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How Commercial Truck Black Boxes Can Affect Your Accident Claim

Mediaite logo Mediaite 6/16/2022 Sponsored

Sponsored by: Price Benowitz Accident Injury Lawyers

Black boxes in commercial trucks are devices that record a variety of data, such as a trucker’s average speed and braking times. In the case of an accident, black boxes can provide valuable evidence about which driver was at fault and to what extent. However, it may be challenging to obtain this evidence without the help of a knowledgeable lawyer.

About Black Boxes

Every commercial truck has an electronic logging device (ELD), which records a driver’s hours per requirements from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA). ELDs are a safety measure designed to reduce the number of truckers who exceed a consecutive driving hour or mile limit. Even so, driver fatigue is still common and can cause serious accidents.

In addition to an ELD, many commercial trucks are also equipped with Event Data Recorders (EDRs), which is the category that black boxes fall into. EDRs collect more detailed information on truck operations than ELDs, such as if the driver used cruise control, if the driver was wearing a seatbelt, or if airbags were deployed.

How Black Boxes Can Help You

Black boxes typically hold data for 30 days, after which point the data is recorded over. To preserve this information, your lawyer will need to directly contact the trucking company instructing them not to destroy or alter the data. It is also possible that your lawyer will need to file a temporary restraining order or lawsuit related to the data, depending on how resistant the trucking company is.

You may be able to obtain any or all of the following information about the accident based on the model of the black box:

  1. The truck’s speed before the crash and whether there was any sudden acceleration or deceleration;
  2. The truck’s average speed over a period of time and the speed immediately before or near the crash time;
  3. Geographic location such as the truck’s route and where the truck was at the specific time of the crash;
  4. If the truck was involved in any other crashes within the 30-day tracking period or whatever period the box records;
  5. Related data such as the tire pressure, number of hard stops, and RPM between stops;
  6. Any communication between the driver and the trucking company or anyone else via email, text, or phone calls.

Such data can be valuable on its own. However, it can also lead to additional evidence that can sway the outcome of your trial, especially in terms of communication between the driver and the trucking company. For example, if a driver complained of fatigue before the crash, it could help prove the company was at fault.

Why Lawyers Are Important

One issue with black boxes in commercial trucks is that the trucking company may attempt to delete, alter, or tamper with the data to avoid taking responsibility for an accident. If this happens, proving fault becomes substantially more difficult.

Issues such as these are why a dedicated Virginia injury lawyer is so valuable to have on your side. They will be able to navigate applicable laws and ensure that the data is not deleted or altered before being examined. They will be able to parse through the data and determine if there is any evidence that will be beneficial to your case.

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