All motorists are held to the same duty of care standard when operating a vehicle, and that is the duty of reasonable care. That means acting the same a reasonably prudent driver would under the same or similar circumstances.
Semi-truck drivers are no different. However, there are in many ways held to a higher standard than others for several reasons. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires truck drivers and truck companies to adhere to certain drive-time limits, weight restrictions and training requirements in order to be road-worthy. That training involves teaching truckers to use extra care, remain alert and operate at a safe speed.
In the recent case of Dakter v. Cavallino, before the Wisconsin Supreme Court, the question was whether jurors wrongly held the trucker had a higher standard of care when they were asked to weigh if he’d acted as a reasonably prudent truck driver would under similar circumstances. The state supreme court held that it did not, and affirmed the $1.1 million verdict in favor of injured plaintiff and his wife.