Why Is a Truck’s Black Box Important After a Truck Accident?

Since 1992 Vince Bruner has devoted his practice solely to work as a Plaintiff's personal injury lawyer, dedicated to assisting people injured in accidents.

Truck accidents can cause serious injuries to passenger vehicle drivers and their passengers. Truck accident victims deserve to be compensated for their injuries when the truck driver is at fault for the collision. To determine the cause of the truck accident, and whether the truck driver was responsible, an examination of the truck’s black box can yield valuable information.

big truck

What Is a Truck’s Black Box?

You may have heard of a black box in reference to airplanes after an unfortunate plane crash. What many may not know is that tractor-trailers can also be equipped with black boxes.

A black box is an electronic, event data recorder, or EDR. Black boxes are also called ECMs, or electronic control modules. These electronic devices record critical information about the status of the truck and its movements, which can be useful in determining what happened right before a crash. Black boxes can record such data as:

  • The speed the truck was traveling
  • Any turns or swerves
  • Brake usage
  • Deceleration and acceleration
  • When the engine was running
  • When the truck was moving
  • Mechanical status of the vehicle, such as the health of the engine and tires
  • Whether the truck driver was wearing a seat belt
  • Whether the airbags were deployed in the crash

More advanced black boxes can even record sound and audio in the cabin of the truck right before the accident as well as GPS locations.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an agency within the Department of Transportation, is responsible for regulating and promoting safety on America’s roads. The agency has conducted considerable research on the use of EDRs and uses the data provided by EDRs to investigate crashes throughout the country.

How a Truck’s Black Box Can Support Your Claim or Lawsuit

The most vital aspect of a truck accident claim is determining who was responsible for the accident. If the accident, and your resulting injuries, were caused by the truck driver, you’ll have to prove it in order to get the compensation you might be entitled to. Your attorney will investigate the accident to figure out how the truck driver’s actions led to it.

Likewise, the truck driver’s insurance company and their attorney will conduct their own investigation of the accident. Their goal will be to reduce the amount of compensation you may be owed as much as possible. They do this by claiming that you shared some fault for the truck accident.

This is important because, in Florida, if it is determined that you were partially responsible for the accident, your compensation would be reduced by the same percentage as your share of the responsibility. For example, if you were found to be 25 percent responsible for the truck accident, your compensation for your total losses would be reduced by 25 percent.

The black box in the truck could provide evidence of what may have caused the accident, and that it was due to the truck driver’s actions. Depending on the data contained in the black box, it may show that the truck driver was solely responsible for the accident. Or how much responsibility the truck driver had for the accident may be revealed based on what the black box shows as the cause of the accident.

Another Department of Transportation agency, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), carries out its mission of ensuring the safety of drivers and passengers by reducing truck accidents through regulation. The FMCSA has one of the most important regulations related to its efforts to reduce the risk of truck accidents: the Hours of Service regulations (HOS). These regulations outline the maximum number of consecutive hours that truck drivers can drive and the number of hours they are required to rest.

Fatigue is common with truck drivers, given the long distances they travel and the hours that they work. The goal of the HOS is to minimize fatigue in truck drivers in an effort to reduce the risk of accidents caused by fatigue. The black box can also help determine if the truck driver violated the HOS, which could help us deduce that the truck driver caused the accident due to their fatigue.

overturned truck

The Skilled Florida Truck Accident Lawyers of The Bruner Law Firm Can Help You Today

If you have been seriously injured in a truck accident that wasn’t your fault, you may be owed compensation.

For nearly 30 years, we’ve represented clients all over Florida’s Emerald Coast in personal injury cases and helped them obtain full and fair compensation for their injuries. Our attorneys are dedicated and highly skilled in representing victims who have been injured in truck accident cases. For a free consultation, call us today at (850) 243-2222 or contact us online. You don’t owe us any upfront fees, and you won’t have to pay us for our services until we get you the compensation you deserve.

Written by Vincent Michael Last Updated : June 7, 2022

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