Truck drivers are often responsible for carrying millions of dollars worth of goods. Along with this, truck accidents account for a large number of road injuries and fatalities—the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated that 3,903 people were killed and 111,000 were injured in truck accidents in 2014.
For these reasons, most commercial motor vehicles are equipped with a “black box,” which picks up data and records information on the vehicle.
What Is a Black Box?
A “black box” is a computerized system installed in most commercial motor vehicles. Its purpose is to monitor driver safety and truck status—some do this continually and some only start recording data when a crash is detected. A black box can gather important information in the event of an accident and often plays a critical role in determining where liability falls. Without it, it may be difficult for you to prove that a truck driver was at fault. Data extracted from a black box can give accident victims and their families the compensation they deserve.
What Data Can a Black Box Record?
A truck black box can record a variety of important data that may help you in your personal injury claim. Depending on the specific model, a black box can potentially record the following helpful information:
- What speed the truck was traveling at immediately before the crash
- What general speed the truck was traveling at over the course of its journey
- Any sudden accelerations or decelerations
- Whether the brakes were applied and when
- Whether the trucker was wearing a seat belt
- Whether the airbag deployed
- Tire pressure
- Number of stops
- Number of times the truck was involved in a crash and the time between these events
- Location of the truck over the course of its journey
- Truck usage data to determine if the trucker was safely operating the truck within its hours of service and other regulations
- Communications between the trucker and trucking company, including emails that could contain information regarding the driver’s status, mechanical problems, or even any potential pressure to speed
Any of this data could be useful in proving that a truck driver was at fault for your injury.
What a Truck Accident Attorney Can Do to Retrieve Black Box Information
Problematically, black box data legally belongs to the trucking company, meaning it can be intentionally destroyed. Some trucking companies may also refuse to provide the data if they believe they could be at legal risk. Further, most black boxes only record data for around 30 days before the information is permanently erased. This can result in a lack of vital legal evidence to support your case.
It is critical that you contact an experienced truck accident attorney immediately after an accident. Your attorney will be able to issue the trucking company with a spoliation letter advising them of your claim and your right to the data available. If the trucking company refuses to turn over the information, your attorney is able to file a lawsuit that prohibits the destruction of the evidence.
Get in Contact with Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro, Moses & Halperin, LLP Today
At Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro, Moses & Halperin LLP, we are experienced personal injury attorneys who are here to help you or your loved one injured in a truck accident. We are able to assist you in gathering evidence for your claim and holding the negligent trucker to account. You should not have to bear the costs of medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering alone. Call us today at (212) 986-7353 to get your claim started.