Many people have heard the phrase “black box” used in relationship to aircraft, particularly when it comes to determine why an aircraft accident occurred. These boxes are indestructible recorders that can be rescued after an accident to determine exactly what happened aboard an airplane prior to a crash. Many people, however, do not know that large commercial trucks come equipped with a black box.
When truck accidents occur, these boxes can play an invaluable role in determining exactly how the accident occurred. As a result, a skilled accident attorney is often essential in making sure that issues concerning the black box are properly. It also proves helpful for an accident victim to understand some of the important details about these black boxes. Baltimore truck accident lawyer Randolph Rice is here to explain how the information provided by a commercial vehicle’s black box can assist your truck crash case in Maryland.
What is the Black Box?
Sometimes referred to as Electronic Logging Devices, Electronic Control Modules (ECM), or Electronic Data Recorder (EDR) black boxes are designed to log certain actions as well as data that offers information about how a truck accident occurred. These black boxes record information about the time of the accident as well as the several seconds following accidents.
It is important to note that regulations created by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration require trucks to be equipped with black boxes. Not only do black boxes log information about how a crash occurred, however, these devices also help monitor driving time to make sure that truck drivers operate their vehicles in compliance with federal rules dictating the number and size of breaks that driver must take while operating a truck.
How Information Is Obtained from a Black Box
That certain steps that must be followed to make sure that the information that is logged in a black box is preserved and can be accessed. After a truck accident, if a person does not act quickly, there is a substantial risk that information recorded in a black box might be destroyed.
By hiring legal counsel as soon as possible after an accident, you can make sure that appropriate steps are taken to preserve evidence. Trucking experts are often required to download information from the box.
Truck companies, however, often argue about which party is responsible for an accident, but black boxes can be particularly powerful in establishing how an accident occurred.
How Black Box Information Can Help Your Truck Accident Case in Maryland
The exact type of information that black boxes can provide about how an accident occurred depends on the company that manufactured the engine. Some of the pieces of information that black boxes are capable of providing include the following:
- Communication that occurred between the truck and trucking company
- GPS location information
- How often the truck was driven over an established speed limit
- Steering position
- The daily or even monthly truck activity
- The number of hard stops that the truck took
- The number of times the truck was involved in a crash
- Tire pressure
- What the truck’s speed was immediately before an accident
- Was the airbag was deployed when the accident occurred
- Whether the brakes were used
- Was the truck’s operator was using cruise control
- Did truck’s operator wear a seat belt
- Whether there was sudden acceleration or deceleration
There are several distinct types of truck accidents. Each is associated with fairly specific injury patterns and causes, and each presents different problems in proving who caused—and should be responsible for the injuries suffered in—a truck accident:
- Single vehicle truck accidents are more likely to stem from hazards in the roadway, driver behavior, and mechanical defects in the truck.
- Head-on collision accidents with another vehicle that is traveling in the opposite direction generate tremendous forces that usually cause deaths and drastic, severe injuries if the speeds involved are substantial; many head-ons occur because of a driver’s fatigue or health problems.
- Rear-end collision accidents between vehicles traveling in the same direction create less force than head-ons, but severe injuries and deaths may still occur, especially if a large, heavy truck is the rear vehicle; either vehicle may be at fault.
- “Under-rides” are an especially dangerous form of rear end collisions, in which the rear vehicle is considerably smaller than front vehicle (usually a tractor trailer).
- In side collisions, one vehicle drives into the side of another; this usually indicates either that one vehicle either turned suddenly across the path of the other or that one vehicle ran a red light or stop sign.
- Rollovers mean that the truck’s center of gravity is no longer within the wheel base; many rollovers are single-vehicle accidents, though they can also result from one vehicle being struck by another.
Can an Attorney Obtain Commerical Truck Black Box Information After My Crash?
Since most people don’t deal with a trucking accident every day, you may wonder what questions you should ask your commercial trucking accident lawyer when you meet for the first time. Here are some of the most common questions we hear from our clients:
- What is the difference between a semi accident and a crash with a car?
- What will your office handle during the claim?
- Will you speak with the insurance company for the trucking company?
- What will I have to pay you (the lawyer) up-front to represent me?
- Will you have to file a lawsuit for my trucking accident claim?
- Will you be able to settle the claim with the insurance company?
- If we do have to file a lawsuit, which courthouse will it be filed in?
- Should I keep seeing a doctor if I am feeling pain and when will I complete my treatment?
- Should I speak with the trailer company’s insurance adjuster or lawyers?
While these are some of the most common questions we hear from our Maryland clients, they are not the only questions an concerns. Before you meet or call your personal injury lawyer, compose a list of questions and make sure you get the answer to each question.
Call a Maryland Truck Accident Lawyer Today
Don’t be afraid to ask uncomfortable or basic questions you think you should already know the answer to. Chances are you have never gone through the claim process after a crash. Our Baltimore personal injury lawyers strive to ensure you can make the best decisions about your medical care and recovery after the accident. You want to be informed throughout the process, and don’t hesitate to call or email your lawyer. You hired them to help you through this process, use their experience and knowledge to make the best decision for yourself. Call our law offices today at (410) 657-5075 for a free consultation.