Get to Know the Black Boxes in Commercial Trucks

According to estimates from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), more than 4,000 Americans are killed each year in accidents involving commercial trucks. Tens of thousands more suffer serious personal injuries. That is why it is so important for those involved in a trucking accident to understand the technology associated with these massive vehicles. In particular, one of the most critical pieces of technology that records data during an accident is the event data recorder (EDR) or “black box.”

When a Virginia truck accident occurs, the information captured by the EDR can be downloaded and analyzed to determine how the truck was being operated in the moments leading up to the crash. An experienced Virginia truck crash lawyer can use this information to show that the driver and/or the trucking company should be held liable for the injuries or deaths caused as a result of the accident.

Do All Vehicles Have a Black Box?

For many years, car and truck accident cases relied almost exclusively on testimony from the involved parties and any eyewitnesses. Advancements in computing and digital technology, however, have made it possible for event data recorders to be installed on most vehicles on the road today. Under federal law, in fact, all cars, vans, light trucks, SUVs, busses, commercial trucks, and other vehicles manufactured since 2014 must have black boxes installed, with very few exceptions.

What Does an EDR Record?

Federal law in the United States sets forth minimum requirements regarding EDRs and what information they monitor. In general, EDRs record vehicle speed, throttle status, brake status, steering adjustments, the timing of crash events, number of crash events, and other information before, during, and after a crash. It also stores information about how much time passed between when the truck driver applied brakes and when the vehicle came to a complete stop. A black box can even show whether or not seatbelts were being worn by drivers or passengers at the time of impact. This can all be vital information if both parties are disputing who was at fault for the accident.

How Can Black Box Data Be Used After a Truck Crash?

In many cases, black box data can be used to help prove fault in an accident involving commercial trucks. For example, if EDR data shows that one driver was speeding at the time of impact or that neither driver was wearing their seatbelt, then this could provide crucial evidence to support either party’s case, depending on who caused the crash. If one driver was found to be negligent due to any number of factors, such as impaired driving or speeding, then this evidence could potentially be used against them in court proceedings or insurance claims.

Additionally, black box data can also be used to prove liability for other types of accidents, such as collisions with guardrails or rear-end collisions where one vehicle failed to brake in time. In these cases, proving fault is often left up to witnesses who may not have seen everything that happened leading up to the crash. But, with black box data available from both vehicles involved in an incident like this, it can give investigators and attorneys all the evidence they need to make their case for liability before going into court proceedings.

Let a Virginia Truck Accident Injury Lawyer Help

If you or a loved one has been injured in any type of crash involving a commercial truck, the experienced Hampton truck crash injury lawyers at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp can help. We understand the importance of acting quickly to gain access to black box data so that the information can be used in building your case for compensation. At our firm, we will advocate on your behalf every step of the way, just as we did in securing a $450,000 settlement for our truck driver client who was severely hurt in a fiery crash with another truck in Brunswick County, Virginia. Call (833) 997-1774 for a free consult today.