Truck Driver Has A Duty Not To Park Along Roadside

The California Supreme Court has ruled that a truck driver may be held liable for parking his vehicle along a freeway to have a snack where regulations permitted only emergency parking.

The entire opinion has a fascinating discussion of the law of duty, but the following gives you a flavor for the balance of the opinion:

If stopping 16 feet from the traffic lanes exempts a driver from the duty of care, does the same hold for parking six feet from the lane?  Six inches?  If we are to create immunity for a truck driver stopping for a few minutes to have a snack, should we also do so for one who decides to sleep for hours by the roadside rather than pay for a motel room?  Would the categorical exemption Ralphs seeks still apply if a tractor-trailer driver parked an inch from the traffic lanes, on the outside of a curve, leaving the rig there all night without lights?  To ask these questions is to see why a categorical exemption is not appropriate.  The duty of reasonable care is the same under all these circumstances; what varies with the specific facts of the case is whether the defendant has breached that duty.  That question, as discussed earlier, is generally one to be decided by the jury, not the court.
Read Cabral v. Ralphs Grocery Company,  S17879  (Cal. S.C.  Feb.28, 2011) here.
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