In recent years, the “black box,” or data recorder, carried by many commercial trucks has provided critical data and evidence for the investigation of truck accidents. For a driver or passenger injured in a truck accident that was caused by the truck driver or trucking company, it is important to determine whether the truck involved in your crash was equipped with a black box and to know what kinds of data and information you should look to recover from the data recorder to help you hold the driver and/or company liable for your injuries and damages.
What Is a Black Box?
Like on an airplane, the black box, or vehicle data recorder, on a commercial truck continuously records data about the truck, such as position, speed, steering/acceleration/braking inputs, time the engine has been running, etc. While some truck black boxes store this data locally on the truck itself, other vehicle data recorders upload the information back to the trucking company. Unfortunately, this offers the trucking company the opportunity to alter or destroy incriminating black box data when a truck accident occurs.
Black Box Laws
Certain kinds of black boxes, called electronic logging devices, are required to be installed in all commercial trucks pursuant to regulations issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. These devices log how long a driver has been operating his or her truck, to create a record showing whether a commercial truck driver has been adhering to the FMCSA’s hours-in-service limits.
How Black Boxes Help in Truck Accident Cases
In addition to electronic logging devices, many trucks also have more advanced black boxes installed, called electronic control modules or electronic data recorders, which function more like the black boxes installed on aircraft, recording other types of data such as the vehicle’s position, speed, the truck driver’s input, whether seat belts are used, and whether airbags deployed in a crash.
ELDs, ECMs, EDRs, and other black box devices can provide critical evidence to indicate whether a truck driver and/or the trucking company was responsible for a truck accident. For example, the electronic logging device may show that a driver had exceeded the hours-in-service limitations, indicating that he or she was fatigued at the time of the accident.
The electronic data recorder can provide proof as to whether a truck was being negligently operated at the time of an accident, such as if the truck driver was speeding at the time of an accident (which can be corroborated both by the truck’s speedometer and by GPS data), or if they made some steering input, or hit the accelerator or brakes (or failed to hit the accelerator or brakes) when such inputs would have been reasonable. For example, the EDR data can show that a truck driver who is being accused of a rear-end accident failed to engage the brakes in a reasonable manner (indicated that he or she was distracted or otherwise not focused on the road in the moments before the accident).
Contact a Edison Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Truck Accident Case in New Jersey
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a truck accident in New Jersey? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Lombardi and Lombardi, P.A. represent clients injured because of truck accidents in Old Bridge, Piscataway, New Brunswick, Perth Amboy, and throughout New Jersey. Call (732) 906-1500 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 1862 Oak Tree Road, Edison, NJ 08820, as well as offices in Brick, Freehold, and Point Pleasant Beach.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.