Black Box Basics in the Trucking Industry

All you have to do is read the paper or watch the news to see that automobile accidents are happening every day. These accidents can vary from no damage or injuries to severe damage and fatalities. When these accidents involve semi trucks, they can have severe consequences. Many trucking accidents end up in court with each side trying to prove what happened and who is at fault. Having recorded information about the semi truck and driver’s actions on what happened before, during, and immediately after the accident can be immensely beneficial.

The Black Box

One way of knowing the circumstances surrounding an accident involving a semi truck is by the information contained in the truck’s “black box.” These boxes are known as an electronic control module (ECM) or event data recorder (EDR) and are similar in concept to those that are found on airplanes. These boxes store data that can include vehicle speed, brake usage, engine throttle, truck’s driving time, trip driving time and distance, average and maximum speed. Some trucks are also equipped with technology that sends this information along with GPS to the company’s office in real time.

Seeing what these boxes record can allow you to see the importance of using that information to help determine what was happening when the accident occurred. The information that is found in the ECM or EDR can help to show what the driver of the truck was doing in the time before, during, and after an accident. The device will show if a driver was over the speed limit, when the brake was applied, and other important information. Using this information from the device can allow accident investigators to learn what happened and show concrete evidence in the event of a court case.

Providing Accurate Information

The information from the black box can be compared to other information found in the trucking logbooks to see if the log books are accurate. Truck drivers have been known to falsify information in their logbooks in order to continue driving in excess of the federal driving limits. These limits have been set to keep drivers from developing driver fatigue that can allow them to increase their chances of becoming involved in a traffic accident.

Black Boxes and Personal Injury Cases

In the event you are involved in a trucking accident, an attorney can be a great benefit to you. They can help you quickly find out if a “black box” was in the truck involved in your accident. They can also help take the steps to quickly secure the evidence from the device. These boxes do not keep the information permanently. Many only record data for a certain amount of time or mileage, and then start recording over old data. This means that if the truck involved in your accident is moved too much, the data from the accident could be lost.

A truck’s black box can be the difference in the outcome of your personal injury case since the information will reflect what really happened. You may also find out that the driver of the truck should not have been on the road at all due to being in excess of their driving hours. Your attorney can help secure the information and gain the proof you need to help win your case.

If you’ve been involved in a collision with a truck driver, we can help. Click here to schedule a no-obligation case review, or call us at 817-442-2410.