Knowing which motor vehicles have black boxes and which do not can be quite confusing. There are no federal laws requiring vehicles to have an event data recorder inside of them, which only adds to the confusion.
It is important to know that while most commercial trucks have black boxes located inside of them, not all of them do. The same goes for passenger cars, not all of them have black boxes, but most do.
Why Would a Commercial Truck Need a Black Box?
Black boxes are computerized systems installed in vehicles to help monitor driver safety, keep track of the vehicle’s status on the road, and record crash data. The majority of commercial trucks have black boxes in order for the trucking company to help keep track of the number of hours a driver has been on the road.
However, Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) are similar to black boxes, and they can help with this. They also record information about when the engine is running, when the truck is moving, and how far the vehicle has traveled. While event data recorders are not required by federal law, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration does require every commercial truck to have an electronic logging device.
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How Can Black Boxes Help with a Crash?
Black boxes are used to record the vital information that is involved in a traffic accident. Some black boxes do not even start recording until a crash is detected. This vital information that they record includes:
- Speed of the truck
- Seatbelt status of the truck driver
- Cruise control status
- Brake application
- Wheel turning
- The angle of the truck rolling over
- Airbag deployment
- Clutch application
- Truck’s mechanical status
- Precise coordinates of the accident
This important information can help determine what the cause of the crash was and if the truck driver was at fault. It can also help determine if there was a mechanical issue in the truck that led to the traffic accident. Safety measures and protocols can be added and/or updated for the truck driver with the help of the black box data.
Do Black Boxes Reduce the Number of Crashes?
A black box installed in a truck is not going to physically help with preventing an accident. However, crucial information from event data recorders can help lead to newer and improved designs on vehicles to help prevent/reduce traffic accidents from occurring. The information can also be used to help improve policies among trucking companies and truck drivers about building better habits with regard to safe driving.
Electronic logging devices can help with holding the truck driver accountable for their driving. Truck drivers need to meet deadlines, but they cannot curtail safety measures to meet those deadlines. ELDs help track the driver’s status on the road and their driving behavior. In turn, the drivers follow safety guidelines more closely to not get in a crash and to not get in trouble with their managers and supervisors.
How Fast Can Black Box Data Be Recovered?
There is no use in having an event data recorder in your motor vehicle if the data cannot be retrieved and analyzed. It can only take 2 to 3 hours to recover important information from a truck’s black box after a crash. This would be the fastest that a black box’s data could be retrieved, but only if the device was not damaged or destroyed in the accident.
A damaged black box from a motor vehicle crash can be sent to a special lab where expert engineers will try their best to recover the data. To do so, they extract chipsets and printed circuit boards (PCBs) and have them analyzed by machines produced by the black box manufacturer.
This process can take many weeks and/or months to complete. Though it may be difficult to retrieve crucial crash data from a damaged or destroyed event data record, it is not impossible.
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Can Insurance Companies Access a Truck’s Black Box?
Insurance companies may be able to access the data on a truck’s electronic data recorder. The truck company and their insurance carrier will certainly be able to access this data, but a victim and their insurance carrier will likely have to file a lawsuit to gain access to the data. The trucking company will likely put up more of a fight when it comes to obtaining black box data if it turns out the truck driver was at-fault for the incident.
Can You Use Black Box Information for an Injury Claim?
You and your truck accident lawyer can try and fight to obtain the data from the commercial truck’s black box to help your lawsuit. There is no guarantee that you will be allowed to use the data because the trucking company has ownership rights. If your truck accident attorney can successfully obtain the black box crash data, then they will look for evidence against the truck driver. This would include actions such as if he or she were speeding, driving recklessly, or improperly braking.
Contact an Attorney for Help
Contact John Foy & Associates and talk to one of our many seasoned truck accident lawyers and/or personal injury attorneys to help with your traffic accident case. We have over 20 years of experience with fighting and winning these types of cases while utilizing the vital information recovered from a vehicle’s black box.
Having to sue a commercial truck driver and/or their trucking company can be quite overwhelming. A veteran truck accident attorney from “The Strong Arm” knows how to force the hand of these big corporations and preserve crucial information from a truck’s event data recorder. Reach out to us today and receive a free and confidential evaluation of your case.
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