What Evidence Might Be on a Truck’s Black Box After a Crash?

Truck accidents can lead to devastating injuries for occupants of passenger vehicles, given the enormous size and weight of most commercial tractor-trailers. If you were injured in a truck accident that you didn’t cause, you have a legal right to demand compensation from the at-fault party.

However, you will need to prove that the at-fault party was careless or engaged in misconduct for your case to be successful. To bring the strongest possible case, you must gather evidence of fault. The truck’s black box is some of the most compelling evidence you can collect. Below, we’ll discuss the information included on a truck’s black box and why that evidence is crucial to your claim. 

If you were injured in a truck accident in Texas, contact Houston truck accident attorney Willie Powells for a free consultation. Willie Powells has devoted his entire career to fighting for injured accident victims just like you. Schedule an appointment with our office to learn more about how working with our seasoned legal team can benefit your case. 

What is a Truck’s Black Box? 

A truck’s black box, also known as the event data recorder (EDR), logs information about the physical properties of a truck while it is being operated. Similar to an airplane’s black box, a truck’s EDR records a broad range of data from before, during, and after a collision. In other words, the black box can offer you a moment-by-moment replay of a truck accident. 

Computers don’t lie, so the data in the black box can be so valuable to your claim. Black boxes are designed to withstand the worst possible conditions, including fires, explosions, and devastating collisions. Most commercial trucks built since the 1990s are equipped with black box recorders. 

Trucks also commonly contain other computer systems, including electronic control modules (ECMs) and electronic logging devices (ELDs). ECMs employ sensors to monitor various engine functions and record data related to a truck’s speed, tire pressure, and gas emissions. ELDs contain information about a truck driver’s hours of operation. If a truck driver exceeded the legally allowed hours of service, the truck’s ELD would show evidence of that. 

If you have been injured in a truck accident, it is imperative to quickly gather and preserve the evidence contained on a truck’s black box before it is gone for good. 

Information on the Truck’s Black Box

Various types of information are stored on a truck’s black box. This data can give you and your attorney insight into the accident that would otherwise be difficult to discern. Some common types of data found on a commercial truck’s EDR include: 

  • The speed the truck was traveling at the time of the collision
  • The direction the truck was traveling
  • Whether there was an abrupt shift in velocity
  • Stops the driver made prior to the crash
  • Whether airbags or seat belt tensioners were deployed
  • Brake application
  • Sudden deceleration
  • Cruise control usage
  • The amount of time the driver was on the road before the crash
  • Diagnostic overview that could reveal a manufacturing or part defect

Black box recorders usually produce an incident report when they are triggered by an “event” such as a traffic collision. The “trigger” could include abrupt braking, rapid deceleration, or a sudden change in velocity. As a result, the EDR should contain specific data about the moments leading up to the crash, the collision itself, and what transpired directly after the accident. 

How Do I Obtain a Truck’s Black Box Data? 

If you were involved in a truck accident, obtaining the data included on the black box is of the utmost importance. However, it’s unlikely that the trucking company is simply going to hand over this information, particularly if the data demonstrates that the truck driver was liable for the crash. 

The data on these devices is usually stored for a maximum of 30 days. Although, older EDRs may keep recorded data for less time. Once the timeframe expires, that data is erased and written over. Trucking companies can also destroy data on the recorder or tamper with the evidence before other parties view it. That’s why it is crucial to act fast and secure a knowledgeable lawyer after a truck accident. 

Once you hire a truck accident attorney, they can begin collecting and preserving evidence for your case right away. Your attorney will draft a letter to the trucking company directing them to preserve the evidence included on the black box. The trucking company could face legal penalties, including court fines and sanctions, if they tamper with or destroy evidence contained on the EDR after receiving your attorney’s preservation of evidence letter. Your lawyer might also hire a specialist to help retrieve the recorded data on the black box and other computer systems in the truck. 

If the trucking company does not hand over the data in the truck’s black box, your attorney might need to file a lawsuit against the company to get the evidence before it can be erased. Your lawyer could also file a temporary restraining order against the trucking company, which would prevent the company from destroying crucial data you need to prove your case. 

Contact a Houston Truck Accident Lawyer Today

Were you injured in a Houston truck accident that was no fault of your own? If so, contact Houston truck accident lawyer Willie Powells today to get started on your case. Truck accidents are complex, and you need competent legal representation to help you secure the data contained on the truck’s EDR, along with other evidence to support your claim for compensation.

Willie Powells has the resources to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the accident, identify all potentially liable parties, and help you pursue the compensation you need to pay for medical costs, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages. 

Don’t hesitate to reach out to our compassionate and skilled legal team today for a free case assessment. 

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