Skip to Main Content



What to Know About Fatigued Trucker Accident Claims in Cedar Falls, Iowa

Did you know that the maximum allowable weight of a tractor trailer in Iowa is 40 tons? Given the immense size of eighteen wheelers, it is crucial that these vehicles are operated with the highest level of care, sensitivity, and professional skills. A trucker who is overly fatigued is an inherently dangerous driver. Here, our Cedar Falls truck accident attorney explains the most important points to understand about fatigued truck driver accident cases in Iowa. 

Fatigued Driving Contributes to Many Commercial Trucking Accident

Fatigued driving is a serious safety risk. It is a factor in many eighteen wheeler crashes. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) estimates that thirteen percent of commercial truck accidents nationwide are caused, at least in part, by fatigued driving. All truckers that drive in Cedar Falls, Black Hawk County, or elsewhere in Iowa must ensure that they are properly rested. 

Why Fatigued Driving is Dangerous 

Truckers need a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Operating a commercial truck requires a high level of skill, training, experience, and focus. Fatigued truckers put people in Cedar Falls at a terrible health and safety risk. Here are the three main reasons why fatigued trucking is so dangerous: 

  • Loss of Concentration: One of the primary dangers associated with fatigued driving is the loss of concentration. Truck drivers—especially those navigating long routes—are prone to mental exhaustion. That exhaustion can cause a significant decrease in their ability to maintain focus on the road. Continuous attention is crucial for safe operation. 
  • Slowed Time of Reaction: Fatigue adversely affects reaction time. A well-rested truck driver can respond quickly to sudden obstacles or emergencies—such as the need to break abruptly or maneuver swiftly to avoid a hazard. However, a fatigued driver experiences a slowed reaction time. The delay in processing and reacting to road conditions can be the difference between a near-miss and a catastrophic or even fatal collision. 
  • Impaired Decision-Making: Finally, lack of sleep also undermines decision-making. Truckers in Cedar Falls need to make good (safe) decisions. Decision-making in driving involves constantly assessing varying elements and making quick judgments. When fatigued, a driver’s ability to evaluate situations correctly and make safe choices is compromised. The impairment can lead to poor judgment calls—from misjudging the speed of other vehicles to incorrectly estimating the distance between vehicles.

A Striking Statistic: Fatigued driving can be as dangerous as drunk driving or drugged driving. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted that “being awake for 24 hours is similar to having a BAC of 0.10 percent.

Fatigued Trucker Law: Hour of Service (HOS) Restrictions

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has put Hour of Service (HOS) regulations in place that are designed to address fatigued driving by truckers. All commercial truckers that operate in interstate commerce are required to follow these regulations. Here is an overview of the safety rules: 

  • Daily Driving Limit: Truck drivers are allowed to drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty.
  • 14-Hour Window: Drivers must complete their 11 hours of driving within a 14-hour window following an off-duty period, after which they must take another 10 hours off.
  • 30-Minute Breaks: Drivers must take a 30-minute break if more than 8 hours have passed since the last off-duty or sleeper berth period.
  • Weekly Driving Limits: Truckers are limited to working a maximum of 60 hours over a seven day period or 70 hours over an 8 day period.  
  • Restart Provision: Drivers can reset their weekly driving limit by taking at least 34 consecutive hours off duty. 

Truckers and Trucking Companies Can Be Held Liable for Negligence (Fatigue)

Iowa is a fault-based motor vehicle accident jurisdiction. The standard applies to all types of crashes, including semi-truck accidents. Both truckers and trucking companies have a duty to ensure that they are acting in a safe manner. Profits should never be allowed to come before people. Fatigued driving is, by definition, negligence. Truckers must be well-rested. A trucker or trucking company should be held legally responsible for crashes that happened because of negligence. 

Every truck accident in Cedar Falls requires a thorough investigation. Evidence is the foundation to any successful personal injury claim. How do you prove that trucker fatigue contributed to your accident? The answer depends on a wide range of different factors. Your crash should be investigated by a top-tier Cedar Falls semi-truck accident lawyer. Your attorney can take action to get access to relevant evidence, including driver records from the trucking company. 

Truck Accident Victims in Cedar Falls Deserve Full and Fair Compensation

A semi-truck crash in Cedar Falls can cause devastating injuries. Following a bad crash, it is imperative that injured victims are able to secure the full and fair compensation that they deserve. In Iowa, injured victims have the right to pursue financial relief for their tangible and intangible damages. With that being said, truck companies and their commercial insurance providers fight to settle cases for less. Our Cedar Falls semi-truck accident lawyers have the skills and experience to help injured victims seek financial compensation for: 

  • Property damage, such as vehicle repairs; 
  • Ambulance transportation; 
  • Emergency medical treatment; 
  • Hospital bills and other health care costs; 
  • Physical therapy and mental health services; 
  • Loss of income and loss of future earning power; 
  • Pain and suffering & emotional distress;
  • Permanent disability or disfigurement; and
  • Wrongful death of a close family member. 

Contact Our Cedar Falls Semi-Truck Accident Attorney Today

At Ball, Kirk & Holm, P.C., our Cedar Falls semi-truck accident lawyers have the professional expertise that you can rely on. If you or your loved one was seriously hurt in a crash with an overly fatigued trucker, we are here to help. Our team is ready to come directly to you after a bad accident. Contact us today for a no cost, no obligation initial consultation with a top-tier lawyer. Our firm handles truck accident claims in Cedar Falls, Black Hawk County, and all across the area.