Skip to content

How Can a Truck’s “Black Box” Data Help My Case?

How Can a Truck’s “Black Box” Data Help My Case?Many people know that most commercial airplanes come equipped with a “black box” (they are often painted other colors) which provides extremely helpful data when it comes to investigating plane crashes. At the same time, many people do not realize that a lot of commercial trucks (and modern passenger vehicles) have their own black boxes which work in similar ways.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that there were approximately 415,000 police-reported crashes that involved large trucks in 2020 alone. Of those, 101,000 resulted in injuries and 4,444 were fatal. It is not always easy investigating crashes which involve commercial trucks, and sometimes it is even harder to determine the cause of the accident.

Drivers lie to protect themselves, there may be too much damage, or sometimes they are actually one of the fatalities. When it comes to investigating the Phoenix truck accident in which you were injured, reviewing the black box data is crucial—and it can help you win your case.

What is a black box?

On commercial trucks, black boxes are also sometimes called an “electronic control module” (ECM) or an “event data recorder” (EDR). These devices track and store data as the truck is driving. Some truck’s black boxes record constantly while others will only turn on in the event of a traffic crash. They will even track what was happening right before and during an accident, and this will help narrow down or determine what actually caused the accident. As helpful as these black boxes are, unfortunately not every big truck has one installed, although a majority in this day and age do.

What kind of information does a black box record?

Black boxes store tons of different information that can be really important, especially when building a case for trial. According to the Code of Federal Regulations (49 CFR § 563.7), some event data that is recorded includes:

  • Location
  • Frontal airbag deployment
  • If the driver and/or passengers were wearing seatbelts
  • If stability control was on, off, or engaged
  • Speed the truck was traveling just before or during the crash
  • How far the driver was pressing the brake pedal down, if at all
  • If there was sudden acceleration or deceleration
  • If cruise control was being used

Black box data can help solidify your case

If you were seriously injured in a Phoenix truck accident, you will need to do some digging in order to put together a rock solid case which proves the other driver was at fault or negligent. Since the data from a black box does not lie, it would make it significantly easier for you to convince a judge or jury that the at-fault driver actually caused the accident one way or another. If you swore they accidentally accelerated right before they hit you? It is now proven. Did they not brake at all? That’s also proven. Either way, if you sustained major injuries as a result of that accident, it would be hard for anyone to not believe you with this information.

However, you may still need help from a skilled attorney

Time is of the essence when it comes to preserving a truck’s black box data. Unfortunately, most EDRs only store their history for 30 days, and some hold an even shorter timeframe than that. Once their time limit is up, they will record over the data with new data. If you were injured in a truck accident, you should contact a Phoenix lawyer as soon as possible to help you obtain this strong evidence for your case.

Working with an attorney who is experienced in these types of cases is incredibly important because most trucking companies will not be so willing to hand over this type of information. As you could imagine, if their company or one of their employees is at risk of being sued, they will try to protect themselves at all costs—especially if there are major injuries involved. In fact, you may need a skilled attorney who knows exactly how to handle a situation like this in order to secure this vital evidence.

Sometimes, you may need to file another lawsuit against the trucking company to stop them from destroying the EDR’s data and requiring them to hand it over for the purpose of a personal injury lawsuit. This is not something that can easily be handled on your own, so be sure to contact an experienced attorney for assistance.

You can be compensated for your injuries with the help of black box data

After a major truck accident, you can be left with serious injuries that may affect your everyday life. If you were injured badly enough, you could have incredibly high medical bills piling up, you may not be able to return to work for a long time, and you could have an overall decline in your quality of life. An accident that major – with a truck that large – could cause long-lasting physical and emotional damage that you should not have to bear the burden of on your own.

As mentioned above, securing important data from a truck’s black box is critical and time sensitive. That is why it is so important to get in touch with an attorney as soon as you possibly can. Working with an experienced Phoenix truck accident attorney can only help strengthen your case. At Plattner Verderame, P.C., we will help you obtain critical evidence, work through any additional legal battles that come up, and build a solid case. Our attorneys will help you fight so you can receive the maximum compensation possible and to help you recover from your injuries with peace of mind. Call our office in Phoenix or Tempe or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation.