As a major agricultural state, Iowa’s trucking industry drives its economy forward. Per the Iowa Motor Truck Association, the state boasts 9,080 trucking companies, which generate 104,240 jobs. Also, 65.3% of Iowa communities rely on trucking businesses to transport goods.
But as much as Iowans benefit from trucking services, the significant presence of trucks on the road can also lead to fatal risks. If you live or work in Iowa, it will help to have a working knowledge of trucking regulations when you find yourself in a truck crash.
State and federal laws
Operating a trucking company in Iowa means compliance with state laws under the Department of Transportation (DOT) and federal rules of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Some of these regulations include:
- Ban on mobile device use: Truck drivers cannot operate a vehicle while holding their cellular phone, texting, dialing a number or reaching for it.
- Stringent service hours: Specific restrictions apply for hours that the driver works, sleeps, takes a break, must be behind the wheel or is off-duty.
- Transport of hazardous materials: Truckers moving dangerous chemicals must secure a DOT endorsement on their license. Trucks must place warning signs or placards alerting road users of hazardous goods inside the vehicle.
- Insurance requirements: FMCSA sets $750,000 for trucks exceeding 10,000 pounds that transport nonhazardous products, $1,000,000 for trucks that move oil and the like, and $5,000,000 for trucks that tow cargo tanks and hazardous substances.
- Overweight permits: Senate Bill 153, signed earlier this year, provides single-trip permits for transporting heavier loads during emergencies, such as rain, snow or tornado calamities, to trucks with excessive weight and size. Anyone in violation of this new rule may face hefty fines and up to 30 days of jail time.
Another new Iowa law recently passed is Senate File 228, which limits accident victims’ noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering, to five million dollars. But it does not apply to economic damages, like medical bills and lost wages. It also does not apply to severe cases of intoxicated, speeding or reckless drivers.
Critics claim that it puts a price tag on a victim’s traumatic experience. On the other hand, supporters say that this protects trucking companies from costly insurance.
Keep yourself well-informed
Iowa laws on road use and safety constantly change. Your awareness is essential in protecting your rights during an accident. But it may be challenging if you try to figure it out on your own. It will help to have a legal team sort out questions you might have. They can work with you to fight for your rights and seek financial compensation for your injuries and other losses.