Notwithstanding that a truck may be legally parked, a carrier may still be found negligent when one of its driver’s has created an obstructed view.
In the case of Lawson v Safeway, 119 Cal Rptr 3d 366 (Ct App 1st Dist CA 2010), the court upheld a jury’s verdict that the truck driver was partially at fault, 35%, for a collision between a car entering an intersection and a motorcycle. The tractor trailer was parked legally on the side of the highway; however, the position of the trailer blocked the view of oncoming traffic for a driver attempting to cross and turn onto the highway.
Liability for an accident may arise for a carrier any time a driver fails to use ordinary care to prevent others from being injured as the result of his/her conduct. More than just following the law should be considered. In addition to the traffic laws, drivers should also take into account weather conditions, traffic conditions, and general public safety.
In this situation, the Court reasoned that it is readily foreseeable that parking a large, commercial truck near an intersection may obstruct the views of passing motorists and cause them to collide. Such conduct involves an unreasonable risk of foreseeable harm.
Stated otherwise, a legally parked truck may still create an unnecessary hazard. From the Court’s perspective, the drivers of commercial vehicles are or should be professionally trained to be aware of the risk of blocking other drivers’ sight lines when parking.
Five other jurisdictions have rulings similar to this recent California case. Only two other states have accepted legal parking as a defense.
This article is for general informational purposes only, it is neither legal advice nor is it intended to be legal advice; and it is not an exclusive statement of statutory or regulatory provisions or case law. Any questions should be submitted to your attorney for his/her analysis.