How Data Recorders Can Help in Truck Accident Cases

Tank Truck Wreck

Following a major plane or train crash, you have likely heard the media talking about the examination of the “black box” to help shed light on what caused the accident. You may not realize that commercial trucks also have similar devices, which are formally known as event data recorders.1 These devices record information related to the operation of the truck and analysis of the recorded information can be extremely helpful in determining what exactly happened prior to, during, and following an accident. For this reason and more, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) requires event data recorders2 in all commercial vehicles.

Downloading and analyzing event data recorder information is not easy, however, and requires specific equipment, knowledge, and skills. At the Dolman Law Group, our experienced Clearwater, FL truck accident attorneys have the resources needed to fully utilize all information on a truck’s black box to properly identify and prove any negligence that led to the accident. Proving negligence will help you obtain full compensation for all of your truck accident-related injuries and losses. If you have been involved in a commercial truck collision, your first call should be to discuss your case with one of our qualified lawyers today.

Information provided by the “Black Box”

The black box records many different types of information, including but not limited to the following:

– The speed at the time of the collision

– Any sudden changes in wheel speed

– Whether a driver applied the brakes

– The angle of the steering system at the time of the crash

– Status of all controls and systems in the vehicle

– Proximity of other vehicles to the truck

With this information from the data recorder, it can be determined whether a truck driver was speeding, whether they had to suddenly slam on their brakes (possibly due to distraction or following too closely), whether the brakes or other important truck parts malfunctioned and failed, and more. Using this data, accident reconstruction experts can evaluate whether the accident was caused by driver error, defective truck parts, or other forms of negligence.

Truck drivers and companies can falsify records

Truck drivers and companies are required to keep records driving hours, delivery schedules, truck maintenance and inspections, and more. While these records are often used as evidence in truck cases, there is the possibility that drivers or companies falsified their records to try to hide evidence of hours of service violations3 or other negligent acts. By analyzing the black box, you can tell whether the time the truck was in operation and the speed of the truck matched the records. Identifying discrepancies can help in showing that the driver or company was trying to cover up wrongful behavior.

Video cameras in truck cabs

In addition to event data recorders, many trucking companies have started to install video cameras inside the cabs of the truck. These cameras not only record what the driver is doing behind the wheel but also the road in front of the truck. The cameras can show if a driver was doing any of the following dangerous activities:

– Texting, using a handheld mobile device, or other forms of distracted driving

– Drinking alcohol or using illegal drugs

– Falling asleep behind the wheel

– Tailgating, improper lane changes, and other aggressive driving behaviors

– Taking turns too fast

– Driving unsafely in adverse weather or road conditions

– Violating other traffic laws or Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations4

Though the use of these cameras in not nearly as widespread as event data recorders, the practice is growing and many trucks already have cameras installed. Video footage of the driver and the road can be extremely helpful in any truck accident cases.

Call a qualified truck accident attorney in Clearwater, Florida for a free case evaluation

The truck accident lawyers at the Dolman Law Group make use of all possible resources and tools to prove that a party acted negligently in causing the collision and to demonstrate that you deserve to recover financially for your losses. If you have been in a truck accident, please call for a free consultation at 727-451-6900 today.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33756