Most people don’t realize this, but many modern semi-trucks have a “black box,” just like an airplane does. These devices are shedding new light on truck accident cases because they say a lot about what the truck driver was doing at the moment of impact. But what exactly is a truck driver’s black box and what can it say about the crash?
What is a Black Box?
A black box (also called an electronic control module), is a device that constantly takes in data about what the vehicle is doing. For trucks, this even includes information about the driver and the condition of the vehicle. Simply put, a black box records a lot of information, including, but not limited to:
- The truck’s speed and RPM
- When brakes are used
- Average speed
- Sudden acceleration or deceleration
- Cruise control status
- Seatbelt status
- Whether airbags were deployed
- Mechanical problems (such as engine issues, hydraulic pressure, etc.)
- How long the truck driver was operating their vehicle and whether they were at the wheels beyond their hours of service.
Can a Black Box Show Negligence?
The information from the black box is just one piece of evidence in a larger case. However, knowing what the truck driver was doing in the moments before the crash can sometimes demonstrate either negligent driving or negligent maintenance issues.
While the evidence from a black box can be extremely important, the information stored is usually temporary. The data from a black box is erased about once a month and can also be erased manually.
For that reason, it’s critical to contact an experienced truck accident attorney immediately after a truck crash. The sooner your attorney can request the data on the black box, the better your chances of being able to use that information for your case.
To schedule an appointment at Dunk Law Firm, please don’t hesitate to call (800) 674-9339 or send us an email.