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Is It Legal to Drive with a Cracked Windshield in Iowa? | Understanding Auto Glass Laws

Road debris or rocks can chip away at a car's windshield, causing it to crack over a period of time. Knowing the law on cracked windshields can help drivers determine whether they need to pay for a repair or replacement job.


Regardless of the law, a cracked windshield is a sign of structural vulnerability. It could lead to a dangerous situation not only for the driver but also for the passenger and other road users. The personal injury attorneys at Tom Fowler Law have over four decades of combined experience protecting the rights of injured victims in Iowa. They can also help with other questions like is it legal to drive a jeep without doors in Iowa?


Those who have suffered injuries in Des Moines due to another's negligence should reach out to the experienced personal injury lawyers at Tom Fowler Law. They can help assess their case and guide them on their legal options. They can also answer more questions such as is it illegal to smoke and drive?


Is It Legal to Drive with a Cracked Windshield in Iowa?

Is It Legal to Drive with a Cracked Windshield in Iowa?


Whether or not it is legal to drive with a cracked windshield in Iowa depends on the size of the crack. Under Iowa Code 321.438, drivers cannot drive a motor vehicle that has a windshield, side windows, or rear windows that do not permit clear vision.


The law makes it illegal for drivers to drive a motor vehicle with a front windshield or a side window that is excessively dark. It can make it difficult for the driver and other road users to see through the windshield window, increasing the risk of accidents.


Under Iowa Code 450.7(2), the department must adopt rules establishing a minimum measurable standard of transparency, which is around 70% light transmittance.


However, a driver with a severe light-sensitive condition may be exempt under Iowa law if they have the necessary medical paperwork signed by their physician.


Every automobile and motor vehicle included in the provisions of section 321.383 or section 321.115 in Iowa must have a windshield that falls under the guidelines mentioned in section 321.444.


What Are the Regulations Pertaining to Cracked Windshields in Iowa?


There are no specific regulations pertaining to cracked windshields in Iowa, including Iowa City, except for Iowa Code 321.438, which makes it illegal to drive a vehicle with a window that does not permit clear vision.


The law references federal regulations that specify that the crack's position shouldn't be above the steering wheel. Under the guidelines, a driver can drive a motor vehicle with a crack that is ¾ of an inch.


If there are multiple cracks, there must be a distance of at least three inches between them. The driver must repair or replace the cracked windshield if it does not fall within federal regulations.


Can Drivers Have Stickers or Devices Mounted on the Windshield in Iowa?


The key thing to note is the obstruction of view. Under federal guidelines, drivers cannot mount devices lower than six inches from the top. Any device mounted should not obstruct the driver's vision.


Stickers on the windshield should be away from the wiper's reach and only applied to the bottom or the side of the glass. Its size shouldn't be greater than four and a half inches.


Can Drivers Purchase Used Glass to Replace Their Cracked Windshield?


Windshield cracks can make it difficult for the driver to see the road ahead. It can also obstruct the view of other road users, making it extremely dangerous to drive with a cracked windshield.


Under federal guidelines, drivers can purchase used or aftermarket crash glass to replace the glass in any area of the motor vehicle except the windshield. The law does not permit drivers to install this type of auto glass on the windshield.


Replacement of the cracked windshield must be of the same kind and quality, restoring the motor vehicle to its original state.


What Is the Critical Vision Area?


The federal guidelines mention that a motor vehicle equipped with a windshield must not have stickers, mounted devices, or cracks within the critical vision area.


Most drivers might find it confusing to navigate the law or understand what it means, which can lead to trouble with law enforcement officers.


A critical vision area refers to an area on the windshield that is above the steering wheel (two inches from the top and one inch from the sides).


Can Injured Victims Recover Compensation for an Accident Caused by a Damaged Windshield?


The personal injury law in Iowa offers legal remedy in the form of compensation through civil action for the injured victims who suffer injuries due to another's negligence.


In Iowa, drivers must adhere to the traffic laws, follow the rules, and stay focused on the road ahead to prevent accidents. Since federal guidelines require motor vehicle users to have their cracked windshield repaired or replaced if it obstructs their view, driving with a cracked windshield is an act of negligence.


If a driver causes an accident due to their cracked windshield obstructing their view, the injured victim may be able to pursue a personal injury claim against the negligent party to recover the compensatory damages.


However, handling the insurance company can be challenging. It will assign the case to the claims adjuster, who gets paid for saving the insurer money.


How Can a Personal Injury Attorney Help Injured Victims in Iowa?

How Can a Personal Injury Attorney Help Injured Victims in Iowa?


The claims adjuster will use every dirty tactic to deny or reduce payouts. They will try their best to make the entire claims process hectic and stressful for the injured victim, forcing them to settle.

In most cases, the affected party accepts the initial settlement offer, which is often much lower than the value of the damages incurred.


An experienced car accident law firm can help assess the facts surrounding the case, gather evidence, build a strong claim, and handle the insurer. This can lift a lot of stress off the injured victim's shoulders and increase their chances of obtaining a fair settlement.


Tom Fowler Law Can Help the Injured Victims Get Justice!


Those who have suffered injuries in an accident in Des Moines, Iowa, due to a cracked windshield should call to schedule a free consultation with the experienced personal injury attorneys at Tom Fowler Law. They can help the victim's rights and fight for the compensation they deserve.

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