set aside the license bar.

Minor violations. A driver who accumulates six or more traffic violations in a two-year period is considered a habitual offender and will be barred from driving for at least one year. All traffic and moving violations (excluding parking tickets and registration violations) are counted.

Major violations. A driver will also be designated as a habitual violator for three or more major traffic violations—such as DUI and driving while suspended—within a six-year period. The length of suspension depends on the number of points assessed. The point schedule is listed below.

Points Values for Traffic Violations


Points Assessed



Driving while suspended or revoked


Driving while revoked for DUI


Driving while barred from driver's license


Driving under the influence


Commission of felony while using vehicle


Failure to stop and render aid


Eluding police officer


Serious injury caused by DUI or reckless driving


Vehicular manslaughter


License Bar Period

Drivers who are deemed habitual violators for major violations face the following license-bar periods, which depend on the number of points the driver has accumulated within the last six years.


License Bar Duration

6 to 7

2 years

8 to 9

3 years

10 to 12

4 years

13 to 15

5 years

16 or more

6 years

Limited Driving Privileges During Bar

Points cannot be removed or reduced to prevent the license bar. However, the driver can request a limited driver's license to permit travel to and from work.

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