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Why Is the Black Box Important in Truck Accidents? 

When a truck accident occurs, the “black box,” also known as an “event data recorder” or “EDR,” can play a crucial role in determining liability. Our clients often wonder what the black box is and how it can help their accident case. In this post, we’ll discuss the ways that information contained in the black box can bolster your claim against the at-fault party.

A truck’s black box, or EDR, is somewhat similar to the black boxes found on airplanes. They record digital data that can later be used by law enforcement and investigators to glean information about the circumstances surrounding an accident. Black boxes can pinpoint what was happening just before, during, and after a truck accident.

Does Every Large Truck Have a Black Box?

While the majority of trucks and tractor-trailers that have been built since the 90s do contain black boxes, not all trucks are equipped with them. If it’s an older truck, such as a truck that was manufactured prior to the 90s, then the truck may not have an EDR.

What Data Do Black Boxes Contain?

Black boxes may contain a wide variety of information that could help an attorney ascertain the circumstances surrounding an accident. If you have been injured in a truck accident and are planning on pursuing a claim against the at-fault party, the black box could help provide the irrefutable evidence of fault you need to build a case for compensation.

A truck’s black box might record information, including:

  • The speed the truck was traveling at prior to the accidenttruck accident black box
  • Acceleration or deceleration prior to a crash
  • When a truck’s brakes were applied
  • Whether the truck was on cruise prior to the accident
  • How often the truck driver was speeding or driving below the speed limit
  • Whether the truck driver’s seat belt was engaged
  • Whether the truck was involved in any prior crashes and how frequent those crashes were
  • Data about the truck’s tire pressure
  • The GPS location of the truck
  • Information about when and for how long a truck was being driven

Some EDR’s might even record other valuable information such as communications between truck drivers or between the truck driver and the trucking company. This data could potentially help identify other liable parties. For instance, if the communications show that the trucking company was pressuring the driver to exceed their hours of service limits to make more deliveries, and then the driver causes a crash due to fatigue, the trucking company could be partly liable for the accident.

How Do I Obtain the Black Box Records?

obtaining black box records

If you were involved in a truck accident, then it is crucial to get the data contained in the truck’s black box as soon as possible. This data may only be available for a limited time, particularly if the truck is older.

Trucking companies are focused on profits, and in order to avoid taking financial responsibility for an accident, they may get rid of the data contained on the black box in a variety of ways. They might quickly repair the truck and send it back out on the road so that any evidence from the crash has been erased and the data contained in the black box is lost. They could also simply wait to send you the black box until they know the data has been automatically erased.

Because their goal is to avoid liability, trucking companies will probably not voluntarily give you the data contained on a truck’s black box. That’s why it is crucial to get a seasoned truck accident lawyer involved from the start. Your attorney will launch a full investigation into the accident, during which time they will quickly gather and preserve evidence of fault, such as the data contained in the black box. If necessary, your attorney may also pursue legal action in order to obtain the data on the box before it is automatically wiped.

Contact Spiros Law, P.C. Today

If you have been injured in a truck accident, it is crucial to speak with an attorney as soon as possible. The experienced truck accident attorneys at Spiros Law, P.C. have the knowledge and resources to investigate the accident, gather evidence to support your case (including the black box), identify the liable party or parties, document and calculate damages you are owed, and aggressively seek the compensation you need to recover.

Contact Spiros Law, P.C. at (815) 929-9292 today to schedule a free, no-risk consultation.