CLEVELAND — An Ohio Federal Court has struck down an argument that commercial truckers should be held to a higher standard of care on roadways because they are professional drivers.
In Krendl v. Intermark Transport, which was decided in September in the Northern District of Ohio, attorneys for the plaintiff argued that the CDL manual and the trucking company’s safety handbook generate a heightened safety standard for a truck driver.
The court disagreed.
The civil case involves the estate of Matthew Krendl, who died after his car was rear-ended by an 18-wheeler in 2017 along Interstate 71 in Ohio. Krendl had stopped his vehicle in the far-right lane of the interstate and turned off the lights, according to court documents.
Additionally, the Ohio State Highway Patrol found that Krendl had a suspended driver’s license because of repeated DUI offenses, and a toxicology report noted that his blood alcohol content was more than three times the legal limit.
The truck driver for Intermark Transport, Bogdan Adrian Petrisor of Canada, was not cited in the crash.
The Krendl estate argued that the CDL manual advises commercial drivers to have a plan, to take evasive measures when confronted with a hazard and to use the right shoulder, if necessary, to avoid a collision.
An expert for the plaintiff said that the Petrisor was negligent for failing to comply with these portions of the CDL manual. The plaintiff also argued that these provisions subject the truck driver to a greater standard of care than the average motorist.
The court rejected the argument, ruling that CDL manuals “do not carry the force of law,” and to do so “would illogically place some portion of the responsibility for every accident on a commercial driver, simply because he or she has been instructed to be a defensive driver.”
In deciding the defendant’s motion for summary judgment, the court gave no weight to the expert’s opinions on the CDL manual. The court also noted that “there is no case law in Ohio that imposes a heightened duty of care for CDL drivers.”
Intermark had requested that the case be dismissed, but the court denied the motion. A trial date has not been set.
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.