Truck Accidents & The Black Box

May 10, 2019

Airplanes aren’t the only type of vehicles with a “black box” to help determine the cause of a crash. Many trucks also include a black box. When seeking compensation for injury or wrongful death in a truck accident case, the black box can be an essential element in determining what caused the truck driver to crash. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 3,986 people died in large truck crashes in 2016 alone.

What is a Black Box?

Also known as an electronic control module (ECM), the black box records data about what occurred with a truck before or during an accident. Over the years, ECMs have advanced and are now able to record a great deal of information about what is happening with the truck. The ECM records include the following data:

  • Amount of time the truck has been in service
  • Whether the driver was wearing a seatbelt
  • GPS location at the time of the accident
  • The truck’s tire pressure
  • Average speed the truck was traveling
  • Highest speed traveled
  • Number of hard stops taken by the truck
  • Whether the driver attempted to brake before the accident

The black box can offer insight into what the driver was doing before the accident. If the driver did not brake or try to slow down, it is possible that the driver was distracted, intoxicated or asleep. Information about the speed the truck was traveling or excessive hard stops can help determine if the driver was driving recklessly during or before the accident.

Information about the operation time of the truck could uncover additional information, such as an overworked driver. This could place the responsibility of the accident on the trucking company. This information may not be as apparent without the black box recordings.

While a black box contains important information about the accident, it’s important to remember that it is installed by the truck’s manufacturer and is the property of the truck’s owner. Therefore, after an accident, an at-fault party may attempt to remove the black box, repair the truck or compromise the data to conceal evidence. This is why it’s important that you consult an attorney as soon as possible so this valuable information can be obtained quickly.

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

If you or someone you know has been involved in a semi-truck accident, we can help you get the justice you deserve. Contact Saladino & Schaaf today or call us at 270-444-0406 to schedule a free consultation. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, but you must act quickly. There are time limits on legal action.




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black box evidence in truck accidents




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