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What are the off-duty requirements for truck drivers in Iowa?

Drivers in Iowa often encounter large trucks on the roadways. These are also vehicles that are often spotted traveling on the road at all hours of the day and night. Semi-trucks are frequently used to transport large shipments or deliveries long distances, causing them to travel at various times throughout the day and night. With the growing concern for truck driver fatigue, many question the requirements regarding their hours of service and off duty time.

According to federal trucking regulations, truck drivers are required to be off duty for a certain amount of time before they can get behind the wheel to begin their next shift. Federal regulations indicate that a driver is required to be out of service after driving the maximum hours allowed by this regulation. Furthermore, they are required to record this out of service status to ensure they have complied with all sections of this regulation.

Once a driver has declared an out of service status, they cannot begin their next shift or have an on-duty status until they have been off-duty the required number of consecutive hours. Moreover, a driver must tender a form that declares that the driver is out of service. This must be tendered within 24 hours after being declared as off-duty by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

The importance of regulating and monitoring the hours of service and off-duty hours of a truck driver helps reduce truck accidents. Specifically, these regulations seek to reduce the chances of a driver being fatigued from driving long hours and the lack of sleep. Keeping accurate record of the driver's off-duty status will help ensure they have taken the required breaks and out of service times.

When a truck accident occurs, these large vehicles frequently cause severe damage, serious injuries and even death. Liability could be placed on the truck driver and the trucking company, especially if the driver failed to comply with federal trucking regulations. A victim could file a cause of action in order to recover compensation for the losses and damages they suffered.

Proper investigation following a truck crash would help establish cause and assign fault. Those affected by a truck accident should understand their legal remedies and options. This will ensure their rights are protected and interest preserved.

Source: fmcsa.dot.gov, "ยง 395.13: Drivers declared out of service," accessed on Oct. 13, 2014

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