Why Is the Black Box Important in Truck Accidents?
Posted on Monday, November 1st, 2021 at 8:25 pm
Drivers and passengers in passenger vehicles don’t just share the road with other cars and SUVs, but also with tractor-trailers. Because tractor-trailers are larger vehicles, they present a greater risk to the occupants of the smaller vehicle when the two come together in a crash.
If you were injured in a truck accident that was caused by the truck driver, you deserve to be compensated for your injuries. You or your lawyer will investigate the accident to find out how it happened. The truck’s black box can reveal important information that can explain what the truck driver may have done to cause the accident.
What Is a Black Box?
A black box is an electronic device that is installed in a truck or tractor-trail to record the vehicle’s data. Also known as an event data recorder (EDR), black boxes record information about how the truck is operating, such as when the truck is being driven, the speed the truck is traveling, and the status of the truck’s engine. Although the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA) does not require EDRs to be installed in all commercial trucks, most newer models contain them.
The EDR tracks a variety of data about the truck and its movements just before and during a crash. The tracked data includes:
- Vehicle speed
- Whether the accelerator was depressed
- Whether the brake was applied
- Whether the driver was buckled in
- Time from the beginning of the crash at which the airbags depl0yed
- How many crash events there were
- Sideways, forward, rearward, or vertical acceleration or force
- How fast the engine was running
- What steering operations occurred in the 5 seconds before the crash
- How far forward the driver’s seat was
This and other information can be obtained from the black box data to help recreate the accident.
Why the Black Box Is Important After a Truck Accident
When someone is seriously injured in a truck accident, it’s important to determine what caused it. The cause of the truck accident may also help truck accident victims prove that they weren’t responsible for the accident.
After a truck accident, one of the first things that should be reviewed in the investigation of the accident is the data from the truck’s black box. Your attorney will want to send a letter immediately to the trucking company advising that the data will need to be preserved. Some black boxes overwrite the data after 24 hours, though others are not so fast to overwrite. Additionally, a trucking company may be inclined to destroy the data or manually overwrite it if they are trying to avoid liability. Your lawyer’s letter will prevent the loss of this evidence.
Suppose the truck’s black box shows that it was traveling at a high speed immediately before the accident happened. That could be evidence that the truck driver was speeding at the time of the accident, which may have caused the accident. Perhaps the black box shows that the truck was swerving before the accident occurred. This could be evidence that the truck driver was driving recklessly, and their reckless actions caused the accident.
In order to obtain the compensation you deserve for your injuries, you have to show that the truck driver was responsible for the accident. The data from the black box may help you do that.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents That Can Be Determined by a Truck’s Black Box
Some truck accidents are caused by reckless or otherwise negligent actions taken by truck drivers. Sometimes, even a truck driver’s (or their employer’s) inaction can lead to serious accidents. Some of these common causes can be confirmed by reviewing the data on the truck’s electronic logging device to find out what was happening before or at the time of the accident:
- Distracted driving – The black box may provide evidence that the driver slammed on the brakes in the moments before the crash, which could be an indication that they were engaged in distracted driving.
- Speeding – The black box records the speed that the truck is traveling.
- Reckless driving – The black box records the truck’s movements, such as swerving or constant lane changes, that could have caused the truck accident.
Call the Skilled Truck Accident Attorneys of McCutchen Sexton Napurano – The Law Firm Today
If you’ve been injured in a truck accident that wasn’t your fault, the Fort Smith truck accident attorneys of McCutchen Sexton Napurano – The Law Firm may be able to help you get the compensation you deserve. Call us today at (479) 783-0036 or contact us online for a free evaluation.