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How Black Box Data Helps Your Truck Accident Claim

Published: Jul 26, 2022 in Truck Accident
White semi truck with front end ripped up

Accidents involving commercial trucks are catastrophic. Tractor-trailers are challenging to maneuver, massive in size, and have the potential to cause life-threatening injuries. Gathering the proper evidence is vital to winning your compensation claim.

Few pieces of evidence are as valuable as a truck’s electronic control module or ‘black box.’ The black box is lush with compelling data that could be the difference-maker in your case. Trucking companies often won’t hand this valuable data over willingly. Learn how black box data strengthens your case.

What Is a Truck’s Black Box?

Electronic control modules (ECM) and electronic logging devices are designed to record commercial trucks’ physical characteristics and data. Black box data helps government officials, law enforcement officers, accident investigators, and attorneys retrieve critical information about how the accident occurred and who may be liable.

Some of the most important information contained in a truck’s black box could include:

  • The speed of the truck
  • If the trucker was using cruise control before the accident
  • Whether the truck was accelerating or decelerating before the crash
  • How many events the truck has previously been involved in
  • The length of time between previous events
  • Whether the truck’s brakes were applied and when
  • Whether the truck’s airbag deployed
  • The truck’s tire pressure
  • How often the truck was being driven at, below, or above the posted speed limit
  • If the truck driver was wearing their seatbelt
  • Communications between truck drivers and trucking companies
  • Truck usage data
  • Truck GPS coordinates

It should be noted that not all trucks have black boxes. Although manufacturers have begun to install black boxes more frequently since the 1990s, there is no guarantee that a commercial truck is equipped with a black box.

Your attorney can conduct an in-depth investigation to ensure black box data is obtained if such data exists.

Can Black Box Data Prove Liability?

The only way you can recover compensation for your damages is by showing that another party’s negligence or misconduct was the cause of your truck accident injuries.

Black Box Data Indicates Driver Error

Black box data could prove liability in several ways. If the truck’s data shows the driver failed to stop or slow down at the time of the crash, this could be a sign that the driver wasn’t paying attention. The data might also show that the driver was driving too long without taking required breaks, a violation of federal trucking regulations.

Data Could Prove Employer Negligence

Truck part malfunctions and communications between truck drivers and trucking companies could help build a case against the trucking company. The employer might have knowingly put a truck with a faulty part on the road. Or, they could have forced drivers to operate trucks without taking appropriate breaks.

They must also ensure these trucks are in safe and working order before sending them out on the roads. Failure to adhere to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations is negligence.

When Should Black Box Data Be Obtained?  

You must gather this evidence quickly. Black boxes typically only record data for 30 days.

Trucking companies and truck drivers have been known to destroy black box data. They believe that eliminating this information could help them avoid liability in an insurance or civil claim.

Your attorney will investigate your accident in detail. If the truck driver or a trucking company was found negligent through the black box data obtained after your truck accident, you could pursue legal action.

Don’t Lose Valuable Evidence – Call Today

If you are interested in finding out what information was contained in the truck’s black box that hit you, you may need an assertive legal advocate on your side.

Meet with an experienced Alabama truck accident lawyer at Belt & Bruner, P.C. to learn more about what legal options are available to you. Complete our online contact form or give our office a call at (205) 933-1500 to schedule your no-cost, risk-free consultation today.