Commercial Truck Accidents and the “Black Box”
Accident & Injury Car Accident
Summary: Accidents between commercial trucks (semi-trucks, 18-wheelers, and other “big rigs”) and passenger cars are catastrophic. Passengers in cars that get into a crash with a truck frequently suffer catastrophic injuries (e.g., brain damage, spinal cord damage, loss of limbs, etc.) or death. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the lead federal agency that regulates the trucking industry. It develops safety guidelines and enforces federal laws governing trucking rules and regulations. Truck drivers and trucking companies must strictly comply with a number of regulations governing everything from fleet maintenance to driver hours and rest periods and more.
Commercial Truck Accidents and the “Black Box”
One of the most intensely regulated industries is commercial trucking.
And with good cause.
Regulation of Commercial Trucking
Accidents between commercial trucks (semi-trucks, 18-wheelers, and other “big rigs”) and passenger cars are catastrophic. Passengers in cars that get into a crash with a truck frequently suffer catastrophic injuries (e.g., brain damage, spinal cord damage, loss of limbs, etc.) or death.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the lead federal agency that regulates the trucking industry. It develops safety guidelines and enforces federal laws governing trucking rules and regulations.
Truck drivers and trucking companies must strictly comply with a number of regulations governing everything from fleet maintenance to driver hours and rest periods and more.
Failure to comply with any of these rules or regulations can result in a truck driver or trucking company being held liable for a truck crash.
The Commercial Truck’s “Black Box”
If you are in an accident with a commercial truck—after seeing to your injuries—your first priority has to be gathering and preserving evidence of the accident.
Because, as you might expect, personal injury cases involving commercial trucks will involve the commercial trucking company as a defendant. Commercial trucking companies generally have significant financial resources to defend against a personal injury action, but personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits can cost them a lot of money. So, the trucking company is going to do what it can to avoid (or win) a personal injury case.
Quite frequently this means the trucking company is going to want to avoid having evidence of the accident shared with you. And they are going to dispose of all evidence as fast as the law will allow. Which, is pretty fast—generally only 6 months.
As a result, you need to gather and preserve evidence for your case and you need to do it fast. The best way to do this is not to try to go it on your own, but to work with experienced truck accident lawyers who can handle this for you.
So where can you find the evidence you need to support your case?
It is in the truck’s “black box.”
Much like the “black box” used to record information concerning airline crashes, commercia trucks are required to be equipped with Electronic Logging Devices (“EDLs”) which are the equivalent of a “black box” for a truck.
Not every truck has a black box, but most do. And for personal injury victims, the black box can provide a significant amount of information needed to establish liability for the truck crash.
While the truck goes through its journey, the black box electronically records and stores critical information about the ride.
When an accident occurs, the information contained in a truck’s black box can be invaluable in recreating how the accident happened and whether the trucker was negligent or whether there was some mechanical issue. The black box will record valuable information including (not limited to):
- The exact location where the accident occurred
- The speed the truck was going at the time
- Whether the driver was using cruise control
- Whether the truck driver braked or not
- Whether the truck driver was wearing a seat belt,
All of this is evidence that can help investigators and your counsel in determining the cause of the truck crash. And it is evidence you may be able to use to support your personal injury case.
But, as we mentioned previously, you need to get your hands on the black box first. And trucking companies don’t always make this easy. Which is why having the assistance of truck accident lawyers is critical.
Injured? We are Here for You. Florida Personal Injury Attorneys.
John Fagan and his experienced team are dedicated to helping those who have been injured due to the negligence of another. Contact us now for your free consultation or simply call our firm at: 777-JOHN. We serve clients throughout Florida. Our main office is in Orange Park. We have consulting offices in Palatka, Middleburg, Keystone, Starke, Gainesville, and Ocala.
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