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.
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