New Iowa Laws Include Expanded ‘Move Over’ Rule, Limits on Alcohol Liability

Gov. Kim Reynolds signed more than 170 bills during and after the legislative session and most of those laws took effect on July 1, the start of Iowa’s new budget year.

Among the new laws in effect that may affect the business of insurance are:

Expanded ‘Move Over’ Rule

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Drivers approaching a stopped emergency vehicle on the side of the road are expected to move over or slow down. A new law expands that requirement to all stationary vehicles with flashing lights, including construction workers and disabled motorists. Drivers should move over if it’s safe or should reduce their speed under the speed limit and be prepared to stop.

Reduced Alcohol Liability for Bars, Restaurants

Bars, restaurants and other establishments that serve or sell alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person who drunkenly drives and injures or kills someone now have a limit on how much they might owe a victim.

A new law limits non-economic damages to $250,000 for any injury or death, unless a jury finds a victim otherwise wouldn’t be compensated for loss or impairment of a bodily function, disfigurement or death. There’s still no cap for economic damages, which include medical bills and lost income.

The state will conduct a review of its liability insurance requirements every two years for commercial establishments selling alcohol.

Ignition Interlocks Required

A reform of Iowa’s operating while intoxicated law will require that ignition interlock devices be used by anyone driving on a temporary restricted license.

Previously, someone who qualified for the temporary licenses — which allow a driver to commute from home to work or school — weren’t required to install the ignition interlock, which checks the breath of drivers to detect alcohol. The nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency says 580 drunken driving revocations last fiscal year didn’t require interlock devices. Now interlocks will be used in all cases for drivers with temporary restricted licenses.

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