Importance of Black Box Data in Trucking Accident Cases

What Causes Commercial Truck Accidents?

Commercial truck drivers often work long hours, drive more than 16 hours a day, don’t get time off for weeks at a time, and are under pressure to meet delivery deadlines. Many of them drive under the influence, speed, fail to do periodic vehicle maintenance, drive while distracted, and cause accidents due to simple driver error.

The companies they work for drive them hard to get products to market to improve profit margins. Unfortunately, that also makes the roads less safe. When drivers and their employers make profit more important than human safety, disastrous accidents are unavoidable.

What is a Black Box?

The black box, also known as the ECM (Electronic Control Module), is an event data recorder that monitors and documents ongoing information while the truck is in use. Trucking companies often use them to monitor their vehicles and drivers to prevent accidents and investigate crashes. Black boxes record valuable information such as:

  • Seatbelt usage
  • The degree and frequency of braking and acceleration before an accident
  • The time that truck drivers operate their vehicles above a particular speed
  • Running, Idling, and downtime
  • In-service hours
  • Braking, tire, and other maintenance issues
  • Vehicle and tachometer speed just before an accident
  • Airbag deployment
  • Change in vehicle velocity as accidents occur
  • Frequency of accident events
  • Steering wheel movement
  • Vehicle skidding, jack-knifing, and over-steering
  • Vehicle location

Crash Investigations

Commercial truck accident investigations are more complicated than car accident investigations, making consultation with a Los Angeles truck accident attorney essential.

If you are going to hire a Los Angeles truck accident attorney, do it quickly. If truck accident attornies aren’t hired in time to gather commercial truck black boxes, the data may be forever lost.

Once the attorney recovers the black box, investigators can analyze accident and black box data to determine how the accident happened.

Black Box Evidence is Crucial To Personal Injury Cases

Black box data can help prove if truck drivers are responsible for accidents. When properly documented, black box data can provide a historical narrative of the driver’s movements and how the truck responded. If properly analyzed, the data can be admissible in court and reinforce personal injury claims.

Preserving Black Box Data

Like all personal property, black box ownership is protected under the law. Unless truck owners give their consent, black box data requires court orders to obtain.

All black boxes have limited storage space and gather data for a relatively short period before it is automatically overwritten. Typically, truck accident data is gone within 30 days of an accident.

Truck Accident Lawyer Los Angeles and Spoliation Letters

If injured during a commercial truck accident, it’s essential to contact a truck accident lawyer in Los Angeles for help. Your lawyer can file a spoliation letter, also called a preservation letter. The letter prevents truck owners from accidentally or intentionally overwriting black box information and requires them to produce all the black box records.

Even if you don’t contact a truck accident lawyer Los Angeles until after the black box data has been overwritten or erased, there may be hope. Post-accident, insurance companies typically require truck owners to provide them with black box data. Also, truck mechanics may have copies of the black box data, which they download and read before making repairs.

Protecting Truck Accident Victim’s Rights

Black box data recovery may be crucial to winning your personal injury case.

Contact M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers. We understand truck accident laws and the complexities of the trucking industry.

Call (877) 771-8175 for a free consultation

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