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Trucking Accidents Black Box

Trucking Accidents Black Box

The Importance of the Black Box

“You can run but you can’t hide.” As the song title suggests, the purpose of the black box in a trucking crash is to prevent the trucking company and driver from hiding the events that led up to a crash.

The black box has a couple of names:

  • Event data recorder
  • Electronic control module (ECM)

It is part of the electronic system that records the activities of the truck. Most trucks built since the 1990s have black boxes. Some recorders are designed to continuously record data, and others begin recording in the moments before an event is detected.

Truck black boxes are invaluable in determining fault in truck crashes caused by

  • Rollovers
  • Jackknifing
  • Wide turns
  • Tire blowouts
  • Inadequate training
  • Hours of service violations
  • T-bones
  • Rear-end or head-on collisions
  • Underrides
  • Blind spots
  • Speeding

Events include sudden braking, airplay deployment, sudden deceleration, seat belt tensioner activation, and other indicators of a crash.

When a truck crash occurs, the trucking company, its attorneys, and insurance company response teams have a high incentive to protect the data in the black box – and not release it to the plaintiff’s attorney. Its data could prove:

  • The driver ran a red light, lost control of the truck, was speeding, using cruise control, or did not stop at a stop sign
  • How often the truck was being driven at, above, or below the speed limit,
  • Tire pressure,
  • When the driver braked, or
  • GPS coordinates and location

Older trucks may have ECMs that only store the data for a few days, while newer models keep data for at least 30 days before it is recorded over. Some companies erase the data to avoid liability.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires trucking companies to hang on to black-box information for at least six months. It also requires trucking companies to create a backup copy of the records, which are stored separately from the original and kept for six months.

There can be extreme injuries when a truck collides with a car or motorcycle.

OnPoint LNCs are skilled in making it easy to understand and summarize the injuries of personal injury victims.

We can also help to quantify the plaintiff’s experiences with our pain and suffering analysis reports. Let OnPoint help you with your cases.

Kimm Ebersole, MHA, RN
Business Development
Serving Attorneys Nationwide

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