Every year there are thousands of people killed in accidents with large commercial trucks. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), 3,986 people died in large truck crashes in the year 2016 alone. When seeking compensation for an injury or a death sustained in a truck accident, it can be crucial to establish what the truck driver was doing at the time of, and immediately before, an accident. A truck’s “black box” can be an important piece of evidence that contains much of this data.
What is a truck’s black box?
An electronic control module (EDM), also known as a black box, is very similar to the black boxes found on airplanes. These devices can record information about what occurred right before or during a truck accident. ECM technology has advanced, and now black boxes are able to record a great deal of data about what is happening with the truck. The ECM records important information, including:
- Whether a driver was wearing a seatbelt
- The truck’s GPS location at the time of the accident
- How long the truck was in service
- Tire pressure
- Average speed of the truck
- Highest speed
- Number of hard stops taken by the truck
- Whether the driver braked before impact
How does a black box or EDM help reconstruct the accident?
An EDM can provide some important information about what the driver may have been doing right before an accident. For example, if the driver did not use the brakes right before impact, it may be possible that he was sleeping, impaired, or simply distracted and not keeping his eyes on the road. Information about a truck’s speed can demonstrate that the driver was driving at a reckless speed at the time of the accident.
The EDM can also display information that may not be so obvious. For example, if the EDM shows that a vehicle was in service for an excessive amount of time, it may demonstrate that the driver was driving longer than the allowable number of hours. In that case, it could be a trucking company who was responsible for overworking the driver.
Obtaining Black Box Data
An EDM is installed on a truck by the manufacturer of the truck and is the property of the owner. An at-fault truck owner may attempt to remove the black box,or remove the data from the device to conceal any non-compliance with federal and state regulations. That’s why if you’ve been in an accident with a truck, it is crucial that you consult with an attorney quickly so that this information, if necessary, can be obtained as soon as possible.
Contact a Trusted Attorney
If you’ve been injured in a commercial truck accident, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. Contact the trusted lawyers at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk online or call us at 1-800-753-5203 to schedule your free consultation.