Black Box Data Truck Accident

The truck’s black box is a valuable source of evidence that can be used in proving liability after a truck accident. However, you will need to hire a personal injury lawyer shortly after your accident because event data can disappear quickly.

The bad news is that the data collected by these devices is difficult to preserve because it is controlled primarily by the very trucking companies that it could be used against following a truck accident.

That is similar to allowing a burglar to control the evidence collected at the scene of his crime! Black boxes on trucks can be invaluable not only in proving fault following accidents but in keeping trucking companies in check where safety is concerned— and this is why we must preserve them at all costs.

The speed at which you act to preserve the black box data from a semi truck can determine whether you can use this evidence in a truck accident claim. To get started, call a truck accident lawyer in our office to schedule your free consultation today.

An Event Data Recorder Preserves Crucial Information

While you have other forms of important evidence that can be used to prove the trucking company’s negligence, an electronic logging device will store data that can be used the same way.

Event data recorders have been in use in the airline industry for decades. The plane’s black box is one of the first things that investigators attempt to find after a plane crash to learn what happened. Now black box information is also used to show happened in a tractor trailer crash.

How Black Boxes Work and the Data They Collect

Black boxes are not a new concept to the trucking industry, and you may be surprised to learn that devices known as Electronic Control Modules have been installed on commercial trucks since the 1990s.

The original intent of the technology had nothing whatsoever to do with truck safety, unfortunately, and the black boxes functioned primarily to settle disputes over engine warranty claims.

Data collected from the devices includes information that is entirely relevant to ongoing truck crash investigations, however, and when it is preserved it often provides victims with all of the evidence needed to make claims against negligent truck companies or drivers.

Most Trucks Have an Event Data Recorder

Now, truck manufacturers are legally required to install a black box on new trucks. Federal regulations were recently changed after years of recommendations that they be amended to make event data recorders mandatory.

Even before the rule change, most new trucks were equipped with black boxes. In a way, black boxes make compliance easier for trucking companies because they do not need to keep manual records.

Everything is recorded and preserved. However, black box data also gives valuable evidence against the truck driver in a personal injury case.

Black Box Data in Truck Accidents

Here are some of the things that electronic logging devices will track that can be used in your injury claim.

  • Electronic Control Modules record the average speed spanning roughly thirty days, including information about how fast the truck was traveling at specific points in time. If the truck’s speed was a factor in the accident, it would be apparent from the black box data.
  • Black boxes record the hours the drivers are moving, which allows authorities to identify discrepancies when logs have been falsified to more for more extended periods than the law allows. This is a crucial piece of evidence when the operator was suffering from driver fatigue.
  • Data is collected that reveals how well the truck itself has performed as well as how the driver has treated his or her truck. Engine RPM, brake application (whether there was sudden deceleration or if the brakes were even applied at all), and even seat belt usage are all recorded, and this data can pinpoint whether the truck was maintained properly, whether a defect caused an accident and if the driver improperly operated the vehicle.
  • The black box data will also show how the driver used the steering wheel and whether cruise control was engaged when the crash happened
  • In the event of an accident, the Electronic Control Module records the speed traveled at the time of impact, when the brakes were applied, the deployment of the airbag and the force exerted at the point of impact. This data is everything an accident reconstruction specialist would need to recreate the scene and conditions of the accident.

Preserving Black Box Evidence is a Challenge

Commercial trucking companies are entirely aware of how damaging the data recorded on their black boxes can be. Imagine what type of case you could make if a black box reveals that the driver consistently violated hours of service requirements or that the truck was in a decrepit condition at the time of an accident.

For this reason, once a crash has been reported, a race begins between the trucking company and the legal representatives of the victim over the collection of the data on the black box. Sadly, when the trucking company reaches it first, it is often never seen or heard from again.

How an Accident Lawyer Preserves ECM Data

Steps can be taken to preserve the Electronic Control Module or the data recorded on it, but it’s important to act quickly without delay.

Many states still deem this information as the property of the trucking companies, but a restraining order can be filed with the court that prohibits the destruction of the data due to its value in a pending investigation.

The next step is to preserve the vehicle itself and ensure that the trucking company cannot move it or alter it in any way.

Given the valuable information and critical evidence that is contained on the truck black box, your lawyer could send an immediate letter to the trucking company instructing them to preserve the black box data in anticipation of litigation.

If the trucking company then deletes this crucial evidence, they could be penalized by a jury with punitive damages if the case goes to trial. Your truck accident lawyer could get a court order that directs the trucking company to preserve this information.

An Accident Lawyer Will Also Use Physical Evidence

Black box data is very important in your accident case. Still, your personal injury lawyer will also use physical evidence to help prove truck drivers at fault for the accident.

This physical evidence could include:

  • Witness testimony
  • Pictures from the scene of the accident
  • The trucking company’s records
  • The physical wreckage from the accident

Truck Black Box Law Firm

Our Law Firm Can Help When You or a Family Member Have Been Injured

The Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC have access to specialists in accident reconstruction that can piece together the data collected from black boxes as well as evidence found at the scene of a truck accident so that you have the best chance of successfully proving negligence in your truck accident case.

Also, our specialists in several relevant fields can accurately assess the value of our clients’ damages to ensure the highest recovery possible under the law. If you have been involved in a truck accident, contact us right away to arrange a free consultation with an attorney with no risk or obligation.

We’d be happy to explain the laws that apply to your case, review your legal options with you and let you know how we can assist you with your claim.

Your phone call to a truck accident attorney is one of the most important things that you can do when you have been injured in an accident with a commercial truck.

Our attorneys only collect payment upon the agreement of a settlement or judgment award in your favor. If we are unable to obtain compensation on your behalf, our services will be free of charge. Call our law office today at (888) 424-5757 to schedule your no obligation consultation.

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