“Black boxes” are used commonly in airplane accident investigations for the purpose of gathering information about the performance of the pilot and plane during the time leading up to the crash. Most commercial trucks also come equipped with black boxes. These black boxes can provide vital data to investigators in the event of a truck accident.
ELDs and EDRs: how truck data is recorded
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) mandates all commercial trucks and buses to have an Electronic Logging Device (ELD) installed. An ELD keeps track of the number of hours a driver operates a truck in order to help ensure the driver adheres to the maximum allowable driving hour regulations.
Besides ELDs, most commercial trucks also have an Event Data Recorder (EDR) installed. This device is the closest in capabilities to the black boxes installed in commercial aircraft. It records an extensive range of data that can be used to determine the movement and operation of a truck in the moments leading up to a crash.
EDR black boxes log the number of driving hours just as ELDs do, but they also keep track of other data, including:
- Truck speed at the time of the crash
- Average truck speed
- Airbag deployment
- Seatbelt use
- Sudden stops and hard braking
- Location and GPS coordinates
- If the driver was speeding and for what period of time
- Cruise control usage
Any of the above data can have a huge impact on your ability to prove the liability of the truck driver, trucking company, or other third party such as a manufacturer. The data may reveal if the driver was speeding, was driving beyond the maximum allowed number of driving hours, failed to use a turn signal at a turn, or other important evidence.
Most trucking carriers require the use of EDRs in order to track and monitor the driving behavior of their employees. The data derived from the EDR can also be essential in order to prove an injury claim against a truck driver, trucking company, or other party.
Getting the commercial truck black box data for an injury claim
Most trucks have EDRs installed even though no federal mandate is in place requiring their installation. Still, actually securing this information after a truck accident is not always the easiest task. Trucking companies are not eager to give up this information due to the fact that the data from the device could prove the truck driver or trucking company’s liability for the accident.
However, a trucking carrier is mandated by law to turn over EDR data to law enforcement agencies conducting an accident investigation. This data may prove the accident was not your fault, but rather the fault of the truck driver or trucking company. Working with an experienced Richmond truck accident attorney is essential in order to persuade investigators to share the EDR information with you for purposes of your lawsuit.
If you sustained an injury in a truck crash as a result of the truck driver or trucking carrier’s negligence, our Richmond truck accident attorneys at Phelan Petty are here to help. To set up a free case consultation, give us a call today at 804.980.7100 or use our contact form to leave us a message.